Elegance and history at downtown San Diego hotel.

This astonishing ceiling impressed San Diego Trust and Savings Bank customers back in 1928, when it originally debuted.
This astonishing ceiling impressed San Diego Trust and Savings Bank customers back in 1928, when it originally debuted.

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!

Photo of the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank Building taken from one block east on Broadway. The 14-story structure is topped with a two-story penthouse and cupola.
Photo of the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank Building taken from one block east on Broadway. The 14-story structure is topped with a two-story penthouse and cupola.
Flag on stately exterior of Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown.
Flag on stately exterior of Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown.
Plaque at 530 Broadway. This property has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
Plaque at 530 Broadway. This property has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
Elegant bronze and glass entrance to the eye-popping lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown.
Elegant bronze and glass entrance to the eye-popping lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown.
Stand inside the old bank hall and gaze upward. You'll think your visiting a fantastic cathedral or medieval building in Europe.
Stand inside the old bank hall and gaze upward. You’ll think your visiting a fantastic cathedral or medieval building in Europe.
The welcoming interior of a modern hotel. An historical building smartly preserved and repurposed.
The welcoming interior of a modern hotel. An historical building smartly preserved and repurposed.
I like this cheerful painting of a girl lying on a turtle behind the hotel's front counter!
I like this cheerful painting of a girl lying on a turtle behind the hotel’s front counter!
Yet another cool sight in my neighborhood: downtown San Diego!
Yet another cool sight in my amazing neighborhood: downtown San Diego!

UPDATE!

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!

Map near the ceiling where steps descend to the elevators.
Map near the ceiling where steps descend from the lobby to elevators.
The beautiful arched ceiling near the bank of elevators.
The beautiful arched ceiling near the hotel’s bank of elevators.
Elegant area near the entrance to The Safe Deposit Room.
Elegant area near the entrance to The Safe Deposit Room.
Formidable steel doors in a lower level hallway, leading to The Vault, a very unique meeting room. The San Diego Trust and Savings Bank Building has unusual historic features that hotel guests can enjoy.
Formidable steel doors in a lower level hallway, leading to The Vault, a very unique meeting room. The San Diego Trust and Savings Bank Building has unusual historic features that hotel guests can enjoy.
The Safe Deposit Room in the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown has a rather unusual entrance! The 1928 Mosler safe door weighs 47,000 pounds! Meetings can be held inside.
The Safe Deposit Room in the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown has a rather unusual entrance! The 1928 Mosler safe door weighs 47,000 pounds! Meetings can be held inside.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

2 thoughts on “Elegance and history at downtown San Diego hotel.”

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