Rosy beginnings and fabled acquisitions. Lavish openings and glamorous settings. From the very beginning, La Valencia left its mark on La Jolla and the world.
La Valencia opened its doors as an apartment hotel on December 15, 1926. While its first name, Los Apartmentos de Sevilla, was not widely used, the new apartment hotel in La Jolla was designed to integrate the finest elements of various styles of the Spanish school of architecture. The architect, Reginald Johnson, was a local man known for his integrity and knowledge of classic Spanish architecture. In 1926, with an uncertain future and great potential for failure, La Valencia’s owners, MacArthur Gorton and Roy, went out on a financial limb to build it for approximately $200,000. Despite all obstacles, the apartment-hotel opened and in a very short time things seemed to be coming up roses.
The grand opening of La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla was a lavish affair. It was the beginning of a golden era in Hollywood, and its co-owner, MacArthur Gorton, had moving picture connections; he knew the value of Hollywood’s endorsement of the hotel. To Hollywood, La Jolla was an undiscovered, unspoiled “jewel,” and its beaches and cliffs were often used for location shots. Hollywood’s stars, the nation’s Gods and Goddesses of the day, used (and still do) La Valencia as a hideout from hectic Hollywood pressures.
Imagine yourself at the main gate of La Valencia on that sunny Saturday, December 1926. As you enter, you cross the lobby and pass newly fitted offices and the Living Room with its colorful ceiling and tiled fountain. Cozy appointments and a huge seaward window appear at the bottom of the stairs railed with wrought iron. Lounges and chairs, tables topped in black marble and richly toned carpets decorate the room, every one of them designed for La Valencia to enrich and enhance the flavor of her design. Above the Living Room, today called La Sala, reached by the tiled stairs, was the mezzanine with the Galeria and social rooms. These card and reading rooms were all planned with the comfort of La Jollans and traveling guests in mind.
The new sleeping rooms were arranged singly or en suite and a number of them could be combined to accommodate a larger family party. The furnishings were said to be the best in the world and were harmonious with the Spanish design. There were quaint and comfortable easy chairs, brown wood dressers with tiled tops, and wall mirrors, all of which combined art and convenience, the keynote of La Valencia. Every room was advertised to have a sea view. One guest extolled '…even the poorest room still had a view that would satisfy anyone.’ This was La Valencia in 1926.