San Diego’s Italian Renaissance-inspired Army-Navy YMCA building has been a landmark since it joined the city’s skyline in the 1920s. Now, thanks to Alvin Mansour’s Oram Hotels, the Azul Hospitality Group, and designer Sormeh Rienne, the building has taken on new life as The Guild Hotel, a 162-room, 90,000-square-foot Marriot Tribute Portfolio propertythat features a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath penthouse with a private rooftop space and elevator entry.
“There is an air about European cities around 5 o’clock, a common desire to pause and appreciate life,” says Rienne, “and I wanted to bring this emotion to The Guild.” Once past the building’s restored façade, guests climb the original stone staircase into the lobby and see Rienne’s vision for themselves. A hand-carved, fluted reception desk is located behind floor-to-ceiling-drapery. Just off the lobby, Luca, Chef Justin Vaiciunas’s Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, tempts diners with 24 tables set amid 1,600 square feet of custom outdoor fireplaces, mirrored walls, and ample greenery. Six styles of guest rooms feature Stearns & Foster beds with Garnier-Thiebaut linens and commissioned art from local artists.
And while Rienne might have been dreaming of Europe, she was also looking closer to home for her color palette. “One of my favorite details is the soft nod to the classic YMCA colors of red, white, and blue by way of color blocking using the furniture in the lobby,” she says. “This creates a tangible reference and alludes to the past without screaming it.” We hear it, loud and clear.