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“gorgeous grounds, lovely service”

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Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Ranked #9 of 24 Hotels in La Jolla
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed July 1, 2006

My husband and I just spent one night at Estancia (July 1st-2nd). My expectations were just ‘so-so’ after reading some of these reviews but we turned out to be REALLY impressed! Unless you are accustomed to full-on celebrity treatment and are already living a life of 5 star service, you will absolutely love this place! Yes, they do charge a weird $17 parking fee and $9 hospitality fee, but other than that we had absolutely no complaints.

The sprawling grounds were gorgeous and lushly landscaped, the Mustangs Bar and Grill had a live mariachi band which we enjoyed as we had tapas and margaritas outside by the fireplace, and every staff member we encountered was so friendly and helpful. The rooms and common areas were immaculately clean and furnished in a sort of 'Pottery Barn hacienda style'. The pool area felt very luxurious with the cabanas and palm trees and even though it was hopping with kids on a holiday weekend, it was still a totally relaxing environment.

As resorts go in terms of beautiful SoCal getaways, I would compare the Estancia to the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna. No, the Estancia isn't right on the ocean, but it’s significantly cheaper and you can drive to a number of beaches in less than 5 minutes. Make sure to check out the Torrey Pines State Beach - amazing cliffs, clean sand and rolling waves - great for swimming and sunbathing. Then in the town of La Jolla there are the Cove beaches which are fun for snorkeling, kayaking, looking at sea life in the tide pools, and great pictures. We definitely recommend it!

  • Stayed: July 2006
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2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,319 - 1,325 of 1,430 reviews

Reviewed June 29, 2006

We stayed at Estancia during my niece's UCSD orientation weekend because it was within meters of the campus. We were impressed by the colorful gardens and headed straight for the spa where we had made appointments that morning. When we got there the receptionist informed us that our appointments were mistakenly scheduled for the following day, which happened to be the day we were leaving. She offered no apology for the mistake even though she was the one who spoke to me on the phone at the time that I made the appointments. She really didn't offer any other solution other than suggesting that we try another spa. We were really disappointed about missing out on the massages, so when we went to check into our rooms we told the concierge about our spa mishap and asked if she could recommend another spa in the area. She was really sympathetic and helpful and immediately picked up the phone and scheduled appointments for us at their sister property Hotel Valencia. She saved the day!
Our hotel room was kind of small, but it was clean, sunny and comfortable and I liked the tiny private patio. The bathroom was spacious and bright, too. Later that night we went for a swim in the heated pool and relaxed in the little cabanas which was fun. We were looking forward to the breakfast at the Adobe Restaurant the next morning because it was voted one of the Best of La Jolla. We were once again disappointed. Service was insanely slow and none of us got quite what we orded. For example, I ordered the poached egg with spinach and it was supposed to have crispy pancetta, but the cook forgot to put the pancetta in- that was supposed to be the best part. When I told the waiter, he apologized and rushed back into the kitchen. I assumed he was bringing me a new order because he was gone for so long, but when he finally returned, he placed a small plate of oily bacon in front of me! To add insult to injury, our breakfast for 4 ran us over a $100 for messed up eggs, bland breakfast potatoes and OJ!
I don't know what AAA was thinking when they gave this place a 4 diamond rating. Other than the room rates, nothing at this hotel beckoned 4 diamonds!

  • Stayed: May 2006
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4  Thank bhatnaa1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2006

My husband and I just returned from a trip to San Diego and a 4 day stay at La Estancia. We had pricelined this hotel and were quite worried after reading these reviews. Unfortunately, the reviews proved to be accurate.

While we were glad to receive a complimentary glass of champagne upon arrival, we too were disappointed to discover the $17/day parking fee ($22 if you valet which would be silly to do since parking is right outside your door!) and a $9/day "hospitality fee" which covers daily newspaper delivery, "high speed" internet and coffee service. I did notice you could opt out of the newspaper, but that would would have saved you only $0.25 per day. I would have expected a parking fee if we were staying in the heart of downtown San Diego, but as the Estancia is outside the city and even outside of La Jolla, the parking fee just seems like an opportunity to hit you up for more money.

We were fortunate enough to receive a room on the 3rd floor with a balcony overlooking the courtyard area. However, there was only one chair out on the balcony and a small table -- doesn't do much good in a room for two! The room was spacious enough for us, but I will agree with previous posters that the walls are thin. We could hear the showers and TVs from the rooms nextdoor. The bathroom was a nice size (separate toilet area from the tub/sink area) and the ammenities were nice, but the towels were about as soft as sandpaper!

And speaking of towels... one evening we headed out to the pool/hot tub area. We were disappointed to see used towels strewn about everywhere. By 9:00 at night I would have thought someone would have been through to pick up the towels or that there would have at least been an area to drop off towels rather than just leaving them out.

Lastly, the last words we would use to describe the internet access as would be "high speed." If you are trying to get work done and need to use the internet, think again! The internet was much slower than dial-up unless you waited until after 10:00 at night to get online.

Overall, the hotel was clean and we were greeted warmly, but being pinched for money at every chance they could get left us with a bad taste in our mouth. We do not intend on returning to La Estancia anytime soon.

  • Stayed: June 2006
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7  Thank cw529
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2006

My husband and I stayed at Estancia over the Thanksgiving weekend. Thank goodness for our Thanksgiving dinner at Torrey Pines (where we'll be staying next time), or the weekend would have been a complete loss.

