The Best Hotels to Book in La Jolla, California, for Every Traveler

La Jolla Riviera Inn is within easy reach of the beautiful sands of La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Riviera Inn is within easy reach of the beautiful sands of La Jolla Cove | © Apostolis Giontzis / Alamy Stock Photo
Elizabeth Rose

If you want to explore an upscale oceanside town in California, book a hotel in La Jolla – pronounced la hoya – where there’s no shortage of things to do. Lovers of the great outdoors will feel particularly at home hiking the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve or lazing on the beach. The beautiful Pacific Ocean is visible at every turn as you drive along the coast; stop and explore a tide pool, go surfing or try sea kayaking. Culture lovers can shop and dine in artsy La Jolla Village, while manicured greens attract golfers the world over. In this northern San Diego neighborhood, you’ll also find a pleasing range of accommodation styles, from luxe golf resorts to budget-friendly beach hotels – all bookable with Culture Trip.

1. Scripps Inn La Jolla Cove, for dolphin spotting


Exterior of Scripps Inn La Jolla Cove set right across the road from the Pacific Ocean
Courtesy of Scripps Inn La Jolla Cove / Expedia

You’re right by the ocean at the Scripps Inn in La Jolla: grab a sofa on the lanai to watch the waves lap and the sun sink. Bring binoculars for a chance to see dolphins, seals, sea lions or (since Scripps Inn is on Whale Watch Point) migrating gray whales during the winter. Choose from 14 individually decorated rooms. Whether you opt for a kitchenette, fireplace or ocean view balcony, each homey room is as bright as the seaside outside your window.

2. The Shoal La Jolla Beach, for easy access to Pacific Beach


Aerial view of the Shoal La Jolla Beachs two-story motor lodge and swimming pool with the ocean in the background
Courtesy of the Shoal La Jolla Beach / Expedia

It’s all about location at this La Jolla Beach hotel. Closer to Pacific Beach, you’ll find the likes of San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and a beach that’s great for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. You’ll appreciate the airport’s proximity (10mi/16km away) and the complimentary parking. Rooms are contemporary, bright and stuffed with useful amenities like refrigerators, coffeemakers and toiletries. Choose one with a well-equipped kitchen to rustle up lunch to enjoy by the heated outdoor pool.

3. Grande Colonial Hotel, for classic glamour


Expansive guest room with plush seating area, royal blue carpet and windows with ocean views at Grande Colonial Hotel, La Jolla
Courtesy of Grande Colonial Hotel / Expedia

Expect classic glamour at this award-winning, century-old hotel (established in 1913). Grab an armchair by the open fire in the Mediterranean-style lobby; relax in the tree-filled garden courtyard; or watch the sunset from the ocean-vista rooftop deck. A highlight is the restaurant and bar, NINE-TEN, headed up by award-winning chef Jason Knibb. Try sophisticated, farm-to-table Californian cuisine that changes daily. Check out the murals created by local artists inside, or head to the outdoor terrace to dine with ocean views.

4. Pantai Inn, for serene strolls

Luxury, Hotel

Balinese-style guest room with four-poster bed, dark wood furniture and yellow decor accents at Pantai Inn in La Jolla
Courtesy of Pantai Inn / Expedia

The Pantai Inn, a luxury boutique hotel in La Jolla, is nestled close to Shell Beach. It offers guests both amazing ocean views and touches of exotic Bali. You’ll have easy access to beaches and the quaint village of La Jolla for shopping and dining. As you stroll the gardens of the inn, you’ll encounter relaxing fountains and, in the evening, you can sit around one of the fire pits.

5. Empress Hotel La Jolla, for beach concierge service

Boutique Hotel

Courtesy of Empress Hotel La Jolla / Expedia

The Empress Hotel is a larger boutique offering in quaint La Jolla Village. It offers a signature beach concierge service so you can pick up gear for a trip to the nearby shores. The hotel offers a bar and restaurant, business center and charging stations for e-vehicles. Accommodation includes traditional-sized rooms as well as suites, including one with a whirlpool spa tub.

6. La Jolla Riviera Inn, for central convenience

Hotel, Inn

Central kidney-shaped outdoor pool lined with lounge chairs at La Jolla Riviera Inn
Courtesy of La Jolla Riviera Inn / Expedia

The La Jolla Riviera Inn, positioned near La Jolla Cove and Scripps Pier, offers both apartment-style and traditional hotel rooms. Relax by the outdoor pool before heading to the beach or the attractions of San Diego, which are all within easy driving distance. Additional amenities include a concierge service, on-site laundry and self-parking for a fee.

7. Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, for a luxury retreat

Spa Hotel, Luxury

Luxury guest room with two beds, stylish decor with pops of orange and French doors to patio at Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa
Courtesy of Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa / Expedia

The Estancia, situated close to the University of California San Diego campus, is a luxury La Jolla hotel in a lush garden setting. There’s on-site dining and a relaxing bar, an event space, plus a spa and wellness program. As you stroll the lawns and gardens, stop to enjoy an outdoor game or sign up for a yoga class. Refresh in the heated saltwater pool or the whirlpool, or work out in the executive fitness center. The resort offers self-parking and e-vehicle chargers.

8. La Valencia Hotel, for a historic hideaway


Lush, palm-lined outdoor pool area with plush lounge chairs and ocean views at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, California
Courtesy of La Valencia Hotel / Expedia
Opened in 1926 as Los Apartmentos de Sevilla, La Valencia Hotel is a historic retreat that earned the moniker the Pink Lady of La Jolla. Over the years, it’s been a hideaway for Hollywood stars, particularly during the Golden Age. Now, it houses a collection of stylish rooms, suites and villas, many of which have spectacular views of the expansive coastline. You can dine at one of three restaurants or take advantage of the cabana service as you unwind by the palm-lined outdoor pool and take in sparkling ocean views.

9. The Lodge at Torrey Pines, for the avid golfer

Luxury, Spa Hotel

Upscale king room with craftsman-style furnishings and dark wood moldings at the Lodge at Torrey Pines
Courtesy of the Lodge at Torrey Pines / Expedia

Overlooking the Torrey Pines Golf Course, this upscale resort in La Jolla is made for the avid golfer. You can tackle two 18-holers, both of which are edged by the Pacific Ocean. There’s also plenty to do here if a day on the greens isn’t your thing. Head to the Grill for wood-fired dishes accompanied by local craft beers or to flagship restaurant A.R. Valentien for fine regional cuisine under a quaint wood-beamed ceiling. There’s also a luxurious spa that uses eco-friendly marine- and botanical-based products.

10. La Jolla Shores Hotel, for a family beach vacation

Budget Hotel

Overhead view of outdoor dining terrace with strings of lights and beachfront ocean view at La Jolla Shores Hotel
Courtesy of La Jolla Shores Hotel / Expedia

Located in La Jolla Shores, this vacation hotel has been a family favorite for years. You’ll be right on the beach and can enjoy surfing and kayaking or just relax on the sand with the complimentary beach chairs, towels and umbrellas provided by the hotel. Indoor and outdoor dining brings yummy seafood to your table, while 19 of the guest rooms have kitchenettes. When you’re looking for something to do, take a dip in the heated pool, play tennis or use the free shuttle to travel around the local area.

Kim Gregory contributed additional reporting to this article.

For more options, check out the best luxury hotels in San Diego, bookable with Culture Trip.

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