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The jewel of SoCal

The jewel of SoCal

La Valencia Hotel-21

Experience La Jolla’s alluring beauty with a stay at La Valencia Hotel

FEATURE: Giannina Smith Bedford


La Valencia Hotel-15La Jolla. It means “the jewel.” A hilly seaside community with sparkling ocean vistas, glowing sunsets and dreamy temperatures (typically topping off in the mid to upper 70s), this affluent San Diego enclave truly depicts the beauty of a flawless gemstone. In the heart of the community that occupies 7 miles of curving coastline is another enchanting pink stucco jolla: La Valencia Hotel. My husband and I had the plea- sure of taking a few days’ rest at this historic 112-room Southern California haven adorned in Spanish mosaics, terraced gardens and fountains. From the moment we stepped into the Mediterranean-style building, saw the striking view of the rocky coastal cliffs and breathed in the fresh air from the hotel’s high perch, we were in love.

It’s the kind of place where ocean breezes dance through all the open spaces, even the hallway outside our smallish, but deluxe Vintage Ocean room, mixing with live jazz tunes from the lobby and a pedestrian buzz from the streets. The property features a variety of room types, from specialty suites and studios to 16 spacious villas. Upon our arrival we were tempted to curl up for hours on the Italian Frette linens and sleep away the day’s travel, but instead we dropped our bags and quickly headed for the pool. Once settled on poolside loungers with mango daiquiris in hand and the Pacific Ocean as our backdrop, we people-watched the tanned locals socializing at the bar and international visitors working on their bronzing.

La Valencia Hotel-03

After we’d gotten enough color to fit into the California landscape, La Valencia’s The Med beckoned for dinner. Offering three dining areas— the casual patio, main dining room and ocean view terrace—we opted for the al fresco terrace and settled in a front row seat to the impending sunset. The sky changed from a brilliant yellow to orange to dark red as we sipped The Pink Lady signature cocktail—a combo of house-infused basil vodka, watermelon, lime and agave nectar. Evening descended and the fun continued with an exquisite meal of Maine scallops and gnocchi; filet mignon with an absolutely mouth-watering gratin potato; and live “Rat Pack” songs that later switched to powerful renditions of Andrea Bocelli’s opera selections— perfect good-night tunes.

The following day we took our ad- ventures off-property, beginning with a hike along the La Jolla Coast Walk Trail that runs from La Jolla Shores beach to La Jolla Cove. We passed harbor seals and kayakers heading into the coastal caves and ogled the impressive mansions built along the cliffside. After packing our beach bag, we made San Diego’s famous Windansea Beach, situated about a mile and a half from the hotel, our destination. The popular sandy spot was packed with local beachgoers, surfers and tourists watching—and some brave souls swimming—the powerful waves pounding the coastline.

La Valencia Hotel-20

Nothing is more “SoCal” than tacos, so on our way back to the hotel we stopped at The Taco Stand on Pearl Street and feasted on tortillas stuffed with carne asada, carnitas, camaron (spicy shrimp) and an enormous bean and cheese burrito, washing it all down with an ice-cold Corona. This gave us the strength to freshen up and continue our exploration of the shops and galleries of La Jolla Village. We marveled at the photographs in the Peter Lik gallery and I drooled at the sparkling gems in the windows of the many jewelers. Along with one-of-a-kind retailers, the village also features national brands such as Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers and Lululemon Athletica. Once we were all window-shopped out, we grabbed an ice-cold treat at Gelateria Frizzante and took a stroll through Ellen Browning Scripps Park, sat on a bench among picnickers and watched the sunset from a new vantage point. Just as gorgeous as the night before, the sky lit up with radiant colors from aquamarine to topaz to ruby, hinting perfectly at the namesake of this vibrant locale— a sought-after place to call home, even if just for a few days.

La Valencia Hotel
1132 Prospect Street
La Jolla, California 92037
858.454.0771 |

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