Sormeh Rienne Blends Retro European and American Touches at San Diego’s The Guild Hotel

The Guild Bar features a Brazilian leather and quartzite counter with custom millwork and hand-torched herringbone floors. Photography by Dylan + Jeni.



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. 

Guest rooms feature custom sofas and chairs upholstered by Fabricut Contract, custom sconces, and Juniper floor lamps. Photography by Dylan + Jeni.

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.

A nook gathers a custom sofa upholstered by Fabricut Contract, a Muller Van Severen wall lamp from Matter, and terrazzo-topped tables by Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen via Danish Design Store. Photography by Dylan + Jeni.
Luca’s patio is furnished with CB2 lounge chairs, Williams Sonoma seating around restaurant-grade quartz-topped tables, and Rejuvenation sconces. Photography by Robert Benson.
A communal space near the main entrance incorporates a custom Passion Onyx-topped table, Pablo sconces from Lightology, and an Artemide pendant. Photography by Dylan + Jeni.
Guest room bathrooms have custom vanities by Bryan Ashley, Kohler sinks with Delta faucets, and Moen shower fixtures and fittings. Photography by Dylan + Jeni.

Read more: Morning Glory Blooms in San Diego Thanks to Basile Studio

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