When you’re staying at La Jolla’s top hotel as ranked on TripAdvisor, you have certain expectations. The Pantai Inn delivered all we expected and more. Much, much more.
Our first task was to identify where La Jolla is because we generally lump geography all together with the phrase San Diego area. La Jolla is an affluent community set along the Pacific Ocean in the northern part of San Diego. If you’re looking for sweeping ocean views, rugged bluffs, and sandy beaches, head to La Jolla for your stay.
Located across from La Jolla Park on Coast Boulevard which, as its name suggests, is the road directly along the coastline, the Pantai Inn is a pleasant blend of luxurious Balinese decor, a rugged beachfront location, and modern amenities.
We stayed in a one-bedroom oceanview suite (#108), a huge suite that had a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom with rain shower and copper sink, bedroom, a casual dining area with a pull-down Murphy-style bed, a more formal dining area, living room with television and fireplace, work area with couch and desk, and a front porch that looked out at the ocean. The back door led to the garden area that included a fire pit, seating area with heat lamps, and access to the breakfast area and property office. The inn is romantic enough for a couple, yet spacious enough for a family. A friend joined us for a bottle of wine one evening and said that he had no idea that the inn existed, adding further that it would be a great place for several families to plan a summer vacation. I agree!
Amenities and services for all rooms and the Pantai Inn include a complimentary daily breakfast, complimentary off street parking, complimentary wi-fi, afternoon and evening coffee/tea service in the dining area, twice daily housekeeping service, and access the beautiful outdoor grounds. For further relaxation, ask the concierge to arrange for an in-suite spa treatment as you look out at the ocean. Bliss.
The suites are situated around a central courtyard located directly behind the main office. The office was finishing up some renovations while we were there – they added an area for guests to gather for wine and cheese in the evening – which will make a great addition to the property. Authentic Balinese statues and fountains are placed throughout the grounds, along with beautiful plumeria and hibiscus. The courtyard has a seating area with tables and chairs for outdoor dining (a great spot for breakfast), or to sit and look out at the ocean (much of the courtyard has an ocean view). If the evening has a bit of a chill, heat lamps provide additional warmth. Just off the courtyard is a fire pit surrounded by additional seating. The courtyard and suite placement creates intimate zones of privacy – we knew there were other guests there as we saw them around the courtyard in the evening – yet we felt we were in our own private paradise.
Pantai Inn also offers a variety of other accommodations, including two and three-bedroom suites, as well as studios. They also offer one and two bedroom cottages, designed for longer stays.
Although there are full kitchens in the suites and cottages, other than the included breakfast, there is not a restaurant on property. If you’re traveling with a family or have strict dietary considerations, preparing your own meals may not only be handy but it will stretch the budget. After we arrived we picked up some wine and snacks, but our plans involved sampling the local restaurants, not cooking.
La Jolla Village is an easy walk up a couple flights of step from the inn. It’s safe and well lit at night, and we had no trepidation about walking in the area, day or not (using sensible precautions, of course). We were there mid-week and didn’t need reservations for any of the restaurants. If you have difficulty, however, the front desk offered assistance, as well as making some suggestions when we weren’t certain where we wanted to go. Pretty much everything you’ll need is within walking distance – restaurants, bars, shopping, salons, gift shops, clothing, and more. The vibe is casual, very beachy, and casual attire is welcome at most restaurants. While the shopping vibe is equally casual, it is most definitely upscale.
If you want to get farther than the Village, or if accessibility is an issue, the inn has a car that can squire you around the local area.
Since you’re staying AT the beach, you’ll want to go beyond enjoying the view and actually get to the beach. It’s easy! Just walk across the street! You’ll be greeted with the sound of crashing waves, views of the coastline in both directions (follow the paved pathway to explore more), and various stairways and access points to get down to the beach. You’ll likely also be greeted by the raucous serenade of sea lions. A large colony of these protected creatures lives on the beach and we enjoyed looking at how lazy they are on land and how graceful and frisky they are in the water.
It’s easy to see why the Pantai Inn is a visitor favorite. We were charmed from the outset.
The Pantai Inn is located at 1003 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla, California. It’s about a half hour drive from the airport to the inn, depending on traffic.
Rates start around $350 per night for a studio, $500 per night for a one bedroom ocean view, and $650 per night for a three bedroom suite. Rates include parking, daily breakfast, and wi-fi. Compare rates at Expedia or Travelocity.