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A Jewel Amplified


A Jewel Amplified

La Jolla’s institutions & newcomers enhance the seaside sanctuary

Posted on May 1, 2018

A handful of renovations and expansions are taking place in The Jewel to further augment this treasured destination for residents and visitors alike. They include both private and public spaces that add sparkle to La Jolla.

Muse La Jolla

Muse La Jolla is an exclusive new luxury residential development located on Prospect Street. The four-story concrete building was originally conceptualized and designed in the 1960s by famed architects Ladd & Kelsey, known for notable modernist projects including what is now the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and the California Institute for the Arts in Valencia. Real estate developer Hammer Ventures recognized this iconic building perched on La Jolla’s famous coastline as a rare opportunity. Following two years of extensive renovation and restoration, the property now boasts 16 ultra-luxurious residences that take full advantage of the site’s views of the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla Village. Penthouse units offer private rooftop terraces, while first-floor units include private ocean-view patios with 1,000 square-feet of additional living space.

Top-of-the-line designer finishes abound throughout each home, including modern acrylic kitchen cabinetry by Italian design studio Pininfarina, kitchen walls of bookmatched Taj Mahal granite, alpine white quartz slab countertops, Miele appliances, temperature-controlled walk-in wine rooms, and designer fixtures by Gessi. 

The homes feature wide-open and airy floor plans with large gallery walls and expansive stacking slider window walls for panoramic views of the ocean, Mount Soledad, and the village. “Muse La Jolla offers buyers a rare opportunity to live in the very epicenter of one of the West Coast’s most prestigious coastal communities, steps from world-class dining, shopping, surfing, and more,” says Jon Hammer, president of Hammer Ventures. muselajolla.com 

La Valencia Hotel & Spa

A hospitality classic since 1926, La Valencia Hotel is undergoing several transformations this year, including the addition of “& Spa” to its name, reflecting the historic ocean-facing bungalow that will soon debut as a 3,500-square-foot sensory experience spa and garden. The hotel has appointed Dana Stallings, a spa industry veteran and 14-year owner of the award-winning Spa Velia downtown, as Director of Spa for the new Spa La V, slated to open at the end of June/early July.

“I am incredibly honored, thrilled, and humbled to be spearheading Spa La V,” says Stallings. “To have the opportunity to bring my expertise, insight, and enthusiasm to La Jolla is a dream come true. Having worked alongside [La V’s managing director] Mark Dibella on previous projects such as the US Grant Hotel, and knowing that we share the same vision for Spa La V, it’s a rewarding and serendipitous opportunity that I could not pass up!”

Stallings says guests can expect uplifting organic Mediterranean essential oils of neroli, lemon, and mandarin infused with hand-harvested marine, precious gemstone (in a nod to “The Jewel” that is La Jolla), and mineral-inspired treatments. “I’m particularly excited about our sun-dappled deck, which will overlook a garden of regionally inspired native plants, making it a perfect place to unwind and reflect while listening to the nearby crashing waves, swaying palms trees, and local wildlife.”   

Jewel Amplified
Mark Dibella and Dana Stallings

La Valencia is partnering with nearby Muse La Jolla on an exclusive membership program. “A goal, as expressed from locals when I arrived six years ago, was the opportunity for guests to enjoy special benefits and privileges at La Valencia,” says Dibella. “The Muse is the ideal partner, and the developers have worked closely with us so that its residents can enjoy La Valencia’s exceptional resort amenities including our spectacular pool, fitness center, and now, Spa La V.”

Beyond its anticipated new spa, La Valencia is also introducing two new special event venues. The first is its premier boardroom, The Ballenero, Spanish for “whaling,” which overlooks the wedding garden, pool, and ocean. “The focal point of the Ballenero is the original 1947 Wing Howard mural, The Whale’s Last Stand,” explains Dibella. “This 26-foot-wide work was painted on the plaster wall of the Whaling Bar and held court in the famous watering hole for decades.” It has now been re-installed in the Ballenero, along with oak book cases that house many of the antique tomes from another former room, the Library. The state-of-the-art boardroom includes an 80-inch plasma monitor and built-in IT access. 

