A seaside community within San Diego that began as an artists’ colony, La Jolla has managed to strike the perfect balance between luxury and bohemian. Its hilly terrain offers unprecedented views of the Pacific, and the restaurants and hotels take full advantage of the views. This summer, a luxury multiplex’s programming is in full swing, Mexican restaurants add to the California-fresh dining scene, three hotels put their best foot forward, and more.
Where to Stay
La Valencia Hotel
The “Pink Lady of La Jolla” debuts its new spa this December, just in time for the hotel’s 91st anniversary. Spa La V will feature six indoor and two outdoor treatment rooms offering massages, aromatherapy, body wraps, and eventually fitness training and wellness programs. Rooms from $310; 1132 Prospect St.; 858-454-0771; lavalencia.com.
Lodge at Torrey Pines
The luxury hotel celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and is celebrating the occasion with several special offerings: a tasting menu at A.R. Valentien that will feature dishes from the restaurant’s original opening menu; a special anniversary cocktail; discounts at the property’s spa; and a VIP $15,000 anniversary package that includes a two-night stay for up to eight people in four suites, a private dinner with the property’s chef, a private hiking tour in Torrey Pines State Reserve, a private yoga class, and transfer to and from the airport. Rooms from $400; 11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd.; 858-453-4420; lodgetorreypines.com.
Estancia La Jolla
A hacienda-style resort tucked away in a sylvan area between La Jolla and Del Mar, Estancia La Jolla is a summer escape-within-an-escape. The resort’s popular 7000-square-foot spa, located within the property’s 10-acre garden, recently partnered with La Jolla–based beauty brand Kopari to open two new pool cabanas. Rental includes pool access, a sampling of Kopari products, two poolside mini spa services, and a bottle of rosé. Rooms from $240; 9700 N. Torrey Pines Rd.; meritagecollection.com.
Where to Eat
After an extensive remodel, this La Jolla favorite reopened at the end of 2016 with a new interior and a new concept. Mexico City architect Jorge Campos reimagined the interior, which now boasts 60 additional seats and nearly 2,000 square feet of additional space, a custom-made copper bar, and a panoramic view of the Pacific. Executive chef Aarti Sanghavi has created an impressive menu to match, with small plates and entrées that draw inspiration from all over the globe, including Mexico City, the Mediterranean, Baja Med, and India. Think lobster aguachile with strawberry-chile granita, shaved red onion, and cucumber; smoked hake tostones with black beans, salsa cruda, and pickled red onion; and shrimp and pork tamales with salsa cruda and crispy pork skin. A few of the restaurant’s most loved dishes—like the white fish ceviche— remain on the menu, as well. 1250 Prospect St., Ste. B10; 858-454-1637; thehake.com.
Red O Restaurant
Rick Bayless consulted on this recent addition to La Jolla’s Golden Triangle, a 10,000 square foot behemoth serving modern, upscale Mexican food that opened in early June. The kitchen, helmed by executive chef Seth Vider, is turning out dishes like yellowtail aguachile, braised short rib enchiladas, and corn and goat cheese tamales. 4340 La Jolla Village Dr.; 858-291-8360; redorestaurant.com.
George’s at the Cove
Chef Trey Foshee's three-story, three-decade-old dining complex underwent a major revamping in 2016, after which the second floor reopened as a craft cocktail bar with casual lunch and dinner options. The rooftop restaurant Ocean Terrace has more seating now, but the best dining option is still the first-floor California Modern restaurant, where the newest eight-course tasting menu created by Foshee and chef de cuisine Jonathan Bautista excels at delivering creative, farm-and-ocean-fresh dishes. 1250 Prospect St.; 858-454-4244; georgesatthecove.com.
What to Do
La Jolla Playhouse
The Tony Award–winning La Jolla Playhouse has several shows to catch this summer: Rachel Bonds’ intimate At the Old Place, runs through the 30th; Kill Local, Mat Smart’s dark comedy is on the stage from August 1 through the 27th. 2910 La Jolla Village Dr.; 858-550-101; lajollaplayhouse.org.
Highlights this year include the annual Green Flash concert series, which takes place outdoors on the Tide-Pool Plaza, and “Infinity Cube: Language of Light,” an exploration of bioluminescence produced by artist Iyvone Khoo and marine biologist Michael Latz. The two filmed over six hours of footage of dinoflagellates reacting to heartbeats, music, air pressure, and other stimulants and project the results, accompanied by sound, on the walls of an 8-foot cube which viewers enter. 2300 Expedition Wy.; 858-534-3474; Green Flash concert series, Wednesdays, 6/21, 7/19, 8/16, and 9/20; Infinity Cube: Language of Light runs through December 2017; aquarium.ucsd.edu.
Torrey Pines Golf Course
The 60-year-old North Course—the most popular course for Torrey’s regulars—enters its first season since it finished a massive, $12.6 million renovation at the end of 2016. All 18 greens were completely reconstructed, average green size expanded, and the nines flipped so that golfers can enjoy the most scenic ocean and canyon views as they finish playing. 11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd.; 858-581-7171; torreypinesgolfcourse.com.