Last Updated on March 12, 2023
Seaside fun meets California charm with a Balinese twist at Pantai Inn in La Jolla, a fascinating boutique hotel offering stunning Pacific Ocean views along the San Diego County coast.
I don’t know how many times my husband and I passed by this property over the years as we were driving along Coast Boulevard. Though we were curious, we’d never stopped in. The La Jolla Pantai Inn is, without a doubt, the hidden gem of this area.
We recently enjoyed a two-night stay. The luxurious, yet unpretentious oceanfront Balinese-inspired hideaway has a warm, relaxing atmosphere unlike any other place in town.
Pantai Inn in La Jolla has been named one of the distinguished small luxury hotels of the world and after a stay here, we completely understand why. After all, who doesn’t love being lulled to sleep by the rhythm of the crashing waves surrounded by stunning beauty and serenity?
History of La Jolla Pantai Inn
“Pantai” is named after a kind of fluffy, white sand found on Indonesian beaches, very similar to the sand found on La Jolla’s beaches.
Originally in the early 1900s, the La Jolla Pantai Inn was first known as the Shell Beach Motel. Founded by successful shoemaker Max Heimburge, who immigrated from Germany to open the motel, it featured turn-of-the-century cottages and Art Deco buildings.
The name eventually changed over the years to reflect the family’s love affair with the Balinese culture.
The landscape and décor throughout the property have all been hand-selected by family and the Inn is still owned and operated by Heimburge’s grandchildren, Laurnie Durisoe and Larry Jackman.
A few years ago, they oversaw an extensive and impressive renovation and redesign of the property.
Boutique Hotel in La Jolla
We toured the multi-leveled boutique hotel in La Jolla and its grounds with Duriscoe, who proudly pointed out all the property’s updates.
“After working so hard to restore the legacy that was our grandfather’s, it’s been a chance to create something that is now a real jewel for La Jolla,” she said. “We’ve taken these historic buildings and lovingly renovated them so they really shine. The joy for us is to see that our guests feel the same way we do about the results. They are so amazed — it’s so satisfying, and that is our ultimate reward.”
La Jolla Luxury Hotel
Even the check-in experience is unique at this La Jolla luxury hotel. Guests are seated at an ornate desk across from the Inn’s staff in a stunningly decorated lobby and given a full orientation to Pantai and the local area.
The Pantai Inn in La Jolla is located a bit off-the-beaten track, directly across the street from the palm trees and wide-open lawn of Ellen Browning Scripps Park and La Jolla Cove.
The lush gardens and exotic flora with soothing waterfalls provide a luxurious, but casual coastal setting. Accommodations at the 30-room La Jolla luxury hotel include ocean view studios and one-bedroom cottages up to three-bedroom suites.
The tropical-inspired property and rooms reflect the beauty and culture of Indonesia with impeccable authentic detail. Rooms are beautifully-appointed with Balinese furnishings, paintings, and other pieces reflective of the Indonesian islands.
Bedding and linens are of the highest quality and no detail has been overlooked. That includes an Amazon Alexa personal assistant that automatically voice connects to the front desk for questions or needs that arise during the stay.
Some suites even boast mini to fully-furnished kitchens.
Our one-bedroom queen postered bed ocean view suite included a spacious bathroom with dual rain showers, living room with fireplace, full kitchen, and dinette. It was cozy, romantic, and perfect for the two of us.
We also loved the extra attention of our complimentary bottles of red and white wine along with a tray of delightful chocolates as a welcome gift.
A delectable well-balanced buffet-style breakfast is included in the accommodation price, with impressive menus changing daily. Indoor and outdoor breakfast seating is available, all overlooking the majesty of the Pacific Ocean.
In the evening, guests at the Pantai Inn in La Jolla will find beautiful rattan seating scattered throughout the resort with firepits perfect for warding off the Pacific chill.
Location is Ideal
Location is important in an easily walkable town like La Jolla. This boutique hotel in La Jolla not only sits in the heart of the town’s coastal area, but also provides a personal driver taking guests to other popular La Jolla restaurants or venues and picking them up when finished. That’s an impressive service you won’t find at other places.
When all is said and done, there’s no better value offering the laid-back luxury and slice of paradise than the magnificent Pantai Inn in La Jolla. It’s wonderful to be so close to the ocean for lovely morning and evening walks – sunsets here are spectacular!