This article discusses the interesting history of The Cosmopolitan, a grand hotel located in Old Town San Diego.
The title of this post may be misleading. Let me explain why.
I am not sure what came to your mind when you read the title. Maybe you thought I started seeing spectrums after too many cosmopolitans in the city of San Diego. You were right about the city. You were right about the ghosts. However, I am not talking about the cosmopolitan you are thinking about.
I am referring to this cosmopolitan.
The Cosmopolitan is a hotel and restaurant located in Old Town San Diego, which is registered as a National Historic Landmark. The history of this building goes back to 175 years. It all started with a pioneer named Juan Lorenzo Bandini. He settled the area in the 1800s.
Between 1827 to 1829, he built a magnificent and extended residence with the idea of proving maximum comfort to his wife and two daughters. The result ended up being the largest residence in San Diego at that time. The house was built in a Spanish Colonial style. It included abode walls, muslin ceilings, and a brick lane patio.
When Bandini died, a man named Albert Seeley acquired the property. His dream was to build a place where travelers could rest, eat, and get some entertainment.
In order to do that, Seeley added a second level to the original adobe structure. He was able to create a hotel with 20 rooms. The new edification was built in a Greek Revival style. Seeley was able to keep the hotel full because he was also in the transportation business. He used to run coaches between Los Angeles and San Diego three times a week.
There were 10 small rooms and 10 large rooms. You are not going to believe this but the smaller rooms were rented for 50 cents. The bigger ones were rented for 1 dollar. Another interesting fact is that bathrooms, like we know them today, didn’t exist at that time. All guests had to go to a communal area outside the hotel which contained a pile of water and a hole on the ground for you know what.
Once the city of San Diego started to expand, the business began to slow down and Seeley ended up selling the hotel. The building played many roles in the upcoming years. I
t was an olive factory, a motel, and a restaurant. In 1968, the State of California acquired the building and the Old Town Historic Park was created. Last year, the hotel reopened and recuperated some of its old glory.
Ghosts Hanging Around
The interesting part of the story is that since the remodeling of the place started, strange things started to happen.
Last weekend, my husband and I took a free tour of the property and the hotel manager told us a lot of ghost stories. According to him, spirits roam the property. He narrated his own experiences and believes that the place is haunted. Once the hotel opened, guests started to share their own stories. Each room has a journal where they can write their experiences.
All the rooms still have the same journal that was there when the hotel was opened (last year).
All the rooms, except one. This particular room is given a new journal every couple of months. The manager said is the most haunted room on the property. He does not go to the room alone because of the many experiences he has had.
The room I am talking about is called the Isadora Bandini room. Once the building was converted to a hotel, Bandini’s daughter used to go there to remember her childhood days. She used to stay in the same room at every visit. A lot of people believe her spirit is still in the room.
The ghost likes to open the curtains, move the position of the mirror, and place the bathroom robe on the floor (this is what guest and hotel staff has experienced). Guests have also heard a cat purring at night.
Paranormal activity experts have examined the room. When they started to get readings and ask questions, they weren’t getting anything. Then, they realized that Isadora spoke Spanish when she was alive. They started to ask questions in Spanish and, at that moment, she told them her name. They also caught the cat and some Indians who lived in the area way before the adobe house was constructed.
I am not a believer in paranormal activity but I have to admit that is really interesting to listen to all these stories from the past.
Old San Diego seems to be full of these stories. In fact, before touring the property I saw about 5 signs promoting ghost tours. I told my husband I would like to take one. I said that before knowing I was going to take an unplanned ghost tour that same day.
If you are interested, you can check the companies offering tours around the old city. For some of them, you don’t even have to make reservations. You can show up at the meeting point and pay there.
Whaley House, promoted as the most haunted house in the United States, is also in Old Town San Diego and opened to the public.
Wish you have enjoyed this story about a cosmopolitan, ghosts, and Old Town San Diego.
Old Town State Historic Park is located 4 miles from Downtown San Diego. The area has enough attractions to spend half or an entire day.
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Have you visited The Cosmopolitan or Old San Diego?