Estancia La Jolla has new owners


By Dave Schwab

Irvine-based Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG) has purchased the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa at 9700 N. Torrey Pines Road from Lowe Enterprises for an undisclosed amount.

The sale closed Dec. 1.

Kory Kramer, Pacific Hospitality Group’s vice president of acquisitions and development, said Estancia “fit nicely into our portfolio, it’s a beautiful property, a great location, and we can continue to build upon the success of the hotel and get to the next level.”

Founded in 1997, PHG currently operates seven resorts, hotel and properties representing more than 1,400 rooms and 90,000 square feet of meeting and event space including The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa and The Doubletree Irvine Spectrum.

Kramer noted Pacific “had both the equity and the debt to get the deal done, which is not easy in this market right now.”

The Los Angeles-based real estate firm’s Destination Hotels & Resorts, which sold the hotel had operated it since it opened in 2004.

Kramer said Estancia was an attractive property because it is a four-diamond hotel with 210 guest rooms and “a very generous amount of meeting and conference space with an indoor-outdoor experience, not rooms with no windows.”

PHG has “been wanting to get into the San Diego market for a long time, and Estancia presents a great opportunity to take advantage of that,” he added.

The property features Spanish hacienda-style architecture with lush gardens, courtyards, and outdoor seating areas across the 10-acre property. It includes three restaurants and lounges including Mustangs & Burros, the 8,000-square-foot Spa at Estancia and a 26,000-square-foot conference facility.

The long-term ground lease with UCSD, which has another 55 years to go, was seen as a positive not a negative in the sale, said Kramer.

“A lot of hotels in San Diego are on long-term ground leases including the Lodge at Torrey Pines,” he noted. “It’s positive that we have a partnership with the university, which is one of Estancia’s largest clients for meetings. It’s a positive relationship we want to build upon even more.”