In La Jolla, upscale accommodations abound. One of the most charming is the Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa (9700 Torrey Pines Rd., 858/550-1000, www.estancialajolla.com, $350–400). Built on an historic Mexican rancho, the traditional arrangement of buildings and courtyards gleam with restoration and vitality. (When driving in, look for the resort name on a standard cross-street sign.) Palm trees and succulents grace the landscape.
Inside, spacious guest rooms in neutral tones are accented with bright oranges, yellows, and greens. Beds offer an extra-comfy night’s sleep, made even better by a visit to the spa or a day spent lounging under a cabana by the vast swimming pool, sipping drinks from the poolside bar. The hotel offers many of the amenities of a full-scale resort, including a restaurant, wine bar, and casual sports bar.
As you stroll the groomed paths through the endless gardens dotted with native plants, you’ll also find a small store, the main lobby, and the main sitting room complete with huge stone fireplace and all the help you need from friendly concierges at the desk.
The candy-colored La Valencia Hotel (1132 Prospect St., 858/454-0771, www.lavalencia.com, $275) has it all: ocean views, high-end restaurants, sumptuous guest rooms, and a great downtown location. Guest rooms, suites, and villas are decorated tastefully in earth tones with splashes of bright color. Living plants provide both oxygen and a homey sense of elegance both in the rooms and throughout the resort.
Downstairs, take advantage of the state-of-the-art workout room, then cool off in the large sparkling blue pool. You can walk to the cliffside boardwalk or down to the beach from the La Valencia, and enjoy the shopping and restaurants of Prospect Street.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines (11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd., 858/453-4420, www.lodgetorreypines.com, $450) offers luxury, service, amenities, and access to the amazing Torrey Pines Golf Course. You’ll be struck by the classic Southern California Craftsman architecture—the exterior of the lodge is a work of art in itself. The Craftsman elegance continues into the rooms, with designer fabrics, tasteful appointments, gorgeous marble bathrooms, and views of the golf course and ocean.
If you plan to play golf, check the golf packages and arrange your tee time through the hotel. Non-golfers have a number of great recreation options too. Book an appointment at the full-service spa, rent one of the charming cabanas down at the beach, or take a guided hike at the state reserve. If traveling with family, their are numerous kids’ activities and amenities available at the resort.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition