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La Jolla is a fabulous place to base a San Diego vacation or enjoy a staycation if you live in the area. We book into some of the best La Jolla hotels on this list occasionally, just for fun.

One of the most frequently asked questions by readers is where to stay in La Jolla. The answer isn’t always straightforward because things to do in La Jolla are spread across several neighborhoods.

The answer depends on the type of vacation you’d like to have. Do you have kids with you? Are water sports important? Do you want to get away from it all or be within walking distance to San Diego’s best restaurants and shopping? Are you looking for luxury or cheap?

My insight into each La Jolla hotel will help you make this decision. If you book hotels through the links below, I may be compensated. Note that some services mentioned below may be temporarily modified.

Tips for Booking La Jolla Hotels

Hotels in La Jolla, CA are located in basically three neighborhoods: the Village of La Jolla, La Jolla Shores, and Torrey Pines/UCSD.

The neighborhood you choose matters. For example, La Jolla Shores (quieter, with a glorious, huge beach) is not really walkable to the Village of La Jolla (our downtown district). You’ll also need to drive downhill from Torrey Pines/University of California San Diego to both the Village and La Jolla Shores. There are certainly benefits to staying in each neighborhood and bouncing between them really isn’t difficult especially if your hotel offers a shuttle.

La Jolla hotels often price at a premium to other San Diego hotels because the location is so, so desirable (for good reason). That being said, La Jolla hotels don’t always break the bank.

Many hotels in the UTC or Aventine area right off of the I-5 freeway classify themselves as being La Jolla hotels. (The Village of La Jolla is about 15 minutes from the central I-5 freeway. ) While they are SO CLOSE and located on La Jolla Village Drive, they are not inside of the La Jolla zip code. Therefore, I haven’t included any here.

1. The Lodge at Torrey Pines (Top Pick)

Location: Torrey Pines/UCSD
Hotel class: Luxury

Why go: You want an intimate, highly-rated, five-star boutique hotel right next to Torrey Pines Golf Course. Built in California craftsman style, The Lodge at Torrey Pines boasts ocean views and is known for excellent service from hotel staff throughout the property.

It’s often mentioned in national publications as a top choice in California and it is the best choice for luxury hotels in La Jolla. It’s also very easy to walk from the hotel to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for a little hiking and I adore its fine dining restaurant, A.R. Valentien.

See also: The Lodge at Torrey Pines Review

Hotel amenities:

  • Excellent dining throughout
  • Full-service spa
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course (Golf Services can secure tee times)
  • Heated outdoor pool (that plays underwater music) and hot tub
  • Weekend yoga classes and croquet
  • Spacious guest rooms range in size from 500 square feet to 650 square feet
  • Luxury suites up to 2500 square feet
  • Egyptian cotton linen and quilted duvets
  • Suites with fireplaces and balconies available
  • Keurig coffee brewers with complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary shoeshine service
  • DIRECTV
  • Children’s menus at all restaurants
  • Outstanding customer service

Good to know: This La Jolla hotel is adjacent to the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course and there are privileges that come with that including an awesome Golf Services team. They can secure hard-to-get tee times at Torrey Pines Golf Course but also at members-only Del Mar Country Club and Aviara Golf Club. Fees are not marked up and billed back to your room.

The spa is not huge but it’s very, very good (I go for massages there sometimes). Again, some people regard The Lodge at Torrey Pines as the West’s best hotel, and once you check-in, you’ll see why. Even the photos on the hotel website don’t do it justice — you need to see it in person. It’s also one of La Jolla’s pet-friendly hotels. It’s a top choice for where to stay in La Jolla near the University of California San Diego.

Awards: AAA Five Diamonds, Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Award

Reservations: The Virtuoso rate includes some extra benefits such as free breakfast for two, a $100 spa credit, an upgrade at check-in subject to availability, and often a discount off of published rates. However, you must create a Virtuoso account and login to see the discount.

*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” in the footer to access rates and booking.


2. La Valencia Hotel

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Luxury

Why go: La Valencia is a luxury boutique hotel on Prospect Street set above La Jolla Cove. Built in 1926, “The Pink Lady” is within walking distance to best La Jolla shopping and La Jolla restaurants. Some rooms and villas have ocean views, but you’ll see the Pacific Ocean from the pool and lobby, too.

It’s the spot well-heeled travelers who don’t care about being directly on the sand (though it’s right across the street) and want a more urban experience will likely enjoy most.

