San Diego has some wonderful hotels, but none are better loved than La Valencia. “The Pink Lady” has been a landmark in La Jolla since 1926.
For many years, I naively thought I was the only one whose heart skipped a beat at the sight of La Sala, where potted palms and traditional furnishings welcome guests to have a drink and enjoy the ocean view.
Then La Valencia made the cover of Travel & Leisure, and I realized I wasn’t alone in my admiration of the hotel’s Spanish colonial architecture, classy ambience, and intimate spaces. Now T&L, as well as Condé Nast Traveler, says that La Jolla’s pride and joy is one of the “World Best Hotels.”
If you stay here, you’ll have a choice of 112 rooms, suites, and villas. All enjoy a restful shades-of-beige decor and some have ocean views. Families usually opt for the connecting rooms in the three-story West Wing. Honeymooners splurge on one of the 16 spacious villa rooms or suites that come with fireplaces, pool or ocean view, open beam ceiling, plantation shutters, and very large bathrooms.
On-site facilities include an ocean-view pool, fitness center, and a business center that’s open 24/7. Spa treatments are done in guestrooms.
La Valencia’s restaurants are popular with locals as well as out-of-town guests. These include the Whaling Bar & Grill, a clubby spot known for tableside preparation, including Caesar salad and Bananas Foster flambé; the Mediterranean Room, with a handsome fireplace and traditional décor; a leafy patio with a blue and white mosaic tile fire pit and fountain;La Sala, where live music accompanies the cocktail hour; and the lofty Sky Room, which accommodates up to 40 diners and provides a 180-degree view over Scripps Park and the ocean.
While best known as a spot for special-occasion dinners, guests are also welcome to take the elevator up to the Sky Room for a drink or a late-night dessert. This tony little tower room is also perfect for intimate weddings: the bride, groom and officiant stand on the marble-floored fire escape against a backdrop of sea and sky while the guests watch from inside.
Before you assume that La Valencia is out of your price range, ask about special deals and attractive packages.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I’ve never stayed a “La V,” but only because I live within walking distance of the hotel. However, I stop at La Sala for tea or a drink with some regularity – and the sight of this space still makes my heart skip a beat.
Photo credit: ADAMS / HANSEN STOCK PHOTOS.