US Grant Hotel’s Yule Charms

Festive performances, decorations, and treats are just ahead at the stately structure.

David Marshall, AIA

A HISTORIC HOTEL... is rarely just a place to bed down for the night. True, there's usually a restaurant or two, and a lobby made for people-watching, and a swimming pool, and other diversions. Thanks to the passages of time and tradition, though, the older building begins to assume a few quaint characteristics, touchstones that extend beyond the hotel's obvious duty as a sleep-and-eat spot. Traditions bubble up, very often to do with the holidays, and the inn's personality -- or hotelanality? -- becomes associated not just with the rooms and lobby but, rather, what it is and does. The US Grant in San Diego has had a century, and a half decade on top of that, to develop its own hotelanality, which has charmingly included speakeasy evenings that recall that the landmark was once the location to enjoy a libation back in the 1920s. Adding to its distinctiveness are the holiday must-dos the grand dame of the Gaslamp Quarter annually observes. The merry must-do that springs to local minds, and those guests that regularly call upon the hotel in December, is "An American Christmas," a pageant presented by the Lamb's Players Theatre. The show includes "music, dance, story, song, and laughter," and it all goes down in the Presidential Ballroom, pumping up the pomp even further. The 2015 dates are pretty pomp-ified, too: "An American Christmas" will run from Dec. 17 through the day after Christmas. 

THERE'S A POMP-Y PACKAGE... on in conjunction with "An American Christmas," and it has the name of the show in its very name. You'll get "luxury accommodations" at the US Grant, as well as two tickets to the show, a bubbly toast for two, a five-course supper for two, and a memento to take home. (If you're guessing that the bauble is something pretty and it dangles from a fir tree, among the popcorn and lights, you'd be in the right ballpark.) Rates depend on your room, natch, so give everything a lookie-loo, while you hum a carol or two, as you point your sleigh in this direction. And pause to be glad that, over time, many a hotel assumes a bit of extra kick in the individual character department. With so many people staying at an historic hotel over the decades, is it any wonder it develops its own personality?

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