- 1926 Birth Of A Legend
- 1920s - 30s Great Depression Era
- 1940s World War II Era
- 1950 Enhanced Hotel Amenities
- 1956 La Valencia Acquires The Hotel Cabrillo
- The La Jolla Playhouse Times
- 1960s - 1980s The Sky Room, Preferred Hotels & More
- 1989 Historic Hotels Of America
- 2010 New Owners, New Passion
- 2021 La Valencia's 95th Anniversary
- Present: La Jolla Village Icon
Birth Of A Legend
La Valencia opened 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 known for his integrity and knowledge of classic Spanish architecture. The La Valencia owners, MacArthur Gorton and Roy, built it for approximately $200,000.
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 used (and still do) La Valencia as a hideout from the hectic pressures of La La Land.
Great Depression Era
World War II Era
During World War II, because of La Jolla's proximity to San Diego, La Valencia Hotel and her guests were very much a part of the war effort. Locals spent long hours perched in the windswept tower scanning the skies and seas for enemy planes or ships. The hotel also became the temporary home to hundreds of young officers, often milling about in the lobby, either waiting to go overseas or enjoying leave. Young brides tended to stay and wait for their husbands at the hotel or in the charming cottages nearby, which then could be rented very inexpensively.
The Whaling Bar and Café la Rue restaurant opened side by side in the 1940's and instantly became the centerpiece of the hotel for guests and La Jolla residents alike. In January of 2014, (after almost a year of renovations) the space was reopened as Café la Rue, a Modern European Bistro & Bar, with indoor banquet seating and a sidewalk patio. A few of the lively "European Village" murals commissioned for La Valencia in the 1930's by local artist Wing Howard, adorn the walls.
Enhanced Hotel Amenities
La Valencia Acquires The Hotel Cabrillo
The La Jolla Playhouse Times
The La Jolla Playhouse era was one of the hotel's most glamorous. Hollywood had claimed La Valencia as a hideaway. The hotel became the gathering place for those who launched and performed in the famous La Jolla Playhouse including: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Mel Ferrer, Jose Ferrer, Joseph Cotton, Richard Basehart, Charlton Heston, Ginger Rogers, Jennifer Jones, Lorne Green, David Niven and many others over that 17-year period.
Playhouse founder, artistic director, and La Jolla resident Gregory Peck often played host to the new cast at the Whaling Bar. Even La Jolla resident Raymond Chandler, famous mystery writer of the forties and fifties, used La Valencia under a thinly disguised fictitious name as a backdrop for the thriller, "Playback."
The Sky Room, Preferred Hotels & More
In the late sixties, Dick Irwin introduced the Sky Room. Formerly a sun balcony for guests on the hotel's tenth floor, the Sky Room opened as a restaurant, with just twelve tables, all with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, The Sky Room was converted into a Presidential Suite with a connecting room offering sweeping ocean views.
As the 1960′s gave way to the 1970′s and 1980′s, the hotel, like the town, remained a destination for visitors looking for a change in climate and scene, as well as a haven for those who lived and worked in La Jolla. During her 16th birthday year, La Valencia welcomed her fourth general manager, Patrick Halcewicz. That same year, La Valencia was chosen to join the Preferred Hotels Worldwide. This association represents a handful of luxury hotels that meet only the highest standards of amenities and service, MacArthur Gorton's original goal.