I got my wish recently and spent a late night hour prowling and poking around this massive yet exuberant old pile of a hotel, which was built over the span of several decades and exhibits a variety of architectural styles and affectations, from Spanish Mission Revival to Venetian Renaissance. It is reportedly haunted.
I didn't see any ghosts, but the place definitely exudes the spooky aura of a Republican stronghold: Richard and Pat Nixon were married on the premises and and Ronald and Nancy Reagan spent their honeymoon here. A special chair built for the visit of extra-hefty president William Howard Taft is on view in the lobby. The Presidential Suites, in a penthouse atop the chapel (above), are worth finding.
My room was the one on the left.
Don't miss the lovely open-air Rotunda, which is best viewed from topside.
The east façade (not the main entrance)
There's enough here for at least a few more trips. A 75-minute tour is also available, which I won't fail to take next time.
The Italian trattoria on the northwest corner of the plaza.