The Historic Grand Horton Hotel is a unique hotel, to say the least. It includes the building materials from two hotels that were built in the 1880s. The ghosts from the hotel’s pasts seem to have stayed on after the rebuild, with the ghosts of Roger Whittaker and Ida Bailey believed to haunt the building…

Ghosts of the Horton Grand Hotel

One ghost that the Grand Horton is renowned for, but two stories may explain why he haunts the hotel. Roger Whittaker is the spirit that haunts the hotels’ room 309 and the hallway on the same floor.

Roger Whittaker Story 1

The first theory that ties Roger to the Grand Horton occurs in 1843, long before the hotel was actually built. The father of Roger’s love and would-be wife apparently shot and killed Roger, dragging his body to the swamp which used to be located near the property. Some believe that when the hotel was built, Roger’s spirit decided to move in!

Roger Whittaker Story 2

Other people believe that Roger was a gambler who was caught cheating in a game of cards in the Stingaree District – an old area synonymous with gambling, prostitution, and drug use. He barely escaped with his life when he was set upon, running back to his hotel with his assailants following closely behind. They followed him all the way to his room (309), where he was subsequently shot through the door, dying in the room. Perhaps his body was later taken to the swamp, and he returned to what was his room to find safety?

Reports from Room 309

However he died, Roger haunts room 309 to this day, often making himself visible to guests in the hallway and inside the room. Guests and staff have never felt threatened by his appearance, with him often referred to as friendly. On one occasion, a guest witnessed Roger in the hall. Mistaking him for a real person, she asked him where the ice machine was. Imagine her surprise as he vanished before her eyes!

In room 309, guests have been woken up in the middle of the night by their beds shaking and the armoire’s doors being opened. Things often turn on and off in the room, and objects have been known to move around the room by themselves. Another experience is when the room suddenly becomes inexplicably warm, and it can’t be cooled down by air conditioning or by opening the window.

Hotel workers have heard the sounds of someone playing cards inside the room when it’s empty, and the indentation of a person lying down on a freshly made bed is a common occurrence that is experienced by maids.

Several other ghosts are known to haunt the Horton Grand, including that of Ida Bailey – the one-time owner of the brothel that stood on this site.

Brief History

The Horton Grand Hotel is unique in the fact that it’s two historic hotels restored into one. Originally built in 1887, the Grand Horton was a luxury hotel built due to the city’s first transcontinental railroad connection.

The second hotel (Brooklyn-Kahle Saddlery) was a less formal hotel that combined Western/Cowboy and Victorian styles. It was built around the same time as the Grand Horton. It was originally known as the Brooklyn Hotel but later changed its name as it became synonymous with the saddle and harness shop on the building’s first floor. Wyatt Earp was a permanent resident at the Brooklyn Hotel during his seven-year stay in San Diego.

Other famous guests of the two hotels included Benjamin Harrison, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, and Babe Ruth.

Both of the hotels were demolished brick by brick in the 1970s, with each brick being cataloged and stored. In 1986 the hotels were rebuilt using materials from each, and the present Horton Grand Hotel was born.


The Horton Grand Hotel is an enchanting blend of style, class, and Victorian charm. Each of the 108 guest rooms and 24 junior suites is elegantly furnished with antique furniture and marble-framed fireplaces, reflecting the charm of the 1880s.

The hotels’ Palace Bar offers a welcoming ambiance in sophisticated surroundings. You can also enjoy outdoor dining in the hotels’ New Orleans style courtyard.


  • Located in the heart of the gas-lamp district.
  • Bar
  • Restaurant (Re-opening March 2014)
  • Unique guestrooms furnished with Victorian-style furniture, marble framed fireplaces, and armoire
  • Complimentary wi-fi
  • Private parking
  • Room service (Resuming March 2014)
  • Rooms with courtyard views

Things to Do

The Horton Grand is located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, walking distance from 100’s bars, restaurants, and shops.

Local attractions include Seaworld, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Safari Park. There are also world-famous beaches just a short distance from the hotel, and Disneyland is within close proximity also.

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