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“Solid But Not Quite 5 Stars”

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Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Ranked #6 of 24 Hotels in La Jolla
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Orange County, California
Level Contributor
104 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
“Solid But Not Quite 5 Stars”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

We stayed at the Estancia for 2 nights for a company event. Although we enjoyed ourselves I felt like the hotel was just slightly off.

First the positive. The hotel and grounds are absolutely stunning. It is quite spread out with multiple courtyards, all of which are beautifully landscaped. It is a beautiful place to wander around.

I also was able to use the spa on two separate days and really enjoyed both visits. The spa was beautiful and the treatments were great. The spa staff was outstanding.

I was able to use the gym which was very nice (I forgot my headphones and they provided a nice pair that I even got to keep!) and had the basics for a workout. The pool area was nice with various seating areas in case you want to be a little away from the water. The outside bar was, again, beautiful, and comfortable. The food that we had was very good.

The room was fine, nothing super unusual. I was happy that there was a coffee/tea maker as I always make use.

The less positive: we found the customer service to be a bit spotty. The bar area seemed ill-equipped on multiple occasions to handle our large group even though there was more than enough room on the terrace for us all. I also was less than pleased with the lady who checked us in. She showed us a map of the property and I expressed concern as it appeared that our room backed to the main road that leads to the hotel. She assured me that it did not and that the area was very quiet. We got to our room, no surprise, as I suspected based on the map - our section was the closest you could be to Torrey Pines and in fact we did hear traffic noise at night from time to time. If you can't reassign me that's is fine, but don't tell me something that is 100% incorrect.

As I indicated earlier, the hotel is quite spread out. As a result it took some time to get back and forth to the room and the layout was quite confusing. It was never clear what the best route was; take a wrong turn and you miss the elevator. Plus, for security you have to use your key several times as you move from building to building which is not a huge deal but is inconvenient.

All in all, it was a good stay but there were just enough little issues that I felt like it was a bit of a miss with room for improvement particularly in the service department.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SarahInSoCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EstanciaHotelManager, Manager at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
Thank you for the review and for calling the Spa “outstanding”. We shared your comments with the Spa team who were thrilled to read your review. We are sorry that your check-in experience was not entirely smooth. I can assure you that your experience is not indicative of our service culture and practices here on property and we will certainly follow up with the front office team. Again we thank you for choosing Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa.
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English first
Corpus Christi, Texas
Level Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed August 26, 2013

