This Inn has been a hundred years in the making. This secret hide-away is perched westward, along the quiet coastline of La Jolla, California. Inspired by the Indonesian island of Bali, the name “Pantai” refers to a white, pristine, sandy beach. The entire property–from stem to stern–features artwork, fabrics, vibrant paintings with elaborately carved wooden picture frames, and custom furniture made of fine Mahogany wood. The furnishings were all hand-selected and directly imported from Bali. The eclectic, warm yellow cottages found here are reminiscent of the villages in Bali where each small village is a waterfront enclave onto itself. Each building at Pantai Inn is named after a village in Bali. Brilliant!
This Inn is receiving some well deserved accolades. The Pantai Inn has been nominated for Fodor’s “Top 100 New and Newly Remodeled Hotels of the World” and has been rated #1 by Trip Advisor for six consecutive months. For guests looking for a romantic escape with an ocean view from every picture window, service to applaud, and accommodations to die for—then this is the spot. And did I mention the rainforest shower with round pebbles to rub on your feet? The living room to luxuriate, a complete kitchen to pretend you live aboard, and a dining room to spread out dinner or your laptop and files. The bed is a levitating heaven. Now this is a place to work and to play!
“Once you arrive you realize this is not a one night adventure….Plan to stay a while.”
From the window of each guest Suite, the views are spectacular. Gazing west-ward, the Pacific Ocean reminds me of floating along in a cruise ship. It is a dreamy view with crystal-clear azure seas as far as the eye can see. To the south, a seal and otter friendly cove is a welcoming five minute walk, and to the north are beaches and seven sea caves for snorkeling and kayaking. Just below the Inn is a secret staircase to the semi-private “Shell Beach” where the crashing waves beckon guests above to come down and play.
The Inn rests on one acre of land, where the first of 13 structures were built just over 100 years ago. The property includes cottages & single family bungalow apartments that were built at the turn of the century, and into the 1930’s. The shake-siding gives the buildings a “California Craftsman” vibe. The aged pine trees, and gentle downward slope of the hillside lends itself to a perfect balance. The charming village of La Jolla is found just one block east of the Inn offering: window shopping, visiting the many coffee houses, a cocktail in the afternoon overlooking the cove, or dinner and jazz when the sun has set. My favorite time is a brisk walk in the early morning— before the village awakens with activity.
The property has been undergoing a well-orchestrated rebirth and 11 Suites are now open, with more to come. With the precision of a conductor, and gentle hand of a loving parent, the affable owners Larry and Sandy Jackman, are restoring each of the Suites to a new level of sheer elegance and luxury. They have infused the property with an elaborate use of technology, high-tech water systems, big screen televisions, sound systems, and everything imaginable to make one’s stay an “over-the-top” experience. It seems as though everything has been thought of here. In Larry’s youth he was a bell-boy along this coastline working in one hotel or another, and knows the property like the back of his hand. He spent summers in The Main House on the property, relaxing on the porch, and gazing out over the ocean on warm summer afternoons. This three bedroom Main House is part of the “Nusa Dua” building and is currently being restored to a splendor beyond one’s dreams.
The iconic fountain at the Inn’s entry is a beacon to this lovely hide-away. The landscaping was well researched, to infuse the grounds with a nod to the indigenous vegetation of Bali. And consideration was given to the coastal climate of La Jolla and the afternoon’s gentle breezes. Entry to the Inn is through a beautiful ceremonial archway—called The Keys (symbolizing a cleansing process in Bali), which is made of hand carved wood. Unlike many hotels, there is no front desk. How refreshing! It is hard to miss the unique Bali carvings on the wall or the couch perched upon the coral stone flooring. Guests are welcomed by the staff in Balinese-inspired dress, and warm smiles. They are eager to assist with dinner recommendations, activities, shopping, museum recommendations, and anything to make the guest’s visit more memorable. Yes, this is somewhere special indeed.
The staff is empowered to meet the needs of the guests, and the focus on “the little details” make all the difference. When I entered my guest Suite, a bottle of Champagne was there to greet me with a personalized note. In the morning guests can enjoy a Continental breakfast in the Courtyard outside. Breakfast can also be delivered to the guest Suites. Breakfast includes pastry, fruit, bagels, the finest teas & coffee and juices. The Inn uses filtered water, organic loose leaf teas in delicate sachets, and Peerless Coffee. In the evening, the turn-down is an Eclipse Chocolate, infused with orange peel anise and produced in nearby San Diego.
Just outside the lobby is a Courtyard ensconced with a canopy of trees and a picture-perfect view of the coast below. There are plans in the works for a water-feature and an elegant Pavilion hand-carved from wooden structure from Bali. This will be assembled at the West end of the Courtyard creating a dramatically framed focal point with the sea as the backdrop for weddings and other special celebrations.
I so enjoyed the feeling of being in my own second home. Everything I needed was at hand, and yet none of my chores and errands were even top-of-mind. I settled in for a cocktail in the living room, enjoying the expansive views. Dinner was brought in, and the quaint town was just steps away to cap off the evening with a cocktail and live jazz. The morning called for a brisk walk along the shoreline, and water activities could not be resisted! It was such a restful stay. I felt relaxed and rejuvenated.
The Inn