Two waiters in black tuxedos served coffee and wine Wednesday at a downtown San Diego hotel. Just across the room, three cooks, to the accompaniment of soft background jazz, served a feast including roast veal loin, poached salmon with dill sauce and stuffed tomatoes.
The only thing strange about the midday meal was that it was being served at the U.S. Grant Hotel--a building closed for renovation since August, 1982.
The meal capped an hourlong media tour, during which hotel officials explained the Grant's $80-million renovation. Ulysses S. Grant Jr. built the hotel in 1910 to honor his father and, since then, the building has been remodeled at least five times. Some of the latest upgrading is expected to be completed by December, according to Bill Parr, the hotel's director of sales and marketing.
About 175 workmen are trying to meet that schedule, although the grand opening has been delayed until February.
Parr said the completed hotel should be one of the most luxurious in San Diego. Lodging there could run anywhere from $110 to $1,000 a night and will feature suites of varying sizes, all with luxurious 19th-Century elegance. However, the hotel will have such modern touches as hot tubs.