See also: La Valencia Hotel and Spa in La Jolla Review

Hotel amenities:

  • 24-Hour in-room dining
  • Luxurious European bath amenities
  • Cafe La Rue: Modern European cuisine, hand-crafted cocktails, and premium libations
  • 4 Room types: Vintage, Classic, Villas & Icon
  • La Sala Lounge with live music, libations, and tapas
  • Oceanview saltwater pool (heated) and spa with poolside service
  • Complimentary shoeshine
  • Complimentary high speed and wireless internet
  • 300-count imported bed linens
  • Keurig coffee makers
  • Les Clefs d’Or Concierge service

Good to know: This La Jolla Cove hotel allows small pets. It’s an old hotel so pay attention to room size as some like the Vintage Kings are quite small. Weekend brunch at The MED restaurant is one of the most popular brunches in San Diego (I love lunch there, too). The hotel is valet parking only.

The villas are in a quieter section of the hotel that is closer to the ocean. If you can’t splurge on the Icon Suites, the next best accommodations are the Villa King Ocean Rooms and Villa King Ocean Suites.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, AAA Four Diamonds


3. Grande Colonial Hotel

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: The oldest of hotels in La Jolla, the Grande Colonial Hotel was built in 1913 and is still glamorous. Rates can be a good value considering its prime address on Prospect Street, the main shopping and restaurant district in La Jolla (a few blocks south of La Valencia).

It’s just a short uphill walk from the Children’s Pool where our famous La Jolla seals are (one of the best things to do in La Jolla with kids) and home to one of my favorite restaurants in town, NINE-TEN (also considered among the best San Diego restaurants).

Hotel amenities:

  • Award-winning fine dining restaurant, NINE-TEN
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Heated swimming pool
  • In-room massage, spa, and wellness services
  • Complimentary high-speed wired and wireless internet access
  • Dry cleaning services
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • PressReader news service
  • HD TVs with full HD channel lineup including HBO
  • Keurig single-serve coffee makers
  • Complimentary in-room bottled water
  • Goose down comforters and Serta iComfort Eurotop mattresses
  • Complimentary daily passes to La Jolla Sports Club (a few blocks away)

Good to know: The hotel focuses on Green Initiatives and received the Green Eco-Leaf Rating from iStayGreen. The outdoor pool is a bit small. NINE-TEN has a half-priced bottle of wine nights on Wednesday and supplies the room service menu (get the half-baked chocolate cake).

My daughter and I stayed overnight at Grande Colonial several years ago and I’ve been meaning to check-in again. We’ve used the facilities and visited friends there. My Grande Colonial review has some updated information about what it’s like to stay in La Jolla here. And, it’s also one of the haunted hotels in San Diego.

Awards: Eco Green-Leaf Rating for On-Site Conservation Efforts, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, AAA Four Diamonds, Booking.com Award of Excellence


4. Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Location: Torrey Pines/UCSD
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: If you like the feel of a mid-sized resort with a full-service spa, gorgeous landscaping, and good food, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa is for you. It has a hacienda-style which means buildings are no more than two stories tall and the 210 rooms are scattered throughout the property (though not far from each other).

It’s a good place to unwind because it’s very quiet. I dare you not to take a picture of the stunning native plants. This is the perfect location for parents who are visiting students at the University of California San Diego as the campus is across the street. It’s among the closest hotels to UCSD.

Hotel amenities:

  • Heated saltwater pool and whirlpool
  • Full-service spa offering massage, facial, nail, and body treatments
  • Poolside cabanas and lounge chairs
  • Botanical tours
  • Keurig single-serve coffee makers
  • Mini fridge
  • 37” HD flat-screen television
  • Wired and ultra-fast wireless internet for unlimited devices
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Pet-friendly accommodations and accessories
  • Complimentary shuttle service to sightseeing, Birch Aquarium, dining, and other points of interest within 5 miles

Good to know: I’ve been to this La Jolla hotel probably the most out of any on this list as we residents go there for events, meetings, dining and to visit hotel guests here. Mustang & Burros is not huge but among our favorite outdoor patios in town and they make a great organic margarita. This resort is a little isolated so you will need a car or to utilize the shuttle to head into the La Jolla Village, Village of La Jolla, or elsewhere in town.

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds


5. Pantai Inn

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: You need space, a kitchen, and Pacific Ocean views. Pantai Inn is a small Balinese-inspired property (custom furnishings and art are from Bali) that is also within walking distance to shops and restaurants on Prospect Street and in the Village.

