***Note: The hotel is no longer a Kimpton property as of February 4, 2016, my stay occurred in 2015 when still a Kimpton managed property and this review is reflective of that. To my knowledge the owners are not making changes to staff or decor so all should hopefully be the same as when I experienced it****
Turning into the hotel driveway, my friends and I were instantly impressed by fire lit torches that lined the entry road. As we stopped, the car doors were immediately opened by the valets who welcomed us to Hotel La Jolla (a Kimpton Hotel). For me, this was a wonderful way to end the very long day with the cats, for my friends, they were regretting not staying at the hotel as they made their way to their new apartment in Carlsbad, approximately twenty minutes away.
Location La Jolla
La Jolla is a posh little beach town with a variety of cafes, water sports and the famous golf course at Torrey Pines. A five-minute walk from the hotel is the shore line street with cafés and further down the road, you are at the La Jolla Shores beach. In the other direction, you are in the village with shops, restaurants and a view of the many seals. The hotel offers a free shuttle (up to two miles) as well as providing a beach bag and umbrella (if only I had brought my bathing suit!).
Check In and Lobby
With only a carry-on bag, I made my way to the front desk through the large doors and into the expansive very modern lobby to the front desk. Aubrey welcomed me and when I said my name, her eyes lit up and said “we are so excited to have a cat on the property this weekend as we always get dogs”. I felt instantly sad when I crushed her spirit and told her that my carry on cat was on her way to her new apartment and was not staying with me. Aubrey then told me of her recent move from the Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami and how she was waiting for her cat to join her soon.
The lobby has two distinct seating areas with leather furniture and various chairs and sofas. There is also a large fireplace. Opposite the front desk is the morning refreshment station and the entrance to the outdoor bar, patio and pool area (you need to hi-five the fireplace to open the door – cute!).
Walking on the hard wood floors and past the simple but stylish décor, I made my way to the elevators (the gym is not far from the elevators on the ground floor) to go to the 9th floor. The hotel has eleven floors with the top floor housing the restaurant, Cusp, which has a fantastic ocean view.
When the elevators opened, I was surprised that I was outside again. I hadn’t realized that this hotel wasn’t fully enclosed – it definitely reminded me of the shore motels of my youth. Having welcomed the air conditioning of the lobby, I was now back in the heat on the way to my room.
Standard King Oceanview Room
Opening the door, I was enveloped by the air conditioning as I noticed the litter box on the floor and the bottle of wine with food tray on the table. Kimpton really does take care of its guests – human and pet.
The room was a generous size with a king sized bed, a cluster of decorative lights in the corner and a long counter with a flat screen, minibar and drawers. With a leather chair and ottoman, the space felt very inviting. The small balcony had two chairs to sit outside and look at the view. I had a lovely view of the palm trees and the ocean in the distance (as well as the gas station, Starbucks and Subway on the corner of the busy road).
The minibar was very Kimpton and my friend Fred (the water bottle) was there. Since I’m a Kimpton Karma member, I’m allowed a $10 Raid the Minibar credit and I usually spend my money on Fred.
The large closet had the signature Kimpton robes and yoga mat as well as an iron, safe and luggage rack.
Just like the EPIC hotel in Miami, the La Jolla Hotel had an open view bathroom space, this time from the shower. You can control the curtain from inside the bathroom if you don’t want your roommate to get the full Monty view. Standard C.B. Bigelow toiletries. Plush towels, the hairdryer and other toiletries were all nicely arranged on the shelving next to the sink. Now I did have the “only Sue” issue with the toilet flushing, it took two days to figure out the right handle technique (I’m always a bit daft on toilets) when I realized the handle was slightly broken which was causing my issues.
I visited Cusp Restaurant once for breakfast and had a window view. Surprisingly, the breakfast of two eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast was a reasonable $13. I wanted the special pancakes but they add ricotta cheese to them and I need to avoid cheese. The service was quick and friendly offering a few directions and suggestions on what to do after breakfast (go to the beach).
As I was leaving Cusp, I chatted with the hostess, Kat, who recommended a few entrees on the dinner menu if I was returning later as it was San Diego restaurant week (on a Saturday!?). I asked about where to find cookies (no surprise here) and she knew where but had forgotten the name.
No worries, I said, I’m sure I’ll find it. By the time I rode the elevator down two floors and got to my room, Kat had called my mobile and left a message with the name of the shop, The Cheese Shop! She also was ringing my room and when I answered she told me that The Cheese Shop has great sandwiches and are known for their oatmeal cookies.
When I arrived in my room, I called the front desk to request a toothbrush and toothpaste and asked that the litter box be removed as well as the cheese plate (I’m lactose intolerant so only ate the bread). A member of housekeeping was knocking within ten minutes.
One downside was that on Sunday, housekeeping didn’t arrive until near 5 p.m. I had declined housekeeping on Saturday so when she tried to get in the room (no knock), I asked that we just exchange towels.
While I wasn’t in Philly, I was still able to watch the Pope mass on television before meeting friends for dinner. My plan was to order room service and enjoy on the balcony before the event. However, my plans were thwarted when I realized they don’t do lunch room service (breakfast & dinner only)! Luckily, the hotel is next to both a Subway and a Starbucks. I quickly ran downstairs and through the hedge to get my lunch and snacks.
I had emailed ahead of time stating that I would be arriving late. During my stay the front desk provided great recommendations for food in the area, I would dine each day at Storehouse Kitchen. Once for lunch and twice for breakfast (separate review to follow). The front desk also provided a map and explained the options near the hotel as well as the shuttle information.
The Pool/Bar/Patio Area
After my stroll to the beach and procuring the cookies after talking with the shop’s owner, I relaxed at the patio bar before it was set to open for a special event – a Whiskey Tasting. Using the quick Wi-Fi, I enjoyed the slight breeze, the quiet and caught up on social media.
The pool had three couples and one child lounging and swimming and I had to laugh when I heard they were all from Philly escaping Pope Weekend but didn’t know each other. The pool is a nice size with lots of towels, lounge chairs and even a disabled lift to access the water.
At night the outdoor bar area was full with guests and locals enjoying the music and toasting s’mores! As I was busy each night, I only got to see the action as I was coming back to the hotel after dinner.
The Hotel La Jolla by Kimpton is a lovely property not far from San Diego. The beach is a ten minute walk down the shore line streets filled with a plethora of cafes and bars. There were many families on the beach, tons of kayakers and sun worshippers of all ages. Sadly, the kayak tours were all sold out during my visit so I will need to go back and when I do I’ll stay here again. Maybe next time, I’ll borrow a cat.
For my stay, I redeemed an “award night certificate” from my Kimpton Karma loyalty account and paid $227 + tax for each night as part of a guarantee rate match.