Orli hotel to open in historic former location of Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla

The Orli hotel is in development at 7753 Draper Ave., former site of the Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

La Jolla natives Max and Hailey Waitt have roots in the 92037 ZIP code, but they’ve spent much of their lives traveling the world. That’s meant a considerable amount of time in and out of hotels, giving the siblings valuable insights on what makes a lodging experience memorable.

So when it came to launching their own hotel, the two knew exactly what they wanted.

Blending the old and the new, the former Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla is being renovated and converted into the debut location for Orli hotels, with management eyeing a fall opening.

The 6,110-square-foot, historically designated Bed & Breakfast Inn was designed by Irving Gill and built in 1913 for the Kautz family at 7753 Draper Ave.

In 1984, the property was restored and expanded to contain 15 luxury suites, some with ocean views. It is across from the La Jolla Recreation Center and next to the La Jolla Woman’s Club, both designed by Gill.

“We wanted to restore the building back to its former glory,” Hailey said. “The B&B had chipped away at some of the architecture features since it was designated [historic]. We are bringing back some of those aspects.”

The renovation involved collaboration with Axon Architecture to restore the building’s exterior and ML Design Co. for the interior.

Bookings will be accepted in August or September for the expected fall opening of the new Orli hotel in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of Wicked+ PR)

From outside, the hotel will look identical to the Bed & Breakfast Inn, except for the paint color and a change to the awning, Hailey said.

“Irving Gill was known for his arches, so that is a design element we play off of a lot,” she said. “We restored the beautiful historic windows, and we had some original hardwood floors and left those intact. The corridor will be restored and landscaped. We just have to make some modifications for [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance.”

Some new design components will be metalwork incorporated as accent pieces, along with changes to the lobby, Max said.

“We thought it was special to have mini arches to honor Irving Gill in a new way,” he said. “The new awnings, which are more high-contrast in fabric and structure that is more modern, will give it more street presence.”

Increasing street presence is important to give the hotel a sense of place in The Village, according to the Waitts, who joked that they would pass the location as youths and not know it was a hotel.

“Finding the right location was something we were both really passionate about,” Hailey said. “Being from La Jolla, we wanted to open our first [Orli] location here. La Jolla is a gem but gets overlooked as a location for this type of experience.”

Orli will offer a customizable experience, Max said. The 13 rooms are all unique, from the uber-modern single room to family rooms with kitchenettes.

“We want to change the hotel experience by bringing in a great deal of technology and automation,” he said. “Guests can create their perfect stay; they build their own itinerary and how they want to experience the hotel.”

Siblings and La Jolla natives Max and Hailey Waitt are preparing to open the debut location of Orli hotels in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of Wicked+ PR)

That can range from a short-term rental experience that involves minimal contact with management to a full integration into the community with offerings from local businesses in the rooms and an app associated with the hotel that assists with restaurant reservations and tour bookings.

“We are avid travelers and often find the customization options are limited,” Max said. “When you stay at a large hotel, it’s a commodity experience. Then you have [short-term rental platforms] ... offering localized stays, but the standards are not often there because they are managed by an individual and wouldn’t have the accountability of a brand. We want it to be a perfect combination of a boutique hotel and at-home stay.”

The Waitt family traveled from the time Max and Hailey were children. “It exposed us to different cultures,” Max said. “I grew to love hotels and often find ways hotels can improve. We stayed at a lot of wonderful hotels, but many could improve in their automation and technology and integrating into the local culture.

“Since I graduated college in 2019, I was figuring out my next move. I couldn’t land on a job that sat right with me. I decided to start this business with Hailey, as she has experience in the real estate industry. So we teamed up to create what is now Orli, and we’re so excited to have gotten to this point.”

The exterior renovation is in its final stages, so much of the remaining work is on the interior. Bookings will be accepted in August or September.

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