The Guild is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown San Diego. With a fantastic location, stellar customer service and a gorgeous aesthetic, this hotel should be on your radar of places to stay in the city. Keeping reading for a full in-depth review and discover what to expect during your stay.
REVIEW: THE GUILD HOTEL SAN DIEGO
Located in what was once a former Armed Services YMCA, The Guild Hotel resides within a century old building that is now a registered National Historic Place.
Interior designer, Sormeh Rienne has done a fantastic job paying homage to the building’s history, while simultaneously transforming the property into a stylish and contemporary luxury space.
In comparison to San Diego’s many hotels which typically feature traditional looking rooms in pale nautical colors, The Guild offers a richer, more European feel while still incorporating elements that reference San Diego’s roots. In each of the rooms you’ll find a plaque with biographies of different local artists, which Rienne says is her subtle way of tying the community into the space.
The hotel has 162 rooms which span across 8 floors. On-site you will find The Guild’s Mediterranean inspired fusion restaurant, Luca, as well as the popular Guild Bar. The hotel also offers a 24 hour fitness center with cardio machines, weights and Peloton bikes. They also have a ballroom, which was once the YMCA’s basketball court, and an event space, located where the basement swimming pool used to be.
The Guild Hotel is also a part of the Marriot’s Tribute Portfolio Collection so if you’re a Bonvoy member, you can either use or earn points on your stay.
There are six different room types at The Guild, with sizes ranging from 200 square feet (18.5 square meters) for the Apprentice Room to 446 square feet (41 square meters) for the Master. The hotel also has a 1,800 square foot (167 square meter) Penthouse suite.
THE ARTISAN ROOM
We stayed in one the Artisan rooms, which is the only room type with the gorgeous arched windows and floor to ceiling velvet drapes. The room design is extremely minimalistic. The color palette is made of up pale blue and army green, with textural accents such as the leather tufted headboard, rose gold lighting fixtures, and a single deep green velvet chair. It feels masculine and feminine at the same time, and the high ceilings add drama to space (while making the room seem much bigger than it actually is).
The Artisan rooms are located on the ground floor and while they definitely do pick up on the street sounds, we found that when the heavy blackout curtains were drawn, they cut out a lot of noise. There is also a sleep sound machine next to the bed that you can turn on and let sounds of rain, the ocean, birds or white noise carry you to sleep. With the curtains closed and the sound machine on, we didn’t notice the noise and slept great. However if you are a light sleeper, you might prefer a room on a higher floor.
While I loved the room’s aesthetic, the design was so minimal that the comfort factor was slightly below what I would expect for a luxury boutique hotel.
The Guild Hotel furnishes their rooms with Stearns and Foster mattresses and they use Garnier & Thiebaut bedding. While some travelers might enjoy a firm bed with lightweight covers, I prefer when hotel beds are fluffy, soft and hard to leave in the morning.
The room has a small wardrobe armoire in the corner, but no closet or drawers. This might pose an issue if you’ve booked a longer stay and want to unpack. I did like the fact that they provide a steamer instead the usual iron you find at most hotels.
If you usually pack your own food or drinks, it’s important to know that there is no fridge in the room.. but ice machines are located on every other floor.
The rich colors in the bedroom are stripped away when you step foot into the incredible bathroom.
The space is comprised of stark white tile walls with black hardware on the sink and in the shower. Like in the bedroom, there is a huge arched window which gives off great lighting (until you have to close the curtains to take a shower) and the walk in shower is amazing.
The Guild offers complimentary Replica toiletries by Mason Margiela in the scent Jazz Club. It smelled so good that Nick bought a bottle of the cologne online before we even checked out. They also provide guests with a professional quality hairdryer by Andis as well as a flat iron, which was a nice touch.
There are no robes in the room but you can call the front desk and request them, which I highly recommend that you do. They were some of the most comfortable hotel robes ever.
FOOD AND DRINK
All of the design elements within The Guild are impressive, but The Guild Bar and the on-site restaurant, Luca really steal the show. If you’re in the market for the perfect photo-op or a fancy gin and tonic, look no further.
THE GUILD BAR
The Guild Bar is located within the heart of the hotel. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door and it sets the scene for your entire stay.
