Each July the company Patrick works for hosts a massive conference in San Diego. Sometimes Patrick attends, sometimes he doesn’t. But this year he did, and like most of his conferences, I tag along to enjoy the sights of the city. This year we chose to stay in one of California’s oldest hotels, The Cosmopolitan, located within Old Town San Diego.
The Cosmopolitan didn’t start out as a hotel, but instead the grand adobe home of rancher Don Juan Bandini. Bandini had his home constructed in 1829 using labor from Christianized Native Americans from the mission, and it quickly became a place that typified the Spanish Colonial era of California. Bandini was a wealthy cattle rancher, known for his elegant attire and hosting week long dance parties. He enjoyed writing, riding, music, and even dabbled in government, including a revolt against Governor Victoria in 1831.
However California entering the Union didn’t bode well for many ranchers, including Bandini. Bandini fell into debt, eventually transferring the home to his son-in-law, Abel Stearns. Bandini died not long after. The once thriving mansion sat empty, falling into disrepair, which was worsened by an earthquake in 1862, completely destroying one wing.
In 1869, an American stagecoach operator, named Albert Seeley, along with his wife, Emily, purchased the property, adding a second story and making the former Spanish adobe a stagecoach stop, hotel, saloon, barber shop, and post office.
The arrival of the railroad marked the beginning of the end for the Seeleys, selling the Cosmopolitan in 1888. For over 100 years the Cosmopolitan had a handful of different owners and purposes before enjoying a three year renovation, reopening in 2010.
Today 80 percent of the original structure remains intact, including some of the floorboards, trim, and even the windows. A wrap around balcony gives guests a beautiful view of Old Town, and the interior courtyard offers a delicious restaurant and bar. Within the saloon sits a spectacular bar and bar back dating to 1870 that is rumored to have once belonged to Wyatt Earp. It originally hailed from Silver City, Idaho, but spent time in Tombstone.
For those interested in the paranormal, the Cosmopolitan is supposedly haunted by Bandini’s youngest daughter, Ysidora, specifically in room 11. I also heard rumor of a ghost cat wondering the property! So far I haven’t had any paranormal experiences though.
Rest your head, have a bite to eat, and possibly see a ghost at the Cosmopolitan at 2660 Calhoun Street in San Diego.
Sources History. The Cosmopolitan. Accessed Juan Bandini. San Diego History Center. Accessed
Various plaques and binders on site.