La V’s new private wine room, The Vendimia, features a wall of glass housing La Valencia’s premier wine collection. “Cobalt blue walls and oak trim are a dramatic envelope to this artful room with seating for 14 complemented by endless ocean views and the northern coastline,” says Dibella.

La Valencia is also upping the ante on its accommodations. Despite the fact that between 2012 and 2014 the property fully renovated all 114 rooms, the team decided it was time to craft a décor package that’s more in keeping with the hotel’s renowned legacy of “Hollywood Glamour on the California Riviera.” By next month, the Classic and Villa guestroom categories (60 total) will take on a decidedly vintage Hollywood theme blended with international flair. lavalencia.com

The Conrad

As we first reported two years ago, La Jolla Music Society is working on the development of its future permanent home, The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, known as The Conrad. Set to debut in early 2019, The Conrad will serve as hub for cultural, arts education, and community event activity, bringing world-class performances to La Jolla. Located on Fay Avenue, The Conrad will include a 500-seat concert hall, a 2,000-square-foot performance space, a meeting/reception room, large central courtyard, and new offices for La Jolla Music Society. It will also be available to rent for special events, making the venue an ideal community partner. theconrad.org

Jewel Amplified
Rendering of The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center


The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has engaged Selldorf Architects to develop an expansion and renovation of the museum’s La Jolla facility that will significantly increase gallery space, create a more welcoming entry, and enhance the museum’s connection to its idyllic coastal setting.

Jewel Amplified
Rendering of the future MCASD La Jolla

By increasing current gallery space from 10,000 square-feet to 40,000 square-feet, MCASD will be able to display more works from its world-renowned, 4,700-piece permanent collection while simultaneously showcasing its changing exhibitions. New construction on two levels will form a sequence of galleries that offer a wide range of volume and character, with soaring ceilings and intimate niches. A lattice ceiling structure will incorporate skylights, providing diffused lighting, and vertical windows will welcome natural light and coastal views into the museum. A large, flexible, multipurpose gallery on the lower level will provide capacity for public programs, artist talks, performance art, music, and other educational activities. The existing parking lot on the north end will be transformed into a public park, and new terraces will offer dramatic views of the Pacific Coast from two levels. MCASD La Jolla is breaking ground in the fall and anticipates two years of construction. mcasd.org    Mia S. Park

Family Art Workshops at Westfield UTC

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego invites children and families to take part in Sculpture Frenzy! on Saturday, July 14, from 2-4pm, at Westfield UTC in La Jolla. Activities will center around three bronze sculptures slated to be installed in the mall’s courtyard this summer. The works, part of the MCASD collection, include The Twin’s Father by Italian-born artist Sandro Chia, Eden by American sculptor Judith Shea, and Juchiteca de Pie by Francisco Zuñiga, a Costa Rican and Mexican artist. 

Gallery educators will answer questions and facilitate conversations about the artists and their work, and families will have the opportunity to make their own sculptures using glue guns, fabric, wire, aluminum foil, and recycled household objects.

The workshop is part of MCASD’s Family ArtLAB, a program created in 2011 to make art more accessible to children and families, and to nurture future generations of museum-goers. 

Sculpture Frenzy! marks the beginning of a partnership between MCASD and Westfield UTC. Beginning this month, ArtLAB events will take place every other month at the La Jolla mall. “This will enable us to bring Family ArtLAB to a wider audience, and to stay connected to our La Jolla community and North County audiences,” says Cris Scorza, Director of Education and Engagement at MCASD. Sculpture Frenzy! is free and recommended for families with children ages five and older. mcasd.org/events   Triveni Sheshadri

Jewel Amplified
Juchiteca de Pie, Francisco Zuñiga


Mark Dibella and Dana Stallings: Photo by Vincent Knakal; Francisco Zuñiga, Juchiteca de pie, 1966, Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Gift of Kathryn S. Colachis


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