La Jolla Shores Hotel has been a go-to beach destination for families since 1970. The family-owned, oceanfront hotel can suit certain luxury travelers who are willing to embrace the uber-casual California beach lifestyle without many frills. I like to staycation here to enjoy ocean breezes and easy access to La Jolla Shores Beach, my favorite beach in San Diego.
Rooms have been recently refreshed, and the hotel prices well compared to other beachfront hotels. Guests also benefit from nearby excellent dining and access to water sports. Here’s what you need to know about the hotel and neighborhood before checking in.
WHAT I LOVE
- Prime beachfront location on one of San Diego’s best beaches
- Beachfront Rooms with ocean breezes
- Easy back and forth from room to sand with kids
- All rooms and the La Jolla Suite have recently been refreshed
- Complimentary beach gear and setup including chairs, umbrellas, and towels
- Complimentary Wi-Fi and shuttle to Village of La Jolla/La Jolla Cove
- Two great beachfront restaurants (one at their sister property next door)
- Every guest room has a balcony or lanai
GOOD TO KNOW
- It is a very casual, mid-range hotel
- Family-owned means that kids and sandy feet are welcome
- Walls between guest rooms are thin, and some guests have complained of noise
- Secure underground parking fee is $28 per night
- The staff gets consistent rave reviews for service
- It’s a fun place for San Diego residents to staycation
- It’s not for high needs travelers used to impeccable and high-tech rooms (they’re comfortable)
Guest Rooms and Suites at La Jolla Shores Hotel
Of the 128 rooms at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 30 of them are beachfront, and another 37 provide coastal views. Thirteen rooms have kitchenettes. First floor rooms have lanais, and second and third-floor rooms have balconies – all are fully furnished. Third-floor rooms also have whitewashed exposed beam cathedral ceilings for an even more spacious feel.
The remaining 61 guest rooms overlook the hotel’s Garden Courtyard. It’s a hacienda-style patio with latticework, fountains, shaded tables and chairs, and walkways of Mexican tile. Lovely tropical trees and plants like hibiscus, birds-of-paradise, and sago palms adorn the courtyard.
All rooms have recently been renovated in the first phase of a larger hotel face-lift project. You’ll find a coastal color palette of blues and taupes, new beach cottage-style furniture, new pillow-top beds, flat screen TVs, beadboard, new carpet, and other details. The hotel’s only suite, the La Jolla Suite, was included in this renovation.
Room amenities include free Wi-Fi, PressReader for newspapers and magazines, 50-channel flat-screen TV, mini-fridge, DVD player and lending library, in-room safe, and coffee station with Starbucks coffees and teas.
Beachfront Rooms (Top Pick)
Beachfront Rooms have the best views in the house directly overlooking the beach. You can choose either king or double queen rooms. Deluxe Beachfront Rooms are more spacious and also have living areas with pullout sofas.
Both Beachfront Rooms and Deluxe Beachfront Rooms can be upgraded to include kitchenettes with stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, dishes, and utensils. The Beachfront Deluxe Room with Kitchenette is popular for extended stays. The Beachfront Deluxe Room with Kitchenette in the double queen configuration has a wrap around patio. We have stayed in this room, and it’s fantastic!
Ground floor Beachfront Rooms do not have direct access to the boardwalk in front (you’ll need to exit your room and walk around).
Coastal View Rooms
Guests in Coastal View Rooms will enjoy views of La Jolla Shores Beach up the coast toward Scripps Pier from their private balconies. They also come in king or double queen options.
Coastal View Rooms with Kitchenettes come with king beds only, but all Coastal View Rooms (kitchenette, or not) have options for connecting rooms. Kitchenettes include stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, dishes, and utensils
Garden Patio Rooms
Garden Patio Rooms overlook either a lush hacienda-style courtyard, or conveniently surround the hotel’s pool, children’s pool, and whirlpool.
These rooms are also on three floors, and all have patios or balconies. You can choose a king room or double queen room. Some king rooms have kitchenettes. Garden Patio rooms have optional connecting rooms.
La Jolla Suite
The newly renovated La Jolla Suite has 780 square feet of beachfront vacation fun. The spacious one-bedroom suite is not only the largest accommodation at the hotel but the hotel’s only suite. There’s a separate bedroom with king bed, living room with sofa sleeper, dining area, and full kitchen. This is another terrific extended stay option.
Dining at La Jolla Shores Hotel
You have three choices for dining at La Jolla Shores Hotel – casual beachside dining at Shores Restaurant, fine dining at The Marine Room, or a personalized beach barbecue (where else but on the beach).
The Shores Restaurant
The Shores Restaurant is the hotel’s casual beachside dining experience just steps from the sand. You can dine inside or on the patio overlooking La Jolla Shores Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
The restaurant serves sustainable California coastal cuisine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Try their signature Shores Burger during your stay. Happy Hour in the bar area is highly recommended as the sunsets from the restaurant are beautiful.
