On July 1, 1946, The Lafayette Hotel opened doors in North Park from former car dealer and developer Larry Imig. The grand colonial style hotel quickly became a celebrity hideaway and vacation resort for stars like Bob Hope and Ava Gardner.
Now, the hotel is celebrating 70 years of magic, a major accomplishment for any San Diego business and momentous occasion certainly worthy of a party. All are invited to commemorate the hotel's rich history on Friday, July 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. As a thank you to all of the guests and supporters over the decades, the party is free to attend.
Meander through three distinct venues themed around the rich history. City Within A City will give a nod to the days when the hotel had more than 20 different shops, stores and services. The Home Away From Home cocktail lounge in the Mississippi Ballroom will include a 1950s-themed USO Show. Lastly, The Soda Jerk will have a retro-style soda fountain and diner offering old-time eats and treats.
Musical entertainment will be provided by Euphoria Brass Band, The Rollers (a Beatles tribute band) and Sacha Boutros + guests.
Did you know that the hotel once escaped demolition plans to be turned into a parking lot? Or that in the 1940s and '50s, the property occupied nearly two-and-a-half acres and boasted 24 shops, four restaurants, a nightclub, and 250 guest rooms, suites and apartments?
During the 1950s, hotelier and San Diego Charger owner Conrad Hilton purchased the San Diego Lafayette and immediately put his stamp on the property. He demolished and relocated several of the property's apartment buildings, and he also removed Imig's large signature from the large terrazzo star in the Conservatory floor.
Through various changes in ownership, the hotel continued to maintain its charm and relevance. In 2011, with the assistance of the San Diego Redevelopment Agency and State of California, a six-million historical renovation was completed.
To encourage guests to continue to be a part of the hotel's history, they're asking attendees to bring something small to contribute to a time capsule. The capsule will be displayed inside of the hotel for the next 30 years and reopened on the 100th anniversary. Bring something small, like a photo or trinket, to remember this point in time.
You can also become a part of the hotel's history by purchasing a commemorative tile. The tiles can be decorated at the party and will be built into the hotel.
The first 500 people to RSVP to the party will receive a commemorative gift. Retro '40s, '50s and '60s attire is encouraged. Find more information at lafayettehotelsd.com
2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park