There are many amazing hotels around San Diego, especially downtown. Several of the hotels are located in historic old buildings. For several months, the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank Building (1928), now occupied by Courtyard by Marriott, has been undergoing outside restoration. A few days ago I noticed that much of the work has been completed, so I decided to go inside the lobby to ask a question or two. And wow!
This was my first time inside the truly eye-popping lobby. Look at the ceiling! The old bank hall, which now welcomes hotel guests, appears almost like the interior of some medieval church, with its arches, vaulted doors, medallions, bronze window grilles and a 32-foot high colorfully painted coffered ceiling. Also reflecting the building’s Italian Romanesque Revival architectural style, the grand interior contains 35 decorative columns with Corinthian capitals, chiseled from 19 different types of marble from around the world. Additionally, the walls, counters, pilasters and floor all feature rich imported marble.
The elegant building, which was constructed with the finest materials available at the time, was designed by notable architect William Templeton Johnson, who is also credited for the San Diego Museum of Art and Natural History Museum buildings in Balboa Park, the Serra Museum in Presidio Park, and the La Jolla Athenaeum. He is also one of the architects responsible for the San Diego County Administration Center.
I was told by a friendly front desk clerk that the restoration involved patching cracks in the building’s exterior. Looks to me like somebody did a good job!
When I stepped into the hotel during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017, I learned from a friendly event volunteer that I could head down to see the old bank’s vaults, which are now meeting rooms! Here are some photos!