I am over 70 years old and am retired. I stayed solo for 31 nights (the month of July 2013) in a comfortable and quiet room in the middle of the second floor. The room was not sound proof. Now and then I would hear housekeepers banging on guestroom doors in the morning, but this did not bother me. Late one night, I heard snoring from one neighboring room and an infant crying from another, but was able to fall back asleep.
Housekeepers daily cleaned my guestroom with en suite bathroom flawlessly. However, some ignored the hotel's green policy and replaced towels that were not left on the bathroom floor. And some kept putting two sets of fresh towels on the rack under the sink, believing that only two people stayed in a guestroom. (The bathroom en suite was spacious, had a separate closet for a toilet, had ventilation to clear mist quickly from the mirror over the sink, and had a combination shower tub with slip resistant surface and a superb shower head.)
Breakfast (and lunch) was held in a dining room that gave a wonderful view for diners keeping warm inside and allowed other diners to eat outside while wearing sweaters or windbreakers. I chose to take the continental breakfast buffet (cereals, cut fruit, berries, breads, pastries, yogurt, juices, milk, tea, coffee). I told the outlet manager I had enjoyed at another hotel a continental breakfast buffet that included a hard boiled egg, and he included a hard boiled egg in my continental breakfast every day without additional charge.
Dining in the evening was held in a different dining room. The evening dining room kept diners sitting inside cold: only one table was close to a fireplace, windows were left open, and opposite doors were left wide open for the convenience of servers. Some tables inside were well lit, but others were dark.
Evening dining service was spotty: one evening, I placed my order in just before a large group of resident guest athletes came in while another two guest at a nearby table gave their order after the large group of athletes had placed their orders. I was served my food quickly, but the two guests near me waited an hour without receiving their cooked food and then had to complain.
The cooking was not reliable: one evening I received the salmon platter with no non-starchy vegetables, and another evening I received the salmon platter with a very small amount of non-starchy vegetables.
The recipes for the evening platters were defective: the executive chef and the restaurant chef appear to believe one may have a healthy platter with hardly any non-starchy vegetables. One evening, I ordered a chicken pot pie that the menu promised to contain carrots, and the pot pie served to me had only two bits of a carrot, each bit was smaller than a pea.
Very soon, I stopped dining at night at the Estancia La Jolla. Instead, I dined at the Golfers Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines or at the dining room at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. Dining in the evening at either of these places gave me a warm place inside to eat always at a well lit table and enjoy a platter with an adequate portion of non-starchy vegetables.
I e-mailed the General Manager (GM) of the Estancia about my concerns about evening dining at the Estancia. I suggested he take his food and beverage managers to the Lodge at Torrey Pines and to the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. (Why not learn from your competitors?) He replied saying renovations would soon be done to the evening dining room at the Estancia.
At the end of one breakfast at the Estancia I learned the Estancia used a Point of Sale credit card processor (POS) that had a software bug: occasionally no receipt is printed for the customer. I e-mailed the Estancia GM urging him to get another POS. The GM never replied to my e-mail. (The outlet manager successfully worked around the software bug of the POS: he zeroed out the charge that the POS did not receipt and entered my credit card for a second charge that the POS did receipt.)
The Estancia has a small building that guests access with a guestroom key for a business center. The business center is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. No charge is made to guests for the use of its equipment. It has two PCs that are connected to the internet and that share two printers. The internet speed was very slow. When one tried printing to the black printer (the default), one often received a printer error. When one chose the option to print on the white printer, one's data printed. A plethora of cables spread about the business center. Some cables connected to one device may have not been connected to another.
The Director of Front Office Operations (DFOO) came in the business center once to fix a problem and told me he believed some guests were disconnecting a cable to do their work and failing to restore the connections. Various parts of Estancia organization entered into the business center at times to fix problems: employees reporting to the DFOO, engineering employees, and employees from the outside Information Technology contractor.
I failed to e-mail the GM of the Estancia to report on the unbelievable business center at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. One evening after dining at the Hilton, I discovered the business center was out in the open in the front lobby. Anyone wandering into the front lobby of the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines could use the business center. The Hilton business center had an Apple personal computer on the left and a Microsoft / IBM personal computer on the right. Both personal computers shared one printer. No cables were in sight. The business center at the Hilton was compact and took the same floor space as the bathtub in the bathroom of my guestroom at the Estancia. Many evenings, I dined at the Hilton and then spent time at the business center there, even learning a little on how to use an Apple. The speed of the internet at the Hilton business center was great.
The Estancia had one concierge. She had the title "Chef Concierge" and was president of the San Diego association of concierges. She spoke fluently both English and Spanish. She won friends easily and helped me a couple of times fix matters at the Estancia outside her area. When she had a day off, one of two substitutes came in.
The concierge's directions were at times incorrect. The name of a salon that cut men's hair had one name on the concierge's directions, but had another name in the shopping center it was in. Her directions that a freeway was the exit from Interstate 5 heading south to go to the San Diego zoo, but the next exit, Pershing Avenue, was the better exit. Her directions heading north to the Lodge at Torrey Pines said to go one intersection north of the lodge and then make a U-turn, but one may make a right loop and go through an underpass to head west directly into the lodge. Even her directions heading north back to the Estancia said to turn left into Salk Institute Drive and make a U-turn when one may make a left turn at a left-turn light directly into the main entrance of the Estancia.
The Estancia concierge has no library for guests to browse through. The library could have menus of various restaurants. A couple of area maps she gave me (La Jolla and Del Mar) could be there. Perhaps the library may have brochures of a few sights.
The Estancia has only valet parking. I found the men parking my rental car were courteous and efficient. I rented an intermediate sized car from the Enterprise Rental car office in La Jolla. One needs a car in La Jolla.
The men who valet park also take and retrieve luggage for guests. The man taking me to my guestroom the day I arrived showed me how to operate the TV. He was not completely trained on operating the complex thermostats in guestrooms. The next day, an engineering employee showed me how to set TWO switches on the thermostat to "Auto" so the fan came on only when the room was being cooled or warmed.
Guestrooms are on three floors at the Estancia. The lobby and front desk are on the top floor. Each floor has several corridors. One uses his guestroom key to open a door to enter a corridor, walks through the corridor, pushes a door to exit the corridor, and walks outside to the next corridor. One day early during my stay, I discovered several corridor doors were not working: one would stick open, and another would close but not lock.
Early in my stay, I explored the outside swimming pool and the adjacent spa. The pool has a few doors to its enclosure, and each door is opened by a guestroom key. I discovered one door to the swimming pool enclosure would close but not lock. I was concerned about the children of guests wandering into the swimming pool enclosure. A marketing manager in the Executive Suite ensured that Engineering promptly repaired the swimming pool door.
The Estancia La Jolla has much business because of its location: it is on the west side of the campus of the University of California at San Diego and has biotech institutes and companies on the north (Salk and Scripps). The Estancia has many professionals coming just for breakfast or just for an evening preplanned meal.
The Estancia has much business because of the exterior beauty of its buildings and of the beauty of its botanical garden. Weddings are celebrated there.
I do not recommend the Estancia for guests coming for an extended time or for a vacation. If not focused for a professional meeting or for a social celebration, a guest will gradually become disappointed by the management of the hotel.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Retired_Preacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EstanciaHotelManager, Manager at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 30, 2013
Thank you for the thorough review. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay overall, and we thank you for the positive feedback on our guest rooms, gardens, breakfast offerings and the valet team. We have shared your feedback with the operations team and will follow up on all of the matters that you addressed. Thank you again for choosing Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa for your summer vacation.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2013

