The legacy of San Diego’s most historical hotel dates back to April 15, 1867, when Alonzo Horton—the revered “Father of New Town San Diego”—arrived from San Francisco on the steamer Pacific and exclaimed, “I have found heaven on earth.” Less than a month after, Horton purchased the 960 acres of undeveloped land that now constitutes downtown. Three years later, he opened the region’s first luxury hotel, the three-story Horton House. In August 1895, Fannie Chaffee Grant (the wife of Ulysses S. Grant Jr., son of the 18th President of the United States) purchased the trailblazing hotel, soon to be renamed in honor of the elder statesman.
Ten years later, the then 91-year-old Horton helped remove the first bricks from his namesake hotel to make way for the Harrison Albright designed THE US GRANT, which opened on October 15, 1910. In 1919, Mr. Baron Long acquired partial ownership and by 1927 unveiled an elaborately redesigned lower level. Around 1956 when tourism boomed, the hotel became the first in the area to offer expanded meeting spaces and modernized rooms, consequently drawing illustrious guests like Albert Einstein and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower.
In 1979, the hotel was purchased by Christopher Sickels, who closed it four years later in August 1982. When the city of San Diego announced plans for a massive inner-city redevelopment project, Sickles declared plans for an $80+ million hotel renovation. On December 15th, 1985, the hotel reopened, complete with a glittering Grand Lobby and impressive Grand Ballroom.
On December 3, 2003, the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians purchased the hotel, returning this unique parcel of land to its original ancestors. After embarking on a multimillion-dollar project, it reopened in 2006 as a member of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Luxury Collection.
From the time of Horton House’s opening up to today, THE US GRANT has hosted numerous celebrities and luminaries, including 14 US presidents—from Woodrow Wilson to John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush—and the world-famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. More recently, celebrities like Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, and pre-gubernatorial Arnold Schwarzenegger have stayed at the hotel, all impressed by its grandeur and unparalleled hospitality.