La Jolla's La Valencia Hotel reportedly in escrow

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

La Jolla’s landmark 113-room La Valencia Hotel is reportedly in escrow at a purchase price of about $40 million to a Kirkland, Wash.-based a hotel chain with San Diego ties.

The San Diego Daily Transcript reported the prospective buyer is Noble House Hotels & Resorts, owners of the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa and the iconic Edgewater Hotel on Seattle’s waterfront.

La Valencia’s general manager David Friederich, would not talk about the report, saying only that “it is factual that our owners are interested in selling.”

He added that multiple groups have expressed interest and that there is a lead candidate but would not comment beyond that, adding it was premature to do so.

La Valencia is owned by the Harry Collins family’s Collins Cos. A spokesman for the company also refused to comment on the reported deal.

Constructed in 1926 atop La Jolla Cove, La Valencia - called the “Pink Lady” - is known for its ocean views, standout service and fine dining at The Sky Room, Whaling Bar and Grill and The Mediterranean Room. The wine list at the hotel’s restaurants exceeds 100 labels and is consistently awarded “Best of Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator magazine, according to the hotel website.

Earlier this year, Protea Holdings of La Jolla, a partnership controlled by the Jacobs family, purchased the La Valencia’s “sister” property - the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in Rancho Santa Fe - from RVR Partners LP. The Daily Transcript reported that sales price at $15.5 million.

In 2008, a proposed combined sale of the two properties for an undisclosed sum, fell through, ostensibly because of the poor bank lending environment with the advent of the recession. At that time, American Property Management Corp. (APMC) - owners of Hotel La Jolla - had agreed to purchase the two hotel properties from the Collins Cos. and a Getty trust.

The Transcript reported the family is divesting itself of its hotel properties in part because of the lingering effects of a polo accident suffered years ago by family patriarch Harry Collins.