Westgate Hotel Downtown San Diego
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The luxurious Westgate Hotel opened in downtown San Diego 50 years ago this week. In his dedication, developer K. Arnholt Smith called the hotel “our contribution to San Diego’s steps to the metropolis.”
Westgate Hotel Downtown San Diego
Smith, chairman of Westgate California Corp., was the owner of a 20-story, 235-room downtown hotel and a major player in politics and business in San Diego before his empire collapsed with the collapse of his bank to the U.S. National Bank in 1973.
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As the hotel opened with a Rolls Royce limousine and other luxury amenities, The Union published a special section in which Westgate was solemnly named “America’s Most Beautiful Hotel”.
The gold-domed Westgate Plaza, the first skyscraper hotel built in downtown San Diego in 43 years, is open for business.
With an ultra-modern appearance and the elegance of a European palace, the building cost 14.5 million dollars. The resort includes 235 rooms and suites, two restaurants, parking, a flower-filled terrace, and business centers ranging from airline offices and a savings and loan company to a shoe store and delicatessen.
Construction of the 20-story building began on January 18, 1968. It occupies an entire block between Broadway and C streets, as well as Second and Third avenues.
The Westgate Hotel Photo Gallery
While several motor hotels and inns have been built and existing inns renovated or expanded, the Plaza is the first major full-service hotel built since 1927, when the El Cortez Hotel was completed.
Westgate building California. owns the Plaza. The company’s chairman of the board is C. Arnholt Smith, a prominent San Diego businessman with diverse interests.
A company spokesperson said Westgate Plaza is one of “the most elegant hotels built in the 20th century.”
“Its guest room, conference facilities, lobby restaurants and overall ambience represent a luxury rarely found in even the grandest modern hotels,” the spokesperson said.
The Westgate Hotel
Leslie L. White, 52, the hotel’s general manager, compared the Plaza to some of the best hotels in the world, including those in Europe, renowned for “old-fashioned luxury and excellent service.”
The architects of the project were Associated Hotel Planners, a joint venture between Richard George Wheeler & Associates and Bird, Fujimoto & Fish, two San Diego companies.
The Plaza complex consists of two buildings separated by an open courtyard between Second and Third Avenues. the hotel building is located on the north side of the courtyard. It rises 20 stories from the street with a lower level that has 145 parking spaces and several hotel shops, including a men’s store, barber shop, and beauty salon.
To the south of the landscaped courtyard is the two-story Westgate Life Insurance Building, which measures 28,641 square feet. The Insurance Company Building faces Broadway and contains various commercial establishments, offices, and stores.
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The hotel’s main tower measures 322,000 square feet. At street level are the hotel’s lobby, reception and offices, the Westgate Room — one of the hotel’s two restaurants — and other shops.
On the second level is the Salle Fontainebleau, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant; the Versailles Ballroom, the largest of the hotel’s function and meeting rooms, and other meeting rooms that can accommodate from 10 to 300 people.
The third floor has more meeting rooms and meeting rooms. The fountain terrace on this level is accessible from the conference rooms through sliding glass doors. Walkways lead from the hotel terrace to the landscaped roof terrace of the Westgate Life Insurance Building.
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