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A grande dame is what this place is, like one of those powdered but slightly too made up, overly attentive birdlike old ladies with a string of natural pearls. The problem is that the perfume is cloying. Frankly, this is a beautiful property if you’re into this kind of old money faded elegance, but, you see, we’re not.

Set in the heart of La Jolla by the Pacific, the Grande Colonial is an institution. It has been here so long that it rests comfortably on its laurels. The staff is ultra professional, engaging and extremely well trained. The common areas are luxurious in an old school way. The restaurant nine-ten has been very good for so long that NPS has even dined here multiple times. The chef is named Jason.

I was assigned suite 102 overlooking the pool and a parking lot. That kind of says it all. Parking lot?

102 entry and seating area

The shape of the room is strange. There are mirrors everywhere, even where they don’t belong. But it’s not a hamster cage!

seating area by the heater presided over by the giant TV

a comfortable poofy bed

The colors and muted and the style is dated in a vertical striped sort of way.

nope

The shower is a plastic tub with an obesity bar. Fortunately the shower curtain is not plastic, but still. These kinds of showers do nobody any good out there in the world. Lets replace them all. 1950s tile is cool.

A nightcap at the bar involved a Corpse Reviver #2 made by muscle memory with no sign of measurement. The non-measurement is a problem, because to do its magic, this drink must be precise. But everyone at the bar was very professional and friendly even as they slung drinks like they had done it forever.

Breakfast by the ocean was excellent. Sadly, it did take place on east coast time.

After mandatory conference fun was complete, we headed down to San Diego for dinner and a nightcap. A visit to Jsix was unremarkable and good. Funny that we had never tried Jsix before, because it is situated in the Salomar Hotel property chunk.

After dinner, Noble Experiment was on the docket. As always, the cocktails were remarkably delicious.

Here’s how to make a drink we invented called Bill’s Big Birthday Beverage:
1 oz cardamaro
1 oz ancho reyes
1 oz fresh orange juice
2 dashes habanero shrub (bittermens)
shake, serve on a big cube. no garnish.

In the meantime, three showerheads and a new perfume choice for Grande Colonial.

(Oh, and United airlines…I will not be flying you across the country any more after the return trip. Economy plus sucks on a cross continental route, even in an exit row aisle seat.)

Just a few years ago (OK ten) I used to come to San Diego all the time. I stayed at the fabulous Estancia La Jolla so often that they got to know me. But now that Kimpton is, well, Kimpton we figured we could try the Hotel La Jolla on this trip as an alternative. It’s pretty Kimptony!

Looks Kimpton-y in 906

Looks Kimpton-y in 906

You know how we feel about the hamster cage hotel design here at NPS. Hotel La Jolla is what happens when you spiffify and stylize the classic rectangle of doom into a Kimpton property. That means comfortable bedding, cool bathrooms, and nice flooring. But there is only so much you can do with a concrete shell of rectangles, and noise is a problem here at Hotel La Jolla. Like the highway traffic leaks through the door and the building “wakes up” in the morning. Reminds me of living in an apartment in Italy.

On the plus side, you can see the ocean in the morning, and the room is very comfortable in the usual Kimpton way. It feels like a Kimpton.

Then there is the shower! Very cool indeed. A glass cube between the bedroom and the bathroom. We like.

906 rectangle view includes clear shower

906 rectangle view includes clear shower

A nice note and a welcome amenity of cheese was in the room as a greeting. (Sadly, no crackers!)

Karma welcome

Karma welcome

More on that shower, which incidentally has great water pressure too.

Looking in.

Looking in.

Looking out.

Looking out.

And then there is the Pacific ocean.

Night from the balcony.

Night from the balcony.

Day from the balcony

Day from the balcony

A high four showerheads for Hotel La Jolla.

Well almost. After a really yummy dinner at Herringbone during which we taught the barman Victor how to make a Broken Bike, we headed back to Hotel La Jolla for a nightcap. It was 9:15. The bar was staffed but closed. No service for us and no money for the Kimpton bar program.

So, miffed, we went back to Herringbone bar to close it down with Victor. Turns out it was Victor’s first night ever behind the bar (and not doing backbar). Negroni, Pappy 10, perhaps some Fernet Branca? Nice time.

Morning in La Jolla.