The Marine Room
While technically not at La Jolla Shores Hotel, the iconic Marine Room a few minutes’ walk away at the hotel’s sister property, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. This award-winning restaurant is the signature fine dining restaurant for both hotels and sits right on the sand of La Jolla Shores Beach. Since its opening in 1941, the waterfront restaurant has garnered international attention and earned the respect of notable food critics.
The Marine Room’s world-class cuisine pairs well with edge-of-the-surf views. At high tide, especially during winter, diners will sometimes get to see plumes of surf splash against the windows as they eat.
Beach BBQ Cookouts
Is there anything better than a beach barbecue cookout? At La Jolla Shores Hotel, you can choose a DIY barbecue where you order the table, set up, and food from the cookout menu the day before you want it, and everything is set up for you. Or, you can order your barbecue already cooked from the same menu and sit back and enjoy the view and the food. The menu includes everything from steaks to brochettes. DIYers can top their barbecue off with a S’mores Pack.
La Jolla Shores Hotel Amenities
The obvious standout of La Jolla Shore Hotel amenities is the spectacular beach. What may not be obvious is the 600-acre San Diego — La Jolla Underwater Park right out front. This is a divers’ wonderland and one of the best dive spots along the Southern California coast. It includes a 533-acre Ecological Reserve and Marine Life Refuge. It also contains two human-made reefs teeming with plant and animal life at 40 feet and 70 feet underwater.
If you’re staying at La Jolla Shores Hotel, you have scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, sailing (yes, there’s a boat launch too), swimming, and an array of beach activities right at your fingertips.
Watch the morning fog lift over a cup of coffee from your beachfront balcony, and get ready to dive into these and the following vacation amenities.
Tennis Courts and Lessons
The hotel has two dedicated tennis courts for guests. Tennis equipment is available through the front desk concierge. You can take advantage of tennis lessons from a U.S. Professional Tennis Association professional by going to the tennis pro shop next door at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club to arrange it. The instructor determines the charge for lessons.
Heated Pool, Children’s Wading Pool, & Jacuzzi
The hotel provides an outdoor heated pool with a pool deck and chairs, children’s wading pool, and toasty Jacuzzi. You can drink and dine poolside during the summer. The pool is centrally located next to the courtyard and surrounded by Garden Patio rooms.
The small hotel fitness center has a limited selection of cardio machines, and free weights available to guests. There is a water station in the fitness room, but no bottled water.
There are two outdoor Ping-Pong tables in the courtyard. Complimentary Ping-Pong equipment is available at the desk.
In-Room Massage Services
In-room massage services are available to guests through the front desk concierge services. The hotel has certified massage therapists who provide facial and body massages, aromatherapy rituals, and therapeutic body treatments in the relaxing privacy of your room. Their signature massages are 30, 60, and 90 minutes. Customized sports massages are also on the menu, a relief after an afternoon of kayaking.
Beach Gear Setups
La Jolla Shores Hotel provides guests with complimentary complete beach setups that include umbrellas, beach towels, lounge chairs, and windbreaks.
Experience the luxury of having someone else lug your beach gear to the sand and set it up for you – free!
The La Jolla Neighborhood
The La Jolla Shores neighborhood is rich with experiences for the whole family. For starters, families will appreciate the grassy public park with a Respect the Ocean themed children’s playground that is right next to the hotel. A beachfront boardwalk runs from the hotel to the opposite end of the park. It’s an excellent place for a nice walk or travel scooter ride and an overall great place to be in La Jolla with kids.
Also nearby, you’ll find Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The Aquarium showcases Scripps research and is a hot spot with vacationing families. The hotel shuttle can take you there, and you can save money on tickets with a Go San Diego pass.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is at the north end of La Jolla, a hiker’s paradise with phenomenal views. Torrey Pines Golf Course, where the 2021 US Open will be held, is a 36-hole public golf course with spectacular ocean views on many holes.
Torrey Pines Glider Port is an excellent place for the adventurous to take a tandem paraglide along the shoreline, or grab snacks from the on-site cafe and watch the takeoffs and landings. There’s a docent-led tour at the architecturally stunning Salk Institute. The La Jolla Shores business district, a few blocks from the hotel, is a patchwork of bike and water sports equipment rental stores and tours, coffee shops, restaurants, and boutique stores which make it easy for families to enjoy a carless beach holiday.
When you’ve run out of things to do in La Jolla Shores, make the ten-minute walk or take the hotel shuttle to the Village of La Jolla. Prospect Street leads you into the Village where you’ll find San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, a good starting point for a village exploration. All along the street are boutique fashion stores, antique shops, art galleries, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty stores. Don’t miss Girard Avenue for more of the same.
Down the hill from Prospect Street, you’ll find two of the biggest attractions in town, Ellen Browning Scripps Park, one of the most photographed places in San Diego, and La Jolla Cove. The cove features the Children’s Pool and La Jolla Sea Caves. This is a great place to see seals and sea lions, snorkel among bright orange Garibaldi fish, and kayak near the caves. Farther down, one of the best places to surf in SoCal is Windansea Beach. You will not run out of things to do in La Jolla.