Noise: The builders sure made a lot of money on this one, because the walls must be made of cardboard. You can hear your neighbors above and on the sides, you can hear everyone in the hallway (even when not directly outside your door), and you can hear TVs, heating and a/c from all adjoining rooms as they rumble through your room and ripple through your ceiling and walls. If you must stay here, insist on a top floor room (3rd Floor, I believe) to minimize overhead noise.

Room Size: Hardly the square footage promoted (300 sq ft). You practically bang your knees on the armoire (TV set holder) as you pass by the foot of the bed. The hallway is a total waste, and the patio is a joke.

Room Furnishings: There was a huge stain on the lampshade; there was no lamp or light provided in the area of the suitcase dolly, so you rummaged in your bag in the dark. The TV was so very small and made a huge buzzing sound if it was muted. No regular blankets were provided, just sweat making, hot acrylic ones. Only 3 towels and 3 pillows were provided for 2 people. The bathroom light could only be turned on with the fan, which was so loud (I mean really loud) that a relaxing bath was impossible unless you wanted to bathe in the dark.

Dining: In the restaurant, we asked what time dinner was served. We were told half an hour. In the bar, we ordered a drink in the bar. It never arrived. We went back to the restaurant half an hour later. We were told dinner wasn't being served for another half hour. Having already been given incorrect information once, we checked with a third restaurant employee who told us that dinner was not for another hour. Two wrong answers and an undelivered drink - that's how we ended up at the Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Pool/Jacuzzi: The area was a mess, there were no towels, and there was no one from whom to get towels.

Just Plain Tacky: The $17 parking charge, the $9 Hospitality Fee.

Save your money for any other resort or hotel. There are tons of good ones in San Diego; this is definitely not one of them. (P.S. - Sorry for the lag time between staying and reviewing. We moved, and I just unpacked my two pages of notes on our "vacation.")

Stayed: October 2005
8  Thank CorporateKitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2006

We stayed at the Estancia for our anniversary. This is our second visit to the hotel and boy has it gone downhill! Last year the service and staff were impeccable. This year, they seemed understaffed and unprofessional.
1) We originally asked for an upgraded room and then decided to spend our money at the spa. We called 2 days before our arrival and requested a regular room. When we got to the hotel, they informed us they were sold out and that we had to take the upgraded room. And in good faith we did, because we were told a manager would look into the situation (you'd expect that from a 4 star place). Of course no one ever resolved our situation and we ended up paying $100 extra. 2 phone calls and 1 letter to the GM Mr. Lama went unanswered, and our credit dispute was rejected. Nice!
2) The women's spa resembled a gym locker room. 100% disgusting - towels, cups, water spilled everywhere. We agreed with a few other guests at the pool (who had similar spa complaints) that this was our last visit to the hotel.
3) We ordered room service to deliver breakfast within a 15 minute window - they were over 30 mins late. No aplogies, just a "sorry, there are a lot of stairs to walk up." Fantastic attitude!
In summary, don't bother coming here. This is not a classy joint so don't be fooled and pay the high prices. Go to the La Valencia instead.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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12  Thank retaks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2006

My husband and I stayed at the Estancia for our honeymoon and we had a great experience. Our room was really nice and comfortable.. the bathroom was huge. The style of the hotel has a Spanish flair to it and really adds to your experience in San Diego/La Jolla. We went to the concierge to ask about the area and what restaurants were good, etc. The staff was so helpful, they gave us several hints and first hand experiences of different places they'd been to, and also went through tour books with us.
Our room had a garden view which was really pretty and we were quite happy with. Each room has a balcony with a great view into the garden.
I would recommend staying in La Jolla as opposed to San Diego even though you're visiting San Diego because you avoid a lot of traffic but still get to see all the good tourist spots. I whole-heartedly recommend the Estancia of La Jolla, we had a wonderful experience!

  • Stayed: November 2005
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4  Thank Nadia K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Los Angeles
Reviewed April 17, 2006

My husband and I stayed at the hotel for what we thought was going to be a relaxing getaway. We stayed in one of the most expensive rooms in the garden courtyard area. The courtyard was pretty and the room was nice, although a little small. We loooked forward to sleeping in and relaxing. The problem began at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning when we began to hear voices and clacking noises outside on the lawn area. We looked out to see that hotel workers were setting up chairs on the lawn area - looked like for a wedding. We couldn't believe it! Within just a short time our wonderful view and tranquility was destroyed as the entire lawn was set up for a large wedding.
We assumed it was for a noon wedding and hoped that the commotion would soon be gone but we were completely taken aback to hear that the wedding wasn't until 5:00 p.m.!! Too bad for all of us guests who paid the big bucks for the "beautiful" view/courtyard rooms!! Disgusted, we soon left to spend the day in the village and didn't return until after 5:30 p.m. On the way back in we saw yet another wedding just finishing in another area of the hotel on a separate grassy/view area! As we returned to our room, one of the hotel workers could see we weren't happy - there were wedding guests everywhere - and we replied, "We didn't know we were booking at a wedding mill."
Believe the reviews... The grounds and rooms are nice but not spectacular and not worth the price. Also, they are trying to market this place as a relaxing spa retreat, which it is not - especially if you are there during the summer with all of the weddings.
If you really want to stay at a top notch place, go to the nearby Lodge at Torrey Pines: large rooms with balconies, beautiful grounds, truly relaxing, outstanding service and superb cuisine. Nice hiking nearby as well.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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
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 Spa Hotel in La Jolla
#2 Green Hotel in La Jolla
#4 Business Hotel in La Jolla
#5 Romantic Hotel in La Jolla
#5 Luxury Hotel in La Jolla
#6 Family Hotel in La Jolla
Price Range: $263 - $485 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 La Jolla
Estancia La Jolla Hotel And Spa

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