This grand military building has been transformed into a luxurious hotel

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One of the great American cities, San Diego is famous for abundant Southern California sunshine, upbeat outdoor living and dining, and of course, the Oscar-winning fighter pilot film, Top Gun (which has a sequel coming in 2020).

Home to one of America’s largest military bases, San Diego’s history and growth is tied to the men and women in uniform who call the city home. In the 1920’s, a grand Italian Renaissance-inspired building at 500 West Broadway (pictured below) became the Army-Navy YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association); it was a place where visiting servicemen could stay and where anyone in the army or navy could come to play sport and train. It became an much-loved destination for servicemen, with eight million visitors annually during its heyday. In 2007, the building was officially registered as a Historic Place by the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service.

The ornate original entrance to the former YMCA has been meticulously restored.

Today, the beautiful building at 500 West Broadway serves a different purpose. The basketball court has been transformed into a soaring ballroom. The pool has become an event space, with carpet that mimics the flow of water (in a nod to its past). The landmark YMCA in downtown San Diego is now The Guild Hotel, luxuriously reimagined by designer and hospitality-space-whisperer, Sormeh Rienne.

Mirrors in the restaurant mimic the building’s heritage windows.

The Guild Hotel is home to a restaurant that is a destination in itself – Luca serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes in an al fresco setting, surrounded by the city skyline. Hotel guests and San Diego locals are all welcome to enjoy fresh breakfasts, lunches and dinners dished up by executive chef, Justin Vaiciunas.

Monochrome umbrellas and potted palms add a playful touch to the al fresco space.

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Bedrooms at The Guild are refined and minimalist with high ceilings and lots of natural light. Each room displays a unique piece of local art that helps tell the story of the building.

Bedrooms feature Stearns & Foster beds, Garnier-Thiebaut linens and leather headboards.

“San Diego has a unique, rich history and The Guild personifies that heritage with iconic spaces that are unlike any other hotel in the city,” says Rick Mansur, president and CEO of Azul Hospitality Group (The Guild’s parent company).

The Guild Bar has a Brazilian leathered quartzite counter and backbar with custom millwork detailing.

There’s no doubt about it – The Guild Hotel is the perfect place to relax with friends, food and a few of your favourite Top Gun quotes.

The lobby features a herringbone floor and hand-carved burgundy wood desk.


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