I had never stayed at La Valencia before, and to be honest, had been put off by some of the reviews that said it needed upgrades. On previous trips, we'd stayed at the Grande Colonial, but it was fully booked this time. I'd heard that there'd been a recent refurbishment of La Valencia and thought I'd give it a try, because I always enjoy visiting historic hotels.
There was some construction going on to renovate the entrance and restaurant, so when I arrived I was a bit worried. But once I stepped into the lobby and saw the gorgeous cocktail lounge with its ocean view, and was greeted with such warmth at the front desk, I knew this was going to be a nice stay. Then, to top it off ... they upgraded me to an ocean-view suite in the newly renovated wing that was once the Cabrillo Hotel.
That suite: what a splendid view! Spacious. Comfortable. A bathroom with both a shower and a bath/jacuzzi. (I had Room 204.)
I truly felt this was a luxury experience. I know others have complained that the regular rooms were small, so if you can afford it, I highly recommend upgrading to one of the oceanview suites.
Valets were quick and helpful with the car. In the cocktail lounge, I enjoyed a martini and oysters, surrounded by the glory of old La Jolla. I dined in the restaurant for breakfast -- and surprise surprise, they served cappuccino that could rival cafes in Italy (and I admit it, I'm a coffee snob.)
This hotel completely exceeded my expectations. Would come back in a second.