My wife and I were in town for a wedding being held at he estancia. We really enjoyed the 4 days we spent at the hotel. The staff was fantastic and very polite. The event staff was great to work with and the grounds looked amazing. Overall a great experience all around.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ben O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2013 via mobile

I didn't want to leave. We stayed here for a wedding and everything was so beautiful and the service was top notch. It is a hidden gem that I can't wait to visit again. The restaurants have great food and atmosphere. The layout of the hotel is one of a kind and once you figure it out, you really appreciate its uniqueness. Perfect place to stay for a romantic getaway.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Moosie11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EstanciaHotelManager, Manager at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2013
We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your recent stay. Thank you for the review! We appreciate the comments on our restaurants and our unique layout. We hope to welcome you back soon- perhaps for a romantic getaway?
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
61 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

Was it Emily Browning or Emily Bronte (?) who once said, "I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind." One weekend stay at Estancia made me feel that way, I could feel the serenity of holiday gushing through my veins and penetrating my aura. I was at all times either completely relaxed, clear-minded, highly conscious, or aroused. Check-in, be prompt to accept any complimentary champagne should any be offered at the moment. Upgrading to a veranda room is enriching. Hit the pool, have a drink on your side table. Great walking distance to local sight-seeing beaches and a 10-minute drive to "Marine Room," among my five favorite restaurants. No socks in sandals at this classy venue (not unless you want to stand out like a turd); bring a pair of tennis shoes, loafers and one pair of flip-flops. Ladies, bring your stilettos and your pumps as an extra pair.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Life_of_Sean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EstanciaHotelManager, Manager at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a nice review. We are happy that you found serenity here at our hotel. Thank you for your feedback on your arrival experience and your time at the pool. The Marine Room is indeed wonderful and we’re glad you found the close proximity to La Jolla Shores convenient for these kinds of off-property adventures. We hope to welcome you back soon.
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EL DORADO HILLS
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2013

Service made us feel like we were in a far more expensive establishment. Very comfy bath robes. Good quality breakfast with extensive buffet or very well prepared a la carte items. Nice view of the pool from our room; landscaping makes it appear that the property is isolated. Very quiet. Speedy valet parking. Very accommodating: our daughter arrived unexpectedly and the hotel immediately placed a roll-away bed in our room. High quality amenities

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tonyb48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EstanciaHotelManager, Manager at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2013
Thank you so much for the review. We are happy that you enjoyed the amenities including our new bath robes and speedy valet service. Thank you for the feedback on your experience at Adobe El Restaurante, we are so glad you enjoyed breakfast!
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Peters Township, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2013

The hotel has lucious plantings but the rooms (atleast the one we stayed in) are just slightly above average. We did not find outstanding service with the exception of Peter who seemed to have several jobs (bellman, valet, etc). The pool area is nice but not large and was unindated with screaming children. We love kids, but it drove away several adults and we actually had to complain one day, we couldn't take it anymore. This is afterall a Resort and Spa, not the Holiday Inn. My daughter and I both had Spa appointments, mine was a lovely Facial. Hers however was a hot stone massage that was so painful, she was bruised afterward. I was disappointed she didn't say something to her masuess. I gave it 4 stars for the beautiful atmosphere and location (next to the Glider Port and 15 mins from downtown San Diego, 5 minutes from Torrey Pines). Be careful if you book through a 3rd party and have a credit for things like breakfast and spa, they will not automatically take it off your bill.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PittMonkeygirly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EstanciaHotelManager, Manager at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 15, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review and thank you for recognizing Peter as an outstanding part of our team. We apologize that your experience was less than perfect. I have addressed several of your comments with the respective team leaders who will follow up with their staff to see where we went wrong and how we can do better next time. As for your daughter’s spa treatment- a hot stone massage does not apply pressure, but it is common for there to be slight red marks from the heat for up to 12 hours on people with sensitive skin. We are so sorry that she was in pain, please encourage her to let her therapist know next time if there is any discomfort, they appreciate the feedback and want to ensure she has a pleasant and relaxing experience. Please feel free to reach out to our Spa Director if you have any further questions or concerns.
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Additional Information about Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Property: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Address: 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-1102
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego > La Jolla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in La Jolla
#3 Spa Hotel in La Jolla
#4 Business Hotel in La Jolla
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Jolla
#5 Romantic Hotel in La Jolla
#6 Family Hotel in La Jolla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 210
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A California-coastal rancho setting on 10 acres conveniently located between the two quaint seaside villages of La Jolla and Del Mar and adjacent to world-class Torrey Pines Golf Course, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa offers a range of upscale accommodations from charming rancho style deluxe rooms to expansive suites with world-class facilities and exceptional service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Estancia La Jolla Hotel And Spa
Estancia La Jolla Hotel La Jolla

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