Located in a historic building in the heart of downtown San Diego's famed Gaslamp Quarter, The Keating Hotel seamlessly blends California history with Italian style.
As we travel around the world, we are privileged enough to experience new places all the time. Sure, we have settled on some favorites which we return to every now and then, but for the most part we visit and stay in places we have never seen before. With all this time on the road, sometimes it is nice to revisit your roots, and see the places that you know like the palm of your hand with the fresh eyes you have developed while traveling.
San Diego is my hometown. It is where I grew up. It is where Chris and I met, and where I have lived for the majority of my life. Despite all the time I spend away from it, the city will always have a special place in my heart, and any time we get a chance to pass through we take it!
I have so many great memories from San Diego, and so many places there that I used to love. When I was in my early twenties (ugh that was sooo long ago!), my friends and I would get dressed up and head out downtown. One of our spots of choice was The Keating Hotel with its basement club. We made so many memories there! So as we were passing through, we decided to relive my youth and stay a night at The Keating Hotel. Unfortunately they don’t have the club any more (and I have less enthusiasm for late night drinking these days), but the place was just as cool as I remembered.
Just a couple of blocks from Broadway, The Keating Hotel is right in the center of things. All around it the Gaslamp Quarter – the oldest part of downtown and the heart of the city’s nightlife – bustles with activity. Horton Plaza shopping mall is around the corner and offers an abundance of retail opportunities, while the seafront is easily reached and from here you can take a ferry to the beaches of Coronado. This part of town has always been central to my life, and in times past I would enjoy its many bars and restaurants with my friends and family.
Like many of the businesses in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Keating is housed in a grand historic building which dates all the way back to 1890. It was built by Fannie Keating to honor her husband who died shortly after they arrived in California. Designed by the Reid brothers, it quickly established itself as a local landmark, and over the years it has housed famous photographers, a law firm and a bank.
On the outside it retains its heritage look with its red brick facade and white accents. The inside however, is very different. It was redone in 2007 by Pininfarina – the car design company who are behind Ferrari and Maserati. They wanted to branch into hospitality, and when they came across the Keating they found their space. The result is modern and sexy, just like the cars. Think exposed brickwork and futuristic furniture. Stainless steel is used liberally, as is Ferrari red.
We stayed in the Imperial Suite which was huge, and had great views of the city. To top it off it had the Keating’s one of a kind Morphosis jacuzzi. A description of this uniquely shaped bath would not do it justice, but suffice to say it looks very stylish and was great for relaxing in. Everything about the room was great, and the bed was unbelievably comfortable. It felt like we were sleeping on a bed of clouds. Best of all though...when we walked in the room we were greeted by one of the sweetest gestures. There was a bucket of ice filled with drinks for us. There was a bottle of bubbles, a bottle of my favorite mezcal, and several ice cold Ballast Point IPAs for Chris. Next to it was a sweet handwritten note welcoming us home - talk about going above and beyond!
As we had discovered, the club is gone, and instead the Keating is now focusing on being a boutique hotel. It does however, have a massage service with the masseuses coming to your room to help you unwind. If you really want to go all out, you can book the Fresca Spa Suite which has its own steam shower, and private terrace complete with whirlpool jacuzzi.
As a local, I am overflowing with insider tips for what to do in San Diego. The Gaslamp area on the Keating’s doorstep, is filled with restaurants and bars. It’s also a short Uber ride away from Little Italy, which has some of our favorite bars too. We spent the nights going back to some of our old favorites and rediscovering the things that had made our twenties so special. You should definitely visit “Neighborhood Bar” for a great selection of craft beers, or if you’re feeling crafty, check out their hidden bar “Noble Experiment”. This is the place where I fell in love with a well made cocktail, and the where Chris and I had our first date. If you make it to Little Italy, make sure to hit up the Waterfront - another one of our favorite bars!
It is always comforting when things are as good as you remember them, and it is comforting to think that The Keating is here whenever we pass home. We had a great time there catching up with old friends and remembering our pasts. The Keating is a sleek hotel right in the heart of downtown San Diego, with a keen sense of style and everything you need to enjoy your time in the city. Whether (like me during my twenties) you need a place to unwind after a night out, or if you are looking for a romantic getaway, these guys have got you covered.
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