The Lodge at Torrey Pines offers serenity, natural beauty, and a gamut of activities
The biggest names in professional golf know it. Seasoned destination shoppers who visit California’s La Jolla region keep returning to it. And outdoor enthusiasts who simply want to get away for a weekend of hiking, biking or paragliding have discovered it. It’s the Lodge at Torrey Pines.
This relaxed, upscale 170-room hotel and resort was recently ranked among the top 120 hotels in the U.S., receiving a AAA Five Diamond Award in January.
“There’s no pretentious attitude,” says general manager Bill Gross. Guests receive service that he describes as “confident, but in a very relaxed style.”
The location of The Lodge at Torrey Pines is one of its best assets. Set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean just north of San Diego, the seven-acre resort is adjacent to the famed Torrey Pines Golf Club, which hosted a Professional Golf Association event in 2008 and will welcome back the biggest names on the PGA tour in 2021. The property is also next to the Torrey Pines State Reserve, a 2,000-acre natural preserve that includes miles of untouched beaches and a network of trails. The reserve, which offers guided nature walks, is also home to its namesake, the Torrey pine, a tree that is indigenous only to the immediate area and nearby Santa Rosa Island. The needles on this species of pine are uniquely formed in clusters of five. It was named in 1850, the year California became a state, after botanist John Torrey.
This connection with nature is also part of the Lodge’s charm, Gross explains. The architecture of the hotel is styled in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts tradition. It’s one of the first things visitors notice. “The style of our property is such that the beauty of the wood brings the outdoors indoors,” Gross says. “There’s a sense of tranquility.”
But that sense of calmness has its counter-weight: activity. “There are just so many activities to do here. It is what people live here for and travel here to do,” Gross says. “San Diego is a destination for running, biking and cycling.”
It’s also a great place from which to visit nearby attractions. The Lodge is about five minutes from the Torrey State Beach and the La Jolla shore beaches. The Del Mar racetrack, which features thoroughbred horse racing from July to mid-September and during most of November, is nearby. And for those who are into hang gliding and paragliding – what Gross calls “one of the signatures of the area” – the Lodge is minutes from the glider port.
Del Mar and La Jolla village areas are also popular shopping destinations. And not to be overlooked are the museums, the nearby SeaWorld and Legoland theme parks, and the Birch Aquarium.
“There’s something for everyone here,” Gross says, adding that the resort offers a complimentary chauffeur service to take guests to and from a list of destinations in the area.
One thing that guests might not want to venture too far for, Gross says, is the food. The resort has two restaurants that are not just popular with guests but attract a large clientele of local residents, a testament to their quality, he adds.
The Lodge’s signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien, is named after artist Albert R. Valentien, whose original paintings are on display throughout the hotel and restaurant. In fact, the works of a number of artists are featured throughout the resort, with the artists lending their names to the meeting rooms and conference halls.
The other restaurant is The Grill, which features a 30-foot fireplace and rotisserie grill in the centre. “It’s the first thing you notice,” Gross says. “It’s massive. It’s almost big enough to be a lighthouse.”
The wood-fired rotisserie produces a number of delectable dishes by head chef Jeff Jackson, a pioneer of what is known as the “farm to table” movement that draws on a tradition of preparing meals using the freshest items available according to season.
Beauty, pampering, comfort and the paradoxical combination of serenity and activity make the Lodge at Torrey Pines a go-to destination in the San Diego region.
IF YOU GO
* The Lodge at Torrey Pines is in La Jolla, a 20-minute drive from the San Diego International Airport. Take Interstate highway 5 heading north to La Jolla and exit at Genesee Ave., which becomes North Torrey Pines Rd.
* If you plan a round of golf, book early. The Lodge can offer guests priority tee times. The Torrey Pines Golf Course also offers club rentals if you are travelling without your golf equipment.
* Take your walking shoes to enjoy a hike through the Torrey Pines State Reserve. There are guided walking tours twice daily. Even those who are not conditioned for a vigorous hike, will enjoy the experience.
* Do consider an evening at the nearby La Jolla Playhouse, a Tony-award-winning professional non-profit theatre. Many of the productions staged here move to Broadway.
* Visit the beach. Several beaches are nearby, including the Torrey Pine State Beach. They are not quite within walking distance, but drivers at the Lodge are ready to drop and pick up guests, free of charge.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 North Torrey Pines Rd.,
La Jolla, California 92037