Kiki & Lala

The Courtyard Marriott

Posted on: October 12, 2010

The Courtyard Marriott was our home in San Diego for the three nights we were there. When LittleTwinCoach decided this would be the place, it was quite simply because it was smack in the middle of the Gaslamp District. Little did we know that the hotel of our choice had quite an interesting history.

As soon as you enter the building you KNOW its original purpose was not to provide lodging for the city’s transients.

The dramatic archways in the lobby – made of 19 different types of marble from various places in the Mediterranean – create a grand medieval ambience…

And the ornate ceilings are the result of meticulous stenciling…

So of course the first thing I ask as soon as we walk in, is what WAS this place before?? And I am told it was the headquarters of San Diego Trust and Savings Bank from 1928 when it was completed until 1994 when the headquarters were moved elsewhere.

And here’s proof of that from this photo of the building’s inauguration…

… and the marker outside the building…

… amazing just how little has changed.

I won’t get into the details of how it seemed like we were the ONLY people staying at the hotel. And how it certainly felt like we were the only guests on the 14th floor annex… even though we could hear voices in the hallway.

However, I will share with you the building’s vaults! Here’s LittleTwinCoach with Danny of guest services who offered to take us down to the bank vaults before we checked out.

There were old telephones in the basement that still work!

And check out this vault door!! It cost a whopping $900 back in 1928…

The actual vault is now used as a meeting room which you can book for a fee. But during Prohibition, the bankers would lock themselves up in here and consume all the moonshine their hearts desired.

Notice that some of the safety deposit boxes have doors missing. When the bank sold the building, they decided to give their long-time clients the doors as souvenirs.

The hotel was totally charming… and a wonderful testament that old buildings can be saved and creatively recycled… mumu and all.


2 Responses to "The Courtyard Marriott"

Nice! We should really be in restoration mode when it comes to our old architecture. I love the bank vault. If only those walls could talk…

So are you sure this Danny guy really worked for the hotel?

I just hope he wasn’t a mumu!!

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