Hotel La Jolla remodel shifts gears; restaurant to remain on 11th floor


By Dave Schwab

Bowing to popular demand, the new ownership group of 108-room Hotel La Jolla has abandoned plans to move the hotel’s trademark restaurant — formerly Elario’s, then Clay’s and now the Grill at Hotel La Jolla — from the 11th floor to street level.

“They heard the neighbors loud and clear that the restaurant should stay on one of the top floors,” said Caroline Dyal, the hotel’s new general manager. “They got the general sense that it was not the right thing to do, and did a gut check and made the decision.”

Dyal said the decision not to bring the lounge-style restaurant known for its jazz, atmosphere and commanding views of La Jolla Shores was made after several people stopped in to say “it was such a shame that the most gorgeous, perfect view of La Jolla Shores” was going to be altered.

Trading upper-level views for enhanced ground-level access interconnecting the lobby, bar and restaurant on the same level creating an indoor-outdoor feel was the idea behind moving the restaurant’s location.

Dyal said plans to close the hotel completely for remodeling until April have also been scrapped.

“We’re not closed, but we’re only supporting very limited occupation, a few rooms here and there, as there is going to be a lot of noise and service interruptions,” she said noting hotel remodeling, which is to include converting a portion of the 11th floor restaurant area into meeting and event space, is expected to continue until late Spring 2012.

“We’re refurbishing the rooms, updating the restaurant, expanding the pool area enclosing the front lawn to make it more of a bar-lounge with outdoor space for nice, cozy fire pits to be family-friendly by day and loungey by night,” she said.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants recently took over management of the establishment at the community’s gateway on La Jolla Shores Drive next to Torrey Pines Road.

San Francisco-based Kimpton also manages Hotel Solamar and Hotel Palomar in downtown San Diego. It is known for introducing the boutique hotel concept in America.

The hotel’s is now owned by an affiliate of Westport Capital Partners LLC and Cove Equity Group, an investment firm owned by La Jollan Ure Kretowicz