The Grande Colonial Hotel is La Jolla’s answer to an elite group of historic luxury hotels that include Downtown San Diego’s US Grant Hotel and Coronado Island’s Hotel Del Coronado. The palatial Grande Colonial Hotel, located on tony Prospect Street, is a La Jolla landmark. Built in 1913, it has been the beneficiary of multi-million dollar renovations in 1976, 1999, and 2007.
The 2007 renovation included the acquisition and preservation of two adjacent historic landmarks – eight suite Little Hotel by the Sea and ten suite Garden Terraces, adding 18 suites to the hotel’s rooms and suites inventory and extending the property all the way to Coast Boulevard South. The award-winning NINE-TEN Restaurant was added to the main hotel in 2001, and a half million dollar renovation of the hotel’s main lobby and public spaces was completed in time for its 100th birthday in 2013.
Grande Colonial Hotel Ambiance
Grande Colonial Hotel is stately on an impressive scale at five stories with all the opulence of a grand European hotel. The white façade has glass doors shaded by semi-circular blue and white striped awnings, and hosts La Jolla’s celebrity status restaurant, NINE-TEN. Inside, shades of ocean blue and sun gold permeate the lobby, sun room, meeting rooms, and other common areas. Iron and leaded glass chandeliers, a colonial fireplace with a marble hearth, Georgian arches, original crown moldings, hand-stenciled ceilings, and sunburst windows over French doors leading to a veranda provide a backdrop for richly appointed furnishings in the lobby.
The hotel exudes an air of quiet sophistication, and provides the same distinctive accommodations and gracious service today as it did in the days when Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Groucho Marks, Jane Wyatt and other La Jolla Playhouse regulars stayed here during their runs. Modern day resort and business guests will enjoy all this, plus contemporary touches like USB ports and electrical outlets at tables in the lobby, and Keurig coffeemakers iHome docking stations in their rooms.
In an unusual departure from the upscale vacationer or business guest who typically dominates the registry at Grande Colonial Hotel, those interested in the paranormal may find a night’s stay here as fascinating as a night at the Hotel Del. Over the years there have been numerous reports by guests and staff of ghostly encounters in the rooms, hallways, common areas, and kitchen. If that sort of thing intrigues you, ask for a room in Grande Colonial’s North Annex, which seems particularly popular with the apparitional crowd, or guest rooms 508, 420, or 235 which have documented occurrences. The Sun Room is another popular spot for close encounters of the ghostly kind.
All reported experiences are investigated and documented by hotel staff. Reports have all been playful in nature. Night employees at the reception desk are often on the receiving end of spectral pranks. They receive phone calls from a particular private room when it is not in use. An employee goes to check on the room and the phone is off the hook, but the room is empty. Some theorize frequent guest and hotel prankster Groucho Marx is behind the mysterious calls.
Grande Colonial Hotel Rooms
The rich, sophisticated décor of the rooms feature the same blues, greens, and golds as the rest of the hotel in soothing muted shades. King or queen beds are dressed luxuriously in goose down pillows and comforters. Splashes of bright colors in curtains and artwork enliven the space, and windows open to let in fresh ocean breezes and natural light. Bathrooms carry through the sophisticated classic ambiance with Gilchrist & Soames bath and body products and plush bathrobes. Rooms have views of trendy La Jolla Village, Grande Colonial’s lush garden courtyard, or spectacular to peek-a-boo views of the Pacific coastline.
Like the rooms at Grande Colonial Hotel, suites offer the same classic elegance. All suites have sitting areas and kitchenettes; some have full kitchens and fireplaces. Extended stay suites have the added privacy of being in the exclusive Little Hotel by the Sea and in the Garden Terrace. Although they’re referred to as “wings” of the hotel, they are actually detached historic landmarks serving Grand Colonial as boutique hotels within a boutique hotel. Little Hotel by the Sea suites are one bedrooms and most have hardwood floors. Garden Terrace offers two-bedroom/two bath suites, two-bedroom/one bath suites, King junior suites that sleep four, and King suites that sleep two. All have hardwood floors and retro tile bathrooms.
Grande Colonial Hotel room and suite amenities include high-speed Internet, HDTV, ceiling fans, air conditioning, Keurig coffee makers, iHome docking stations, in-room massage, spa, and wellness services, and NINE-TEN room service. Extended stay suites also include ADA compliant suites, in-room laptop safes, ocean-view rooftop deck and loft overlooking the Pacific Ocean (Little Hotel only), private gardens, private lobby/reception area (Little Hotel only), evening turn-down service, and express check-in and check-out.
Room tip: The 93 rooms and suites differ widely in this historic hotel, so be specific in your requirements when making a reservation. Layouts of suites in Little Hotel by the Sea and Garden Terrace may be found on the hotel website.
Grande Colonial Hotel Amenities
Grande Colonial Hotel amenities include contactless smart card access keys for your convenience and safety. There is a heated outdoor pool with plush chaise lounges, free towel service, and Wi-Fi. Although there is no fitness center or spa on-site, the concierge can arrange for spa services in your room and for access to nearby fitness clubs within walking distance of the hotel. There is a wide array of concierge services provided by Grande Colonial, including every kind of local tour imaginable. You can rent bicycles for exploring the area by the hour or day. There are also electronic vehicle charging stations; valet parking is available for a daily fee.
Grande Colonial Hotel’s award-winning restaurant, NINE-TEN is under the direction of Iron Chef Jason Knibb and Pastry Chef Rachel King. The casually elegant farm-to-table restaurant sources produce from local artisan farmers, and herbs, greens, and vegetables from their own hydroponic vertical garden. Recognized as “extraordinary to perfection” by ZAGAT, both restaurant and chef have received numerous awards and accolades in the culinary world. Chef Knibb was named Chef of the Year for 2014, and NINE-TEN received a 2015 Gold Medallion Award for Best Hotel Restaurant/Fine Dining from the California Restaurant Association.
Grande Colonial Neighborhood
The seaside village of La Jolla, otherwise known as the jewel of San Diego County, sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Prospect Street is the heart of the La Jolla neighborhood, and Grande Colonial Hotel invites you to explore all it has to offer. You’ll find upscale boutique hotels, trendy clothing shops, art galleries, and antique and jewelry stores. The Museum of Contemporary Art at 700 Prospect Street is only two blocks from the hotel and a must-see attraction. Come for the art; stay for the panoramic views from the outdoor sculpture garden.
Follow Jenner Street from Grande Colonial Hotel down to Coast Boulevard and La Jolla Cove. You can explore the La Jolla caves through Sunny Jim’s Cave Store at 1325 Coast Boulevard, or by kayak on a guided tour that can be arranged with the hotel concierge. Tree-shaded Scripps Park is a great place for beautiful ocean views and interesting people-watching. Rent some gear and snorkel the cove with the bright orange Garibaldi fish. Watch the seals and sea lions lounging on the beach at the Children’s Pool. Explore La Jolla’s tide pools, or watch courageous surfers battle the waves at Windansea Beach made famous by the book The Pump House Gang.
Grande Colonial Promotions
Grande Colonial Hotel offers several ongoing specials and packages throughout the year. Promotions have included a free ocean-view upgrade, free suite upgrade, and an ocean view summer sale. Packages have included Stay Three and Save, Taste the Good Life, Suite Deal, and Bed & Breakfast. Check the website for current promotions.