Local B&Bs offer a home away from home

Spring has sprung, and visitors are flocking to our corner of the world. If way too many are flocking to you, here are two great suggestions for overflow guests.

Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla

7753 Draper

(858) 456-2066

You may never have noticed this lovely B&B, just across from the Museum of Contemporary Art and a block from the beach. But for the kind of attention and amenities most of us wish we had at home, this is the place.

Listed in the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns, the inn offers a full gourmet breakfast and special touches such as in-room decanters of sherry, late afternoon wine and cheese, and baked goodies all day. Designed by Irving Gill, with gardens by Kate Sessions, it was built in 1913 and beautifully restored in 1998. Each of the 15 rooms has its own style, and some have ocean views.

But the crowning glory of the place is its hospitality.

As Beverly Iserson, a recent guest, put it: “From the minute we got here, we were happy. Such a welcoming feeling, you wish you could stay longer!”

Innkeeper/Manager Margaret Fox, who hails from the north of Ireland and has spent 25 years in the hospitality industry, gives each guest a warm greeting, and often a goodbye hug.

“We have an exceptional team working here, and we really do care about our guests,” she said. “We try to do everything we can to make them feel good.”

Another attraction is multitalented chef Mary Timmons, former executive chef at the Harbor Island Hilton and longtime owner of Butterfield B&B in Julian.

And there’s a Spring Special: four nights for the price of three.

Artistic Charm: Les Artistes Inn

944 Camino del Mar

(858) 755-4646

Zulana and John Halper started collecting art for their inn even before they bought it. They were traveling through Europe and had put in a bid on the run-down property before they left.

She’s an architect, he’s a builder, and luckily for their guests, some of whom have been coming here since their 1992 opening, the deal went through. The place is a work of art, or as John Halper likes to say, “a work in progress. People keep coming back to see what we’re doing next.”

They do it all themselves, putting in 12-hour days. The Southwestern architecture, the Spanish fountains, the Japanese cobbled walkways, the whimsical mosaics on the floors, the wrought-iron doors, everything is created by these artisan/innkeepers. Plus, there are paintings and curios from their travels, and Buddhas from Zulana Halper’s native Thailand.

Cathy Castro, from the Inland Empire, is one of their frequent visitors.

“We’ve been coming to Del Mar for years, but once we found this place, we knew we’d never stay anywhere else,” she said.

Each of the inn’s 12 rooms is inspired by a different artist, and each has its own balcony, overlooking peaceful gardens, with some ocean views. And they’re just a few steps from the Saturday Farmers Market.

Their ideal guests, the Halpers say, are the youth hostel crowd, now grown up, with a little more money to spend.

“World travelers love it here,” John Halper said. “They treat it like a great fishing spot, telling some friends about it, but not all of them. And for lots of our neighbors, this is their spare bedroom.”

Continental breakfast is included, and wine and music evenings will be coming soon.

But wait! There’s more!


Secret Garden Inn,

an offshoot of Les Artistes: Five rooms and a secret garden, with full breakfast at Cafe Secret.

1140 Camino del Mar, Del Mar. (858) 755-4646.


Redwood Hollow:

11 furnished craftsman-style cottages in a pretty garden setting.

256 Prospect, La Jolla. (858) 459-8747.


Scripps Inn:

Location, location — 15 rooms and suites right across from the ocean.

555 Coast Blvd., La Jolla. (858) 454-3391.