THE BEST hotels in La Jolla

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Each of our favored Insiders hotels offers easy access and concierge guidance to miles of idyllic beaches and coastline for swimming, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and diving. Step out of our lodging choices into the exciting Village of La Jolla and its trendy boutiques, its museums and art galleries. Discover championship fairways at Torrey Pines Golf Course, with famous San Diego attractions an easy drive or Uber away.

La Valencia Hotel: Hollywood Glamour on the California Riviera

La-Valencia-Hotel

Labeled intimate and charming by La Jolla visitors since 1926, the iconic “Pink Lady”   remains virtually unchanged since it was discovered by the Hollywood elite during filmdom’s Golden Era. Long-settled above the beautiful La Jolla Cove cliffs and the soothing waves of the Pacific, La Valencia offers something for every visitor’s taste with its four distinctive room types – Vintage, Classic, Icon and Villas (separate from the main building). Savor international cuisine in the newly remodeled Mediterranean Room restaurant and Old California-style La Sala lounge featuring a large arched window artily framing the ocean at the room’s end, including a mini bar and live music. If a refreshing dip, then relaxation on a lounge chair with a mai tai in your hand is your happy place, the beautiful outdoor pool with a Pacific view is your best bet. We’re delighted to report that the hotel is in the planning stages of rebuilding the long time La Jollan’s favorite drinking and fine dining spot: The Whaling Bar, the early mid-century American low-lit, dark wood paneled, white linen restaurant, with a well stocked long bar opened in the 1930’s and became two decades later the hang-out of Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) and Philip Marlowe (Raymond Chandler), and every other A-list celebrity staying on the property. We welcome its return.

Grande Colonial Hotel ( by Insider contributor Katie Dillon)

The Grande Colonial is La Jolla’s oldest original hotel. It first opened in 1913 as an apartment hotel and eventually became a gathering place for locals and Hollywood stars performing at the La Jolla Playhouse founded by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. Military men called it home during World War II. The hotel has gone through several renovations, with the most recent in 2019 resulting in the hotel achieving Four Diamond recognition. The original La Jolla Drugstore (once located next door to the Grande Colonial) was moved into the hotel in 1926 and renamed Putnam’s Pharmacy employing the pharmacist father of native son actor Gregory Peck. An ice cream parlor was added on the sidewalk. The parlor became, decades later during the last renovation, the beautifully appointed, elegant, fine-dining NINE-TEN restaurant (echoing the hotel’s 910 street number). This boutique hotel has 97 guest rooms and 22 suites specifically for extended stays at the Tudor Wing, Garden Terraces and Little Hotel by the Sea. It’s probably not going to be your main attraction with the beaches just around the corner, but there’s a nice, quiet poolBy the way, the hotel is reputed to be haunted.

La Jolla Shores Hotel: A Hotel Built for Coastal Living

la-jolla-shores-hotel

For decades, this beachfront La Jolla Shores Hotel located in the heart of La Jolla Shores — a short drive from downtown La Jolla Village — is literally just steps from one of Southern California’s best beaches. Take in a one-of-a-kind, front-row view of the sand, surf and sunsets from any west-facing balcony. The airy breezeways and balconies, to the relaxed beach vibe, the hotel is infused with the laid-back spirit of California. If ocean waves are too much for you, the calm swimming pool is a great alternative while enjoying the sunshine of La Jolla. The Shores dining room offers a coastal cuisine crafted from the freshest local ingredients and daily-caught seafood. It’s an idyllic year-round destination, uniquely nestled right on the ocean, also puts the best of San Diego within easy driving reach. Roomy under ground parking makes it simple to park. This is important because of the sincere lack of curbside parking availability. The hotel is set at the edge of the La Jolla Shores intimate and playful shopping district — including other excellent restaurants. Within walking distance are surfer-oriented stores and several kayak rental shops offering personal instruction and group tours inviting you to safely play in the waves. 

Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton

All roads lead to the Hotel La Jolla – in and out, providing quick all-directions freeway access to San Diego and interior La Jolla destinations. Nestled among the palms and illuminated by torches, this hotel exudes the easygoing vibe of Southern California set at the entrance to The Jewel of the Pacific. The La Jolla Shores Kellogg Park beach and (opposite direction) La Jolla Village are within easy walking distance, or you can join the many neighborhood bicycle riders and explore the surrounding upscale residential area with free-to-borrow hotel bikes. The tallest hotel in La Jolla offers rooms with satisfying ocean-view balconies, an award-winning restaurant, and an outdoor poolside bar. Seasonal and shareable dishes highlight the restaurant’s new American cuisine, serving fresh catches, house-made pastas, and rustic flatbreads – all paired with their extensive wines and craft cocktails. The top-floor bar offers an unparalleled view of La Jolla and the coast.

Empress Hotel: Home of the World famous Manhattan of La Jolla

Experience European-style comfort blended with the Southern California “Aloha Spirit” vibe in a boutique hotel set in the heart of scenic La Jolla Village. The Empress is a pet friendly hotel, so your fur kid is welcome. The hotel has a signature Hotel Beach Concierge service where guests can request beach supplies for use anytime during their stay, as well as directions to the area’s famous sandy beaches and nearby popular San Diego attractions like SeaWorld and Torrey Pines golf course.  

Of particular note is the extremely popular Wednesday through Saturday jazz dinner in the upscale brick and mahogany-paneled Manhattan of La Jolla; transporting you to the best of New York. Closed on Monday’s, Manhattan is an award winning La Jolla favorite, celebrating its 25th year.

Inn by the Sea

Inn-by-the-Sea

The ocean breezes filled with the scents of the ocean and echoes of waves on the rocks and seals barking on the sand, drift throughout the village of La Jolla right to the balconies of the Inn just three blocks to the water. This boutique hotel in downtown La Jolla is surrounded by beaches, plentiful dining options, local culture, and chic boutiques, making the Inn a convenient launching pad for day (and night) exploration. 

Take in the salty breezes as you soak up the California sunshine in one of the most romantic of honeymoon destinations. Enjoy breakfast in bed with the Inn’s in-room delivery breakfast option from the nearby extremely popular (The) Cottage Restaurant. Then spend a day sampling the local culture, and later, as the sun goes down, dine at one of our vibrant local restaurants

The Shoal La Jolla Beach

The Shoal La Jolla Beach

Nothing’s too far from where you are when you stay at the newly remodeled Shoal at the Beach.  Located on La Jolla Blvd., you can walk to WindanSea beach in five minutes, a favorite with serious surfers all over the world, and one of the beaches included in the Beachboys 1964 hit “Surfin’USA”.  And for those literary types, it’s also the site of the pumphouse featured in Tom Wolfe’s “Pumphouse Gang”: a popular novel book filled with ribald stories as told by students from La Jolla High (none of which were true, they were goofing on poor Tom). The Shoal La Jolla Beach sits in the Barber Tract: one of La Jolla’s first communities, filled with narrow streets and charming early California homes; a prime spot for touring. 

Make yourself at home in one of the 44 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available to keep you connected. Bathrooms have showers and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks. Be sure to enjoy recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a spa tub, laundry facilities, and a safe deposit box at the front desk. Self parking (subject to charges) is available onsite.

Pantai Inn

Guests do not just imagine the feeling that they’ve been transported to Bali during their stays at the Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California, even the Balinese Consul said that it feels like home. Formerly known to locals as Shell Beach— a rundown seaside motel — was totally transformed into a Balinese-inspired beachfront sanctuary by long-time Jackman family members (sister and brother) Laurnie and Larry. The enriched property featuring island-centric statues and artwork dot the manicured gardens, as well as housing authentic imported custom furnishings in each of its designer suites. Luxurious rooms offer a chance to relax while surrounded by modern perks like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi access. Some suites have private patios and ocean views. Guests enjoy complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea, as well as free parking. And if you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation experience, in-room spa services are also available. The hotel prides itself on its detailed customer service. The Pantai claims a prime spot on an internationally recognized “Best Botique Hotels in the World” list. We agree.

La Jolla Cove Suites Hotel

La-Jolla-Cove-Suites

If your lodging mantra is location, location, location, the Cove Suites answers your chant. There isn’t a hotel on our list of favorites that sits as close to La Jolla’s favorite seaside acreage, La Jolla Cove, than this hotel; it’s right across the street. This family-oriented hotel has a long-time annual returning family vacation tradition. General Manager David Vecchione states, “We have a lot of families who come here and many of our longtime guests have been vacationing here for 40 years. One family has been coming here since we opened and knows our staff by name.”   

The rates are friendly and the accommodations simple. “We have a great location that mixes casual beach vibes with retro feeling, because the hotel has been around for so long and has history,” said hotel marketing manager Ashley Tiner. Of the hotel’s new owner driven renovation, she relates that with some rooms were built as early as 1908, it was time for a refresh. The renovation was underway from November 2016 to June 2017. 

The hotel’s tricked out rooftop has become a draw for weddings and special events, and is a great coastal viewpoint for all guests. 

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

A few miles north of The Village and La Jolla Shores is The Lodge at Torrey Pines, an award-winning luxury resort set atop the cliffs of Torrey Pines State Beach and the blue Pacific. The Lodge is modeled after the famed Gamble and Blacker houses in Pasadena – two of the finest examples of early 1900s Craftsman-style architecture. Upon arrival, a surprisingly pleasant scene greets you at the lobby door: Scottish kilt wearing doormen allowing you entry to a property with 170 elegantly appointed rooms.

The Lodge’s signature restaurant A.R. Valentien – rated Best Hotel Restaurant in the West by Sunset Magazine in 2015 – is a destination for fresh regional cuisine served in an elegant setting overlooking the Torrey Pines Golf Course, home of the annual PGA Farmers Insurance Open. The Grill at The Lodge offers a full menu of favorites whether dining indoors or on the patio, while its bar is an ideal gathering place after a day on the golf course. Additional features of The Lodge include a day spa, croquet lawn, heated outdoor pool and cabanas, whirlpool, outdoor terrace with chaise lounges, hiking at the adjacent Torrey Pines State Reserve, a fitness center and the Scripps Library, a public space featuring a pool table, board games and more.  It’s more than a hotel. It’s almost a community.

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