Perched on a bluff in La Jolla, California, lies an enchanting boutique hotel known as La Valencia. Built in 1926, this historic property may only have 114 rooms but its story and its rich history are iconic. It started as a live-in apartment building for San Diego locals to get away from the city. Today, it’s a landmark turned into a coastal retreat.
Originally, the facade was painted white but that color changed to pink and it became known as the “Pink Lady.” This shade of pink was later copyrighted and trademarked to be called Valencia Pink. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, La Valencia is known for its mesmerizing sunsets and relaxing ocean view.
The architecture and interior style is Spanish Mediterranean and has undergone several renovations. The hotel is almost 100 years old and has never closed its doors since it first opened. It has become a staple of La Jolla culture and has been the center of life as we know it in this charming town.
Generations have stayed here and as times are changing, so does the hotel. It has pushed progressive programs to enhance and accommodate modern life while maintaining its integrity and style. The hotel has a resident who has lived in the hotel for over 30 years. Today she is 91 years old and if you are lucky, you might be able to have a cocktail with her.
We were lucky enough to stay in Villa 12 which is located in front of the beach with its own corner patio and doors that open with a pristine ocean view. We would sit on the bed and read books while listening to the tranquil sounds of waves crashing and sea lions barking in the distance. As we drank a glass of Chardonnay, all our problems seemed to have disappeared. The hotel reminds us of a smaller version of the Beverly Hills Hotel…just set on the beach. From their beachside bungalows to the color pink, its architecture is a site to be appreciated.
The property is centered around a pool with an ocean view and bar/food service. It’s the perfect place to sip on cocktails while you lounge in warm waters. King palms, bougainvillea, and lush greenery surround you as you relax and unwind. It feels like you’ve been transported back to a simpler time where life was slow. There was no urge to rush…you had found paradise.
Steps away is Sea Lion Beach where seals are comfortable swimming right by divers and swimmers who don wet suits and enjoy the brisk Pacific waters year round. You can walk along the shore and watch seals and sea lions graze on rocks. Watch baby seals bark at their moms as waves crash against each other. A lot of them love to put on a show for humans.
You will see them diving into the water from the rocks or frolicking on the beach. Keep in mind that its best to keep your distance from them because you don’t want to invade their space. Some of them can be dangerous so its better to use a zoom lens when taking pictures of them.
Another great way to experience La Jolla is to take a motorized bike tour with San Diego Fly Rides. We rode along the coastline and through the residential neighborhood where we saw mega-mansions. Colby, our tour guide, took us to the top of the hill that had a 360 degree view of the city. We enjoyed the ocean view while cruising down a couple of miles at high speeds. The motorized bikes function like regular bikes. The engine is activity when you pedal and you can control the amount of extra help if you need it.
Kayaking with La Jolla Bike and Kayak Tours is the adventure of a lifetime. Located a short drive from La Valencia, you can Kayak in the Pacific Ocean. To get out to the main waters, you need to fight the waves and paddle to the maximum. Once you pass the main waves, you venture to the caves of La Jolla and hang out with the sea lions.
There is no better way to experience the upscale little beach town known as La Jolla than staying at La Valencia. With its rich history, attentive service and fantastic decor, there is no hotel in the world like it. It reminds us of a charming miniature version of the Beverly Hills Hotel, just located directly on the water. Now it doesn’t get any better than that!
For more information, visit La Valencia.