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“World’s Best” La Valencia Hotel

March 28, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More

Oceanview pool at La Valencia Hotel, La Jolla, California.

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.


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Category: dining with a view, Hotels

About the Author ()

I live in La Jolla and I'm a travel writer, so in addition to enjoying my home town's great weather, beautiful surroundings, and range of cultural and recreational options, I also see La Jolla - and the rest of San Diego - as a travel destination. And what I see sometimes drives me batty. People vacation in La Jolla, but don't take advantage of everything our community offers, so I decided to start this blog and provide insider advice for out-of-towners. Hey. I figure if I can write insider tips about exotic destinations on Authentic Luxury Travel, I ought to be able to lead readers off the beaten path that starts just outside my front door. In the process, I'm having fun revisiting my favorite places and discovering some new ones. Travel writers are naturally snoopy, and this blog is my excuse to have a good ol' sticky beak around my home town. I hope you find it helpful. If you are coming to La Jolla or another area of San Diego and would like my help in planning your trip, please read "Need Help Planning Your Trip" and then email me at ehansen298@aol.com. Elizabeth Hansen

Comments (5)

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  1. Scott says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    We at La Jolla Blue Book just released our Find It La Jolla iPhone app along with our mobile http://www.lajollabluebook.com website. So La Jolla visitors can find any La Jolla business through their phones at all times. Would love for you to talk about this truly local options!

  2. Marina says:

    We are moving to California and would really love some advice. Any kids friendly beaches around la Jolla? What month is the ocean water temperature the warmest?

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Welcome to California, Marina. I think you’ll love it here.

    One of San Diego’s most kid-friendly beaches is La Jolla Shores Beach. It’s a great place for swimming, building sand castles, and walking. Adults also enjoy kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, and stand-up paddle boarding here. The water temperature is usuallly warmest in August.

    I’m happy to answer any other questions you have. Just post them here.


  4. Carol says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I will be in La Jolla tomorrow night. I found your website yesterday. I am going to use it to guide our way around the area. I would love to stop in The Valencia Hotel restaurants for the beauty. Your website mentioned the Whaling Bar and Grill. I didn’t see this on the Hotels website. Has the name changed?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Carol, Thanks for your comment. Your guess is correct: La Valencia closed the Whaling Bar & Grill. In it’s place is Cafe La Rue. You may have already decided where to go in La Jolla, but if you’re still open for suggestions, please consider La Valencia’s La Sala, It’s really charming. Please be in touch if I can help. Cheers, Elizabeth

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