They offer a selection of craft cocktails such as a Spicy 1924 made with Volcan de Mi Tierra Blanco and rhubarb jalapeño apple cider vinegar shrub. We ordered The Guild and Tonic, the hotel’s version of a gin and tonic made with Szechuan peppercorn, coriander seed, lemon, grapefruit peel and olive leaf. The prices are what you’d expect from a hotel bar in a luxury hotel (around $15 each) but the cocktails were delicious.
If you’re not in the mood for a cocktail, they also have local San Diego craft beer on tap as well as a selection of wine from vineyards all over California, France and Italy.
If you’re a guest at the hotel, be sure to stop by the bar in the morning for complimentary Intelligentsia coffee.
To the left of The Guild Bar, you’ll find a beautiful, airy courtyard which acts as the setting for the hotel’s restaurant Luca. Designer Sormeh Rienne was inspired by the French Rivieras, utilizing a black and white color palette with pops of rose gold, marble table tops and green leafy palms. Unlike the rest of the hotel which features bold colors and opulent textures, within the restaurant, the food is the star of the show.
Luca’s chef, Justin Vaiciunas, combines modern Mediterranean and Southern Californian cuisine to create a colorful menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the menu, you’ll find dishes such as Puffy Tacos (striped bass, Baja slaw and pepper roulie) and their unique spin on Avocado Toast made with poached eggs, pickled cherries, black garlic dust and quinoa popcorn.
Luca was not in operation during our stay due to COVID restrictions, but the hotel opened up the courtyard for hotel guests to spend time in.
A FANTASTIC LOCATION IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO
The Guild’s excellent location in Downtown San Diego is one of the most appealing reasons to book this hotel. Located on Broadway and India St., it is within walking distance of many key Downtown locations. It’s across the street from the Santa Fe Depot train station and only 0.3 miles (483 meters) from The USS Midway Museum, Spreckels Theatre and Seaport Village.
There are also tons of food and drink options in the immediate vicinity. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, check out Animae or Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. If you’re looking for something light, Pressed Juicery or Kuna Cafe are right around the corner. Grab a beer a Karl Strauss Brewing, Stone Brewery Tap Room or Hidden Craft (a pour your own beer bar with a full food menu).
The hotel offers complimentary Intelligentsia coffee at the bar in the morning, but there is also a Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf less than a 2 minute walk away.
CHECKING IN / PARKING
While we enjoyed almost every part of our stay at The Guild, the check in process is one area that might benefit from some fine tuning. The hotel does not have its own parking lot, which makes unloading your luggage somewhat of a hassle.
We parked on the curb in front of the hotel and Nick ran inside to check in, but if you are traveling alone, I might be nervous about leaving my car and coming back to a parking ticket.
The entrance of the hotel is located up the building’s original stone staircase and while it is beautiful, it’s not the most convenient, especially if you have a lot of luggage. I also didn’t notice any porters or luggage carts which was not an issue for us, but seemed unusual for a luxury hotel.
Even though the hotel does not have a parking lot of its own, they do offer guests several parking options. You can choose to valet your car for $50/day, or the hotel has a parking deal with a lot next door for $35/day, which includes in and out privileges. The hotel is located in a great area of downtown and is extremely walkable, so if you don’t anticipate driving, you can also park in the cheaper lot on India St. and Broadway for $25/day (with no in and out privileges). Both parking lots are extremely close to the hotel, an easy 1 minute walk.
The quality of the customer service at The Guild Hotel in San Diego is fantastic. From the front desk receptionist to the bartender (Amy), every employee we encountered was extremely friendly and very helpful. The location is amazing and despite a few very minor shortcomings as far as comfort goes, I really loved this hotel and I am looking forward to staying with them again.
THE GUILD SAN DIEGO INFORMATION
ADDRESS 500 W Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
CHECK IN 4PM
CHECK OUT 11AM
PETS The Guild allows up to two dogs (under 40 pounds) per room. There is a non-refundable fee of $75 USD per room.
PIN IT: THE GUILD HOTEL SAN DIEGO – A LUXURY BOUTIQUE HOTEL REVIEW
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