Design Destination: Grande Colonial La Jolla

Mention the Grande Colonial to anyone remotely familiar with the seaside village of La Jolla, and you'll immediately be met with nods of approval and maybe even a hint of envy. The AAA Four Diamond recipient has rightfully earned a reputation as one of San Diego's top luxury hotels, and its evolution over the last century provides an awe-inspiring example of an iconic property retaining its charm and historical significance while maturing to meet the modern age.   

Opening its doors on February 1, 1913, the property was originally designed by Richard Requa and dubbed the Colonial Apartments and Hotel. When George Bane became the sole owner in 1920, he capitalized on the beachside building's tourist potential and commissioned architect Frank Stevenson to give it a major renovation.

Eight years later, an entirely new hotel was born (the original was moved to the rear of the property), and the impressive creation housed 28 apartments, 25 single hotel rooms, and the very first sprinkler system west of the Mississippi. The Colonial's sunburst windows and semi-circle domes of leaded glass above French doors drenched the interiors in sunlight, illuminating the colonial fireplaces with marble hearths, ornate chandeliers, and richly colored sofas and chairs. 

The Colonial continued to gain popularity over the years, becoming a home-away-from-home to some of the biggest stars of the Hollywood heyday, including Groucho Marx, Eve Arden, and Jane Wyatt. The property offered residence to military families during World War II, but fell into disrepair by the 1970s. That's when three local partners purchased it for approximately $1 million, changed the name to the Colonial Inn, and spent four years giving it a $3 million restoration.

The hotel has only improved since then, undergoing continuing improvements and upgrades over the years, and eventually growing into its current incarnation, the Grande Colonial. A far cry from its more modest origins, the hotel now features 93 air-conditioned, non-smoking guest rooms and suites that include all the conveniences of modern life, including complimentary high-speed Internet access, HD televisions, and iHome technology. The hotel has also kept up with the times in terms of conservation efforts, earning an Eco Green-Leaf Rating for remaining mindful of the environment. 

And foodies, rejoice: the Colonial's Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar is known around town for its one-of-a-kind seasonal farm-to-table cuisine. Award-winning Chef Jason Knibb partners with local artisan farmers to deliver high-quality California cuisine that's not only mouth-watering, but incomparably fresh, sustainable, and ever-evolving. The casual, contemporary dining space features rich mohagany wood accents and high ceilings, while an outdoor terrace and sidewalk patio provide the perfect spot for people watching. Breakfast and brunch diners can indulge in fresh pastries and breads, while later patrons can enjoy lunch, dinner, desserts, an extensive wine list, and an array of seasonal cocktails.


Located just 15 minutes north of the San Diego Airport, the Grande Colonial is a short trip from some of the city's most iconic sights, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Stephen Birch Aquarium-Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. In less than 30 minutes, you can travel from the hotel to landmarks like the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. But if you're in town to enjoy the historic hotel and stay local, there's plenty to see just outside the front door, including the La Jolla Cove and caves, one of Southern California's prime spots for scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. And don't forget the world-class shopping just a few steps away. 

The Grande Colonial is located at 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla, California 92037. Call (858) 454-2181 or (800) 826-1278, or visit them at

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