13 Best La Jolla Hotels for Your San Diego Vacation

From luxury to budget here's where to base yourself in San Diego's jewel

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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 even book into some of the 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. It depends on the type of vacation you’d like to have. Do you have kids with you? Are water sports important (La Jolla offers a surprising amount for all ages)? Do you want to get away from it all or be within walking distance to San Diego’s best restaurants and shopping?

I hope that my insight into each La Jolla hotel will help you make this decision.

Tips for Booking La Jolla Hotels

La Jolla hotels are located in basically three neighborhoods: the Village, 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 walkable to the Village (our central district). You’ll also need to drive from Torrey Pines/UC San Diego to both the Village and La Jolla Shores. Some hotels offer shuttles to make getting from La Jolla neighborhood to another easier. There are certainly benefits to staying in each neighborhood and bouncing between them really isn’t difficult.

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.

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

The Lodge at Torrey Pines (Top Pick)

Location: Torrey Pines/UCSD

Why go: You want an intimate, highly-rated, luxury 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. It’s often mentioned in national publications as a top choice in California. It’s also very easy to walk from the hotel to Torrey Pines State Park for a little hiking and I adore its restaurant, A.R. Valentien.

Hotel gmenities:

  • World-class dining
  • Full-service spa
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course (Concierge can secure tee times)
  • Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits
  • Heated pool and hot tub
  • Yoga classes and croquet
  • Generously sized 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 shoe shine service
  • DIRECTV
  • Children’s menus at all restaurants

Good to know: This La Jolla hotel overlooks the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course. The spa is not huge but it’s a very, very good one (I go for massages there sometimes). Again, some people regard The Lodge at Torrey Pines as the region’s best hotel.

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

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

Book the Virtuoso Rate

La Valencia Hotel

Location: Village

Why go: La Valencia is a luxury boutique hotel on Prospect Street set above La Jolla Cove. Built in 1926, “The Pink Lady” is considered the nicest hotel in the Village. Its prime location is within walking distance to best La Jolla shopping and La Jolla restaurants. Some room and villas have ocean views, but you’ll see the Pacific 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) will likely enjoy most.

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
  • Ocean view saltwater pool
  • Heated pool and spa
  • Complimentary shoe shine
  • 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 hotel allows small pets. It’s an old hotel so pay attention to room size as some are quite small. Weekend brunch at The MED restaurant is one of the most popular in San Diego (I love lunch there, too). Valet parking only. The villas are in a quieter section of the hotel. If one can’t splurge on the Icon suites, the next best accommodations are the Villa King Oceans and Villa King Ocean Suites.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, AAA Four Diamonds

Reservations (with exclusive amenities): I have access to Preferred Platinum amenities at La Valencia Hotel that include breakfast for two, a $75 room credit and more.

Send Me Your Dates

Grande Colonial Hotel

Location: Village

Why go: The oldest La Jolla hotel, the Grande Colonial Hotel was built in 1913 and is still glamorous. Rates can be good value considering its prime location 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 seals are and home to one of my favorite restaurants in town, NINE-TEN (also considered one of the best San Diego restaurants).

Hotel amenities:

  • Award-winning dining at 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
  • Heated pool and spa
  • 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

Good to know: The hotel focuses on Green Initiatives and received the Green Eco-Leaf Rating from iStayGreen. The 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 return. This review is old, but you can read it anyway.

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

Check Prices on Top Sites

Estancia La Jolla Resort and Spa

Location: Torrey Pines/UCSD

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 Resort and 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 plants. This is the perfect location for parents visiting UCSD as the campus is across the street.

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
  • Guest rooms and luxury suites available
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Complimentary shuttle service to any point 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 one of my 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.

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds

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Pantai Inn

Location: Village

Why go: You need space, a kitchen and ocean views. Pantai Inn is a small Balinese-inspired property (custom furnishings and art 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
  • 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 a walk along my very favorite spots in La Jolla. As there is no sandy beach 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.

Awards: Currently ranked as the top La Jolla hotel on TripAdvisor.

