We couldn't find that.
Let's go back home and try again.

The S.D. hotel scene achieves new star status

Check in to experience these makeovers that are high-design and historically sublime

Image Credits The Whaling Bar: Photography by James Tran; Lou Lous at The Lafayette Hotel: Photography by Kimberly Motos, Historic Lafayette Hotel Photos: Courtesy, All other photography of The Lafayette Hotel by Matt Kisiday; All other photography: Courtesy

Sigh. The Whaling Bar at La Valencia Hotel has retained its icon status. It’s thanks to the long-awaited revival by LA’s award-winning Schoos Design in partnership with SDCM

“We felt trying to rebuild the past was a fool’s errand and decided to bring back the ‘feel’ and vibe of the old Whaling Bar,” said SDCM Owner and Operator Matt Spencer.

Mission accomplished. The intimate bar and restaurant oozes with new-world glamour. On a recent night, guests sipped Pink Royales in the down-filled emerald booths flanked by the beloved 1940s mural, The Whale’s Last Stand.

The bar first opened in 1949, playing host to notable regulars, including Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), novelist Raymond Chandler, and Gregory Peck, founder of the La Jolla Playhouse. 

Schoos has created some of the most talked-about hospitality venues worldwide, from Tao Las Vegas to the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica. Locally, the firm designed Puesto and Bottega Americano. 

There’s a mini-martini happy hour, and Chef Brian Redzikowski offers a take on “Liver and Onions,” as well as some of his career greatest hits, including the trademark Twinkie-style “croutons.” The Whaling Bar is open daily from 11-3pm for lunch, 3-5pm for happy hour, and 5-10pm for dinner. Reservations encouraged.

Hotel La Jolla

One of the best views in La Jolla is back. And dare we say better. Sea & Sky, the new penthouse restaurant and bar atop the Hotel La Jolla’s 11th floor, will feature retractable windows when it reopens this month. 

The multi-million-dollar concept from Curio Collection by Hilton is designed by the formidable Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA). The renovation also includes 110 guestrooms and suites and 1,600 square feet of meeting and event space. 

New guest rooms and king suites feature stylish wallcoverings and high-end furnishings, upgraded bathrooms, and modern outdoor furniture for soaking up the views. At Sea & Sky, expect a dreamy, beachy palette of muted blues and light wood accents while a marble top sea glass bar will be the ultimate perch for sunset  viewing.  

HBA is behind a global coterie of projects including Harrods Private Members Club in China, Waldorf Astoria in Doha, Jim Thompson Restaurant in Bangkok, Four Seasons Singapore, and locally, Beach Village at The Del.

The Lafayette Hotel

The Lafayette Hotel has been inducted into Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s in good company with La V, Hotel Del, Rancho Bernado Inn, and La Costa Resort. 

The painstaking and persnickety $31 million renovation was led by Arsalun Tafazoli’s CH Projects. The team breathed new life — and reams of fringe — into this 139-room motel on El Cajon Boulevard. In addition, there’s a dizzying seven (count them!) F&B concepts including a subterranean bowling alley and late-night supper club.  

Built in 1946, the San Diego landmark first changed hands with Conrad Hilton and was maintained with varying degrees of effort and investment over the years. In 2021, CH Projects stepped in as stewards of the historic Lafayette Hotel and Club with the vision to bolster the funky roadside motel beyond its fleeting Hollywood heyday. 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *