History of a Legend, Nostalgia & Romance
The story of San Ysidro Ranch emerges from the history books of Old California. Nostalgia and romance, legend and myth intertwine here, defining the inimitable ambiance and state of mind that today make the Ranch an icon of California and one of the state's most exclusive retreats.
Originally part of land titled in1769 by the King of Spain, it later served as a way station for Franciscan monks in the late 1700s and then a working citrus ranch in the 1800s, before becoming a guest ranch.
The San Ysidro Citrus Ranch, which would later become the Johnston Fruit Company, harvested an average of 300,000 oranges and 100,000 lemons annually. In 1889 a large sandstone packing house was built to handle the citrus production - which today houses the Ranch's acclaimed Stonehouse Restaurant.
In 1825, an adobe ranch house was constructed by Thomas Oliviera, the son of a Presidio soldier, and remains today as one of the most unique private dining rooms on the West Coast. The "Old Adobe" is a California Historical Landmark. In 1892, a ranch house was built that would become The Hacienda, the focal point of today's Ranch where guests check-in and gather to relax and socialize. In 1893, the Ranch accommodated its first guests.
In the 1930s, Hollywood actor Ronald Colman and hotelier and former Senator Alvin Carl Weingand acquired the Ranch and transformed it into a haven - known for its idyllic setting, personalized service and guarding of guest privacy - for celebrities and luminaries from around the world. The numerous famous guests over the years range from Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby and Groucho Marx to Winston Churchill, Somerset Maugham and Sinclair Lewis. Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were married at the Ranch, John and Jacqueline Kennedy honeymooned there and John Huston completed the script for African Queen during a three-month stay.
In 2000, entrepreneur Ty Warner acquired the Ranch and made it part of the exclusive collection of Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, LLC. Under Warner's guidance, the Ranch has been undergoing a major restoration to ensure it remains one of the most acclaimed luxury hideaways for discriminating travelers.
According to legend, San Ysidro (Spanish for Saint Isadore), the patron saint of Madrid, was such a kind and caring shepherd that the Lord sent a guardian angel to watch over his flock while he tended to the sick and needy. It is this example of selfless service that inspires the hospitality of the Ranch.