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Empress Hotel

 

Location: Village

Why go: The Empress Hotel is located in the heart of the La Jolla Village. While there is no ocean view, it’s conveniently located to almost everything and an excellent value for money. A continental breakfast and 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 to 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 personal refrigerator
  • Superior Spa Suites available
  • Gourmet coffee/tea maker
  • Pay per view movies

Good to know: This is a nice property at usually a great price. The only option for parking is valet (at the time of my stay, this was $18 for unlimited access). La Jolla is busy during peak season so this is actually a benefit versus fighting for street parking. They do not have a pool.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

See also: Empress Hotel Review

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La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Location: La Jolla Shores

Why go: You need a beachfront hotel and/or would prefer a beachfront 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:

  • Beachfront one, two or three bedroom suites complete with living room and full kitchen available
  • Complimentary Club privileges with access to all resort activities and 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
  • Flat screen TV with over 60 channels, including HBO
  • Coffee-maker with Starbucks® coffee and tea
  • In-room gifts or amenities available

Good to know: This La Jolla hotel books up quickly during the summer so advanced planning is necessary. The accommodations are a bit dated, but it’s one of the best places 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.

Reservations: This lately is my most booked La Jolla property and I’m very familiar with it so can help you pick the correct room if you like.

Send Me Your Dates

La Jolla Shores Hotel

Location: La Jolla Shores

Why go: You want to be right on one of San Diego’s best beaches without busting the budget. I have stayed at La Jolla Shores Hotel before and you can book a room for often times below $250 which is a steal. There’s nothing like falling asleep amid ocean breezes. My daughter absolutely 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, I highly recommend you consider this hotel.

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
  • Free courtesy set up and use of beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels
  • Complimentary wireless (WiFi) Internet access throughout the hotel
  • Heated outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna
  • Private tennis courts with lessons and clinics available
  • Watersport rentals
  • Complimentary in-house fitness center
  • 2 restaurants
  • Complimentary crib and rollaway bed
  • In-room massage service
  • In-room gifts or amenities available

Good to know: The swimming pool isn’t huge. The rooms are not fancy but they are comfortable. 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.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

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Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton

Location: La Jolla Shores

Why go: This hotel recently switched from Kimpton to Curio Collection by Hilton but it appears that many of the previous hipster elements (like complimentary bikes) are still intact. CUSP Restaurant, located on the top floor, has one of the best views in San Diego in addition to great food. The property has a contemporary look and probably the newest (refreshed) rooms in this part of town.

Hotel amenities:

  • 42-inch TV in rooms
  • Coffeemaker
  • Suites with a living area, sofa and gorgeous ocean views 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
  • Bicycle available for guest use

Good to know: The hotel is located at the crossroads of a busy intersection but you do not really hear any traffic noise. 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 HHonors discount, I believe direct is your best bet.

Book on Hilton

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

Location: Torrey Pines/UCSD

Why go: Have a ton of Hilton HHonors 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 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
  • The Spa at Torrey Pines (one of the best in town)
  • Golf stay and play packages available
  • Guests benefit from guaranteed tee times every day at the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Cours, steps from the hotel
  • Four on-site dining venues including Torreyana Grille featuring American and Pacific Rim cuisine

Good to know: If you are not a Hilton HHonors 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.

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

Book on Hilton

La Jolla Cove Suites

Location: Village

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 newly-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.

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.

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La Jolla Riviera Inn


Location: La Jolla Shores

Why go: You want to stay in the La Jolla Shores area but are looking for a no-frills, moderately-priced option. 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.

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.

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Best Western Plus Inn by the Sea

Location: Village

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

Hotel amenities:

  • Ocean view rooms
  • Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access
  • Patio or balcony
  • Over 100 television channels – all in High Definition!
  • 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: Again, this will be priced higher than your average Best Western but it is nicer and the location commands a premium. There are no breakfast facilities here but plenty within walking distance. Parking is $15.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

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La Jolla Beach Travelodge

Location: Windansea (south of the Village)

Why Go: If you’re looking for no-frills accommodation just steps from the beach and on the quieter side of La Jolla, try La Jolla Beach Travelodge. It’s a clean and very highly-rated motel. The beach here is more of a locals-only place without so many tourists.

Hotel Amenities:

  • Pool and hot tub
  • Free breakfast
  • Kitchenettes available
  • Rollaway beds available
  • Coffee/tea maker
  • Laundry facilities
  • Free WiFi

Good to know: La Jolla Beach Travelodge is definitely priced higher than your average motel but you are paying for the location.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

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What are your favorite La Jolla hotels?

Find out which best La Jolla hotels to book on your next San Diego vacation.
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