Accommodation choices include either suites or cottages which means that more like a home away from home. Each has separate living rooms, full kitchens, and dining areas. It’s located across the street from the ocean on Coast Blvd, in between the Children’s Pool and La Jolla Cove.

Hotel amenities:

  • Tranquil ocean view courtyard
  • Outdoor fire pit and seating area
  • In-room spa treatments
  • Complimentary continental breakfast each morning
  • Complimentary self-parking
  • Multiple stays and activity packages available
  • One-, two-, and three-bedroom suites or cottages available
  • Wireless Internet access throughout the property
  • Finest coffee and teas served through the afternoon and evening

Good to know: I’d recommend an ocean view cottage or suite as the view here is truly spectacular. The boardwalk below can get busy but it’s great for walks past my favorite spots in La Jolla. As there is no big sandy beach directly in front of Pantai Inn, La Jolla Cove is likely where you’d go for a quick swim (a scenic 5-10 minute walk).

There is no pool or onsite restaurant. If you are used to larger, full-service hotels this may not be a good choice for you which is why you may see it on lists of luxury hotels in La Jolla but I classify it as moderate. They are very well-known for excellent customer service.

Awards: Currently ranked as the top La Jolla hotel according to TripAdvisor guest reviews.


6. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Location: La Jolla Shores
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: You need a La Jolla beach hotel with space for an extended stay or multigenerational trip. It’s part of an exclusive private club which means that La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club overnight guests have access to amazing tennis courts, a pitch and put golf course, and more. It’s the kind of place where generations return every year for a family holiday because right here is one of San Diego’s best beaches.

Hotel amenities:

  • One-, two- or three-bedroom suites complete with living room and full kitchen available (some are beachfront)
  • Complimentary Club privileges with access to all resort activities
  • No resort fee
  • Private beach
  • 12 Championship tennis courts with complimentary tennis matching service and unlimited court time
  • Access to 3 beachfront restaurants
  • Par-3, nine-hole golf course, putting practice greens and driving nets
  • Bocce ball court and ping pong tables
  • Heated pool
  • Children’s playground
  • Fitness center
  • Massage service
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Flatscreen TV with over 60 channels, including HBO
  • Coffee-maker with Starbucks® coffee and tea
  • In-room gifts or amenities available
  • Fine dining at The Marine Room restaurant onsite
  • Free self-parking

Good to know: This La Jolla beach hotel books up quickly during the summer so advanced trip planning is necessary. The buildings feel a bit dated on the exterior, but the rooms have been refreshed and it’s an excellent place to stay in La Jolla, CA for a big family beach vacation or an extended holiday.

Awards: America’s Top 50 Tennis Resorts by Tennis Magazine, a Gold Medal Resort by TennisResortsOnline and Best Recreation Club by the California Restaurants Association, San Diego Chapter, Family-Owned & Closely-Held Business Award by the San Diego Business Journal, and Workplace Excellence Award by Peter Barron Stark Companies.

See also: La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club Review


7. La Jolla Shores Hotel

Location: La Jolla Shores
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: You want one of the La Jolla beach hotels that won’t bust your budget. I have stayed at La Jolla Shores Hotel before and you can book a room sometimes for below $250 which is a steal. There’s nothing like falling asleep amid Pacific Ocean breezes.

My daughter loves staying here because you can run back and forth from the sand to your room (ours had a kitchenette which was handy) for this and that. If you want to have a San Diego vacation centered around beach activities, meaning long days on the sand or in the water, consider this a good option for where to stay in La Jolla.

Hotel amenities:

  • BBQs on the beach
  • Rooms with kitchenettes, beachfront accommodations, scenic coastal views available, and rooms with up to 780 square feet available
  • Connecting rooms available
  • Complimentary courtesy shuttle service within the local La Jolla area that includes the Village and Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Free courtesy set up and use of beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels
  • Complimentary wireless (WiFi) Internet access throughout the hotel
  • Heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi
  • Private tennis courts with lessons and clinics available
  • Complimentary in-house fitness center
  • The Shores Restaurant with its beach views
  • Complimentary crib and rollaway bed
  • In-room massage service

Good to know: The swimming pool isn’t huge. The rooms are not fancy but they are comfortable and have recently been refreshed. The awesome shops and restaurants on Avenida de la Playa are a short walk away including Piatti, the Cheese Shop, Shore Rider, Surf Diva, and more. The Kellogg Park (this area is often called La Jolla Shores Park) playground and big grassy area are also adjacent to the La Jolla beach hotel.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence


8. Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton

Location: La Jolla Shores
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: This hotel is a boutique Curio Collection by Hilton property and a good option for San Diego hotels near La Jolla Shores Park. CUSP Restaurant, located on the top floor, has one of the best views in San Diego in addition to great food.

