Summer sales steady, if not heady, in La Jolla Village

Jennifer Van Galder, owner of Maudlin home furnishings on Fay Avenue, said the Village seemed busier this summer, though her interior design clients had less discretionary income to work with. Pat Sherman photos
Jennifer Van Galder, owner of Maudlin home furnishings on Fay Avenue, said the Village seemed busier this summer, though her interior design clients had less discretionary income to work with. Pat Sherman photos
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Jennifer Van Galder, owner of Maudlin home furnishings on Fay Avenue, said the Village seemed busier this summer, though her interior design clients had less discretionary income to work with. Pat Sherman photos

By Pat Sherman

La Jolla’s coastal weather helped turn more than Village landscaping green this summer. Village merchants, hoteliers and restaurateurs by and large had a profitable summer, though overall, business may have been down slightly from the previous summer — particularly in terms of local consumer dollars, interviews with business owners reveal.

‘Golden Slumbers’


Hotel tax revenue from June 1 to Aug. 31 in La Jolla was $4,174, 821 — down slightly from the same period in 2011, which was $4,268,288. (A representative from the office of San Diego’s independent budget analyst said this summer’s figure should increase slightly, as receipts are still trickling in for August).

Eric Lund, vice-president of community relations for the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (ConVis), said summer business at San Diego County hotels was better than in 2010, though he said the region has “a way to go to get back to 2009 levels, when we peaked.”

“That’s when we initially lost a lot of group and leisure travel,” due to the down economy, he said. Lund said hotel occupancy in La Jolla for July — the most recent month ConVis has figures for — was about the same as 2011, though La Jolla hoteliers saw a 6.9 percent increase in average room revenue (accounting for more expensive rooms and incidentals like room service and spa treatments).

“La Jolla was looking really good during the summer, and really good as a sub-group,” Lund said.

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George Hauer of George’s at the Cove said 2011 was his most successful year. Things were down only slightly this summer, which he attributes to the economy and new dining options in the Village. Pat Sherman Photos

From July to September, La Valencia hotel on Prospect Street had an occupancy rate of 83.05 percent and an average room rate of $372 — up from 79.35 percent and $353 last summer, or about a 4-5 percent increase each.

“We contribute this growth to an increase in leisure travelers this summer, compared to last,” as well as recent renovations to the hotel, La Valencia’s sales and marketing coordinator, Kristen Poole, said.

Krista Baroudi, general manager of La Jolla Cove Suites on Coast Boulevard said she saw a boost in occupancy of as much as 20 to 30 percent this summer — an increase she attributes to the exposure the hotel received while appearing on the Travel Channel show, “Hotel Impossible,” which first aired May 21, and seven or eight times more this summer.

While business typically slows in mid-August when travelers start to return home to accommodate school schedules — Baroudi said she saw only a modest decline in occupancy going into September.

“They (The Travel Channel) did a phenomenal job as far as exposing La Jolla as this amazing destination for vacations, and highlighting what the Village has to offer. ... I would like to think that every (business) benefits,” she said.

Baroudi said her recently renovated 250-square-foot budget rooms were advertised online for the first time this summer at $99 each, attracting $25,000 in bookings within the first 12 hours. “Once we got under the $100 price-point we could really see how many people are shopping with a budget in mind,” she said.

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Nikki Driban of Extreme Pizza on Kline Street boxes up an Aviero pie. Owner Kevin Smith said local business was off this summer, though tourist traffic was strong.
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