Cosmopolitan Hotel vs Horton Grand Hotel

We take a look at two of San Diego’s oldest and most historic places to stay in our comparison guide for the Cosmopolitan Hotel and the Horton Grand Hotel.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Cosmopolitan Hotel vs Horton Grand Hotel
Overview of the Hotels
A Look at Lobbies
Explore & Save
History Comparison
Rooms Offered
Hotel Locations
Amenity Comparison
The Winning Hotel

Highlights

Lobby Comparison
Pool Comparison
Restaurant Comparison
Final Verdict
Lobby Comparison
Pool Comparison
Restaurant Comparison
Final Verdict

An Overview of the Horton Grand Hotel and Cosmopolitan Hotel

Main Entrance to the Cosmopolitan HotelOutside the Horton Grand Hotel

The Horton Grand Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter and the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego have lots in common. Namely, they’re two of San Diego’s oldest hotels!

From history to ghost sightings, see what makes each of these hotels special, and use our comparison guide to choose which one appeals most to you more.

The Cosmopilitan Hotel
The Cosmopilitan Hotel

Two Historic Hotels Go Head to Head

Both the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Horton Grand Hotel are sure to appeal to history enthusiasts. These hotels let you learn about San Diego’s past just by booking your room and walking around the grounds.

How do these two longstanding hotels stack up? Read on to see what our team thinks!

Local Tips
The Best Amenities!
The Horton Grand’s Salt & Whiskey is one of my favorite Gaslamp Quarter bars. With a food and drink menu that matches the hotel’s Victorian era theme, you absolutely must dine here at least once during your stay.

Set the Stage for Your Stay at the Hotel Lobby

Which hotel will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back through time the moment you arrive? Let’s look at the lobbies to find out.

Lobby Bar at the Historic Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town
Lobby Bar at the Historic Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town

The Lobby of the Cosmopolitan Hotel

The lobby of the Cosmopolitan is on the smaller side, as it’s incorporated into the building’s original adobe first floor. There’s still space to hang out at the bar, though!

With its old-timey atmosphere, I think the lobby bar is one of the coolest spots to hang out at the hotel.

The Cosmopolitan is rumored to be a haunted hotel. If you’re visiting in hopes of having a paranormal encounter, make the lobby your first stop!

Lobby with Reception in the Background at the Horton Grand Hotel
Lobby with Reception in the Background at the Horton Grand Hotel

Entering the Horton Grand Hotel

The Horton Grand Hotel’s lobby is larger, though I didn’t find it to be quite as impressive. Still, the outdoor area just outside the lobby is a nice place to enjoy San Diego’s sunny weather.

Like the Cosmopolitan, the Horton Grand is said to be haunted as well. Ghost hunters can try their luck at either location.

The Side of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town
The Side of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town

The Better First Impression: Cosmopolitan Hotel

The theming of the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s lobby makes it so enjoyable for me and helps it stand out among the competition.

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Comparing Hotel Histories

Normally, we like to do a pool comparison between different hotels. However, since neither hotel has a pool, we’ll look at another aspect: their histories.

Moonrise at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego
Moonrise at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego

Humble Beginnings at the Cosmopolitan Hotel

The Cosmopolitan San Diego was originally constructed not as a hotel, but instead as the home of a man named Juan Bandini. He had it built between 1827 and 1829, and was later given new life as a hotel.

Looking around the first floor today, you can still see the original adobe that has since been renovated while still maintaining the authentic look and feel. It’s one of only five standing adobe buildings in Old Town.

Horton Grand Hotel
Horton Grand Hotel

Merged Histories at the Horton Grand Hotel

Considered the oldest currently operating hotel in San Diego, the Horton Grand Hotel San Diego had a similarly unique start.

The Horton Grand was initially two different hotels at the modern-day Horton Plaza mall. The original buildings were The Grand Horton Hotel and the Brooklyn-Kahle Saddlery Hotel.

Later, these hotels were dismantled, relocated, and combined to form one hotel. This was the Horton Grand Hotel as we know it today.

Our Vote: It’s a Tie

Both hotels have their own stories to tell from the past, and either makes an ideal getaway for any history buff looking to learn more about San Diego’s past.

Rooms Offered at the Cosmopolitan and Horton Grand

From modern comforts to historic recreations, let’s take a peek at the room styles at both of these hotels.

Bedroom at Cosmopolitan Hotel
Bedroom at Cosmopolitan Hotel

Your Stay at the Cosmopolitan

Everything at the Cosmopolitan Hotel aims to provide guests with an immersive experience, including furniture and decor choices in the rooms. Each room evokes images of the old west with period-accurate details.

You’ll miss out on some modern conveniences, but disconnecting and enjoying a more authentic stay is an experience like none other.

Suite bedroom, Horton Grand Hotel
Suite bedroom, Horton Grand Hotel

What to Expect from Rooms at the Horton Grand

At the Horton Grand, the decor in the rooms and common areas focuses on history. You’ll see art and furniture designed to resemble what you might expect to find back when the original two hotels were constructed.

Alongside these historic touches, you’ll also have access to modern amenities in the rooms. It’s a good balance for people who want to see history but who still want the conveniences of the current age.

Guest Room at Cosmopolitan Hotel
Guest Room at Cosmopolitan Hotel

Which Hotel has the Better Rooms: Cosmopolitan Hotel

While some may prefer the added comforts of the rooms at the Horton Grand Hotel, for my money, I prefer getting the whole immersive package at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Featured Hotel
Cosmopolitan Hotel
The Cosmopilitan Hotel
Couples
Couples
Historic
Historic
Shopping
Shopping
2 Stars2 Stars
The Cosmopolitan Hotel is a historic landmark located in downtown San Diego. Complete with vintage furniture & timely details, the hotel has a haunting charm.
Prices Starting at $99
Check Availability

An Overview of Each Hotel’s Location

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The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Front of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Front of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

What’s Around the Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan Hotel is located right in the main plaza of San Diego Old Town. I found tons of excellent restaurants, bars, and places to shop within walking distance of the hotel.

To better explore the area, book a walking tour to see Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and haunted places like El Campo Santo Cemetery.

Sidewalk in the Gaslamp
Sidewalk in the Gaslamp

The Horton Grand’s Surroundings

Like Old Town, the Gaslamp Quarter is filled with stores and restaurants in walking distance from the doors of the Horton Grand Hotel. The nightlife is among the best in San Diego.

There are also some great food and drink tours here, with one of my favorites being the Brothels, Bites & Booze Tour which is part of the Go City San Diego pass.

Comparing Locations: A Tie

Since there’s so much to do in both Old Town and the Gaslamp Quarter, I’m calling this comparison a tie. The winner comes down to personal preference.

Comparing Amenities at Each Hotel

You won’t find a full suite of resort-style amenities at either of these historic hotels, but you will find great food and drinks.

Birria Tosada at Tahona Bar in Old Town San Diego
Birria Tosada at Tahona Bar in Old Town San Diego

Amenities at the Cosmopolitan

I’ve already mentioned how much I like the lobby bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, but it bears repeating. It’s such a cool theme.

Though the Cosmopolitan doesn’t have its own restaurant, Old Town has many restaurants. One of my favorites is Tahona, which serves authentic Mexican fare.

Inside the Salt and Whiskey Bar at the Horton Grand Hotel
Inside the Salt and Whiskey Bar at the Horton Grand Hotel

Horton Grand’s Amenities

The Horton Grand’s Salt & Whiskey is one of my favorite Gaslamp Quarter bars. With a food and drink menu that matches the hotel’s Victorian era theme, you absolutely must dine here at least once during your stay.

Bar Seating at the Salt and Whiskey Bar at the Horton Grand Hotel
Bar Seating at the Salt and Whiskey Bar at the Horton Grand Hotel

Our Choice: Horton Grand

I love the Horton Grand Hotel’s Salt & Whiskey bar so much that it’s my favorite pick between the two hotels’ offerings.

What Else to Know About These Hotels

Here’s some additional info that’s worth noting about each hotel.

Nighttime at the Cosmopolitian Hotel
Nighttime at the Cosmopolitian Hotel

More Tips for the Cosmopolitan

  • There are just 10 rooms, providing a more boutique experience.
  • Rooms lack TVs and phones but have Wi-Fi.

Outdoor Hallway at the Horton Grand Hotel
Outdoor Hallway at the Horton Grand Hotel

Additional Info About the Horton Grand

  • There are over 130 rooms, so availability is less limited.
  • Rooms are fitted with modern amenities

Our Pick for the Winning Hotel

Second Story at the Cosmopolitan Hotel
Second Story at the Cosmopolitan Hotel

We love both of these hotels and wouldn’t have taken the time to write a comparison article if we didn’t! But we must pick just one winner in our friendly battle of ghostly, historic San Diego hotels.

Whether you’re looking for ghosts, want to learn more about San Diego’s history, or you’re simply seeking a great hotel, the Cosmopolitan Hotel is our team’s choice!

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