Most of the rooms have views and there’s also a small swimming pool. It’s a good option if you want a nice place to stay without paying beachfront pricing in this neighborhood.

Hotel amenities:

  • 42-inch TV in rooms
  • Coffeemaker
  • Suites with a living area, sofa, and gorgeous Pacific Ocean vistas from three balconies.
  • Outdoor patio and pool area
  • Fitness center
  • Lounge and bar area at the pool and upstairs at CUSP Restaurant
  • Rooms and suites available
  • Bicycles available for guest use

Good to know: Hotel La Jolla is located at the crossroads of a busy intersection (which also provides easy freeway access to other sights like San Diego Zoo, Pacific Beach, Downtown, and elsewhere) but we didn’t hear traffic noise from our ocean view room. It is a more wallet-friendly choice for those who are willing to walk 5 minutes to the La Jolla Shores restaurants and 10 minutes total to the beach.

Reservations: Hilton has a best price guarantee so, between that and the Hilton Honors discounts, I believe booking direct is your best bet.


9. Empress Hotel

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Moderate/Budget

Why go: The Empress Hotel is located in the heart of Downtown La Jolla. While there is no ocean view, it’s conveniently located to almost everything and excellent value for money. A free breakfast (Continental) and free WiFi are included in your rate. I thought our room was comfortable with luxury linens, a microwave, and more.

Since I live on Mt. Soledad and can’t walk to the Village, I loved staying here and walking everywhere with the dog (La Jolla is a pretty pet-friendly place). It’s the only pet-friendly La Jolla hotel for big dogs like mine.

Hotel amenities:

  • Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast each morning
  • Fitness center
  • On-site Manhattan restaurant, bar, and lounge (a great place to eat)
  • Jacuzzi suites
  • In-room massage services
  • Plush beds and luxury linens
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • 37″ flat-screen televisions with premium channels
  • Microwave and a personal refrigerator
  • Superior Spa Suites available
  • Gourmet coffee/tea maker
  • Pay per view movies

Good to know: This is a nice property at usually great prices. The only option for parking is valet. La Jolla is busy during peak season so this is actually a benefit versus fighting for street parking. They do not have a pool. If you’re sensitive to street noise, bring earplugs and request a quiet room.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

See also: Empress Hotel La Jolla Review


10. Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

Location: Torrey Pines/UCSD
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: Do you have a ton of Hilton Honors points and like big hotels (394 rooms)? This is your place. Adjacent to the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, this grand hotel can command a fairly reasonable price and good value for the location.

Hotel amenities:

  • Guest rooms and suites available
  • 42-inch flat-screen TVs
  • Exclusive bath products
  • Suites ranging from 500 to 2500 square feet
  • Children’s activities and menu
  • Electric car charging station
  • Foreign currency exchange
  • Guest activity/recreation desk
  • Fitness room
  • Pool
  • Sundeck
  • Tennis court
  • Onsite convenience store
  • Bar area
  • Golf stay and play packages available
  • Guests benefit from guaranteed tee times every day at the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course
  • Four on-site dining venues including Torreyana Grille featuring American and Pacific Rim cuisine

Good to know: If you are not a Hilton Honors member, join before booking this Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. They guarantee the lowest price available on their website. Cribs, high chairs, and playpens are available. People who are comfortable staying in Hiltons will like it but others may find it too corporate for a leisure trip.

Reservations: Hilton has a best price guarantee so between that and Hilton Honors rate discounts, I believe direct is your best bet.


11. Scripps Inn La Jolla

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Moderate

Why go: You’re looking for a quiet boutique hotel. Scripps Inn La Jolla is tucked into a more residential part of the Village, across the street from Cuvier Park (Whale Watch Point) which is south of both La Jolla Cove and the Children’s Pool La Jolla beach but north of Windansea Beach. Each of the 14 accommodations is unique and may come with a fireplace, kitchenette, or even two bedrooms.

Hotel amenities:

  • Outdoor balconies or lanais
  • Flat-screen TVs
  • Keurig coffee makers
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Onsite self-parking (a reasonable $18/night fee applies)
  • Partial or full ocean views from rooms and suites

Good to know: There no onsite restaurant but there are plenty of places to eat in all price ranges within walking distance. It’s also known for its excellent service by hotel staff. It’s also a part of the JC Resorts collection of properties.


12. La Jolla Cove Suites

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Budget (for the prime La Jolla Cove location)

Why go: You want the premier location on La Jolla’s Prospect Street in a moderate price range. La Jolla Cove is just a few steps away as are our fabulous, popular restaurants. This La Jolla hotel also has spacious 2-bedroom vacation rentals with kitchenettes and living areas.

Rooms have been refreshed (thanks to an appearance on Hotel Impossible) but the property does get incredibly mixed reviews despite the upgrades, so please keep this in mind prior to booking.

Hotel amenities:

  • Many rooms include oceanfront balconies, fully-equipped kitchens, and separate living areas
  • Rooms range from 350 square feet to 1,000 square feet
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Daily continental breakfast on the gorgeous rooftop patio
  • Spacious, fully-equipped vacation rentals available
  • Saltwater pool and Jacuzzi with 2 pool tables, fire pits, and twinkle lights
  • Spacious rooftop deck with panoramic coastline views
  • Grab-n-go lobby snack bar including sodas, waters, beer, chips, fruit bowls, and other snacks
  • On-site bike rentals
  • Free DVD rentals
  • Rooftop ping pong

Good to know: The largest guest rooms and suites can accommodate up to 6 adults.


13. La Jolla Riviera Inn


Location: La Jolla Shores
Hotel class: Budget

Why go: You want to stay in the La Jolla Shores area but are looking for no-frills, moderate prices, and great reviews. It’s steps away from La Jolla Shores Beach, my favorite in all of San Diego for water sports, sunbathing, and more. La Jolla Riviera Inn is in more of a residential spot, but if you’re looking for cheap hotels in La Jolla, it can work.

Hotel amenities:

  • Kitchenette
  • Flat-panel TVs
  • Year-round heated pool
  • One- and two-bedroom rooms

Good to know: Extended stay options are available. It is easy to walk from here to restaurants as well as many shops and restaurants in the La Jolla Shores area.


14. Inn by the Sea

Location: Village of La Jolla
Hotel class: Budget

Why go: You’d like a more wallet-friendly hotel in the heart of the Village of La Jolla. Some rooms have water views and the beach is a few blocks away. Every room has either a patio or a balcony.

Hotel amenities:

  • Oceanview rooms
  • Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access
  • Patio or balcony
  • Over 100 HD television channels
  • Two complimentary bottles of water each day
  • Coffeemaker featuring Seattle’s Best® Coffee
  • Refrigerator
  • Cribs available upon request
  • Outdoor heated pool
  • Business center with computer and printer
  • New pillow-top beds

Good to know: This hotel used to be a Best Western. There are no breakfast facilities here, but there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence


15. The Shoal La Jolla Beach

Location: Windansea (south of the Village)

Why Go: The Shoal La Jolla Beach, formerly La Jolla Travelodge, has renovated its rooms. It now feels more like a nice little beach boutique hotel, which is more appropriate given its location about 300 yards from Windansea Beach. The beach here is more of a locals-only place without so many tourists but it is a very popular bodysurfing and surfing spot (for those with experience).

Hotel amenities:

  • Heated pool and hot tub
  • Free parking
  • All rooms have a fridge, a microwave, and K-Cup coffee makers
  • Complimentary cribs
  • Free WiFi
  • Complimentary beach towels in the office

Good to know: Only double queen rooms have bathtubs. They do not have rollaway beds.

What are your favorite La Jolla hotels?

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3 thoughts on “15 Best La Jolla Hotels For Your San Diego Vacation

  1. I thought the La Jolla Shores was an icredible place to visit. It was nice waking up and seeing the ocean so close. All of the staff where super friendly, nice and very welcoming. Although they don’t have free breakfast like other hotels you’re just a short walk away from great breakfast, lunch and dinner places. And you are also just a short walk away from countless places to rent water activities. The hotel itself was outstanding. Our room was very clean, as well as the hotel. I highly recommend staying at this hotel!

  2. I’m coming to La Jolla for the first time Oct26-29. We love to swim but arnt sure if that time of year warrants finding a hotel with a pool.

    Any Advice?

    P.S. LOVE your website!!!
    Dana

    1. Hi Dana. It *should* still be warm enough to swim from late morning – late afternoon. There will start to be a chill in the air say from 4pm onward. Sometimes we have heat waves in October and sometimes it’s chilly but usually it’s still nice outside! I would say find a hotel you like – it probably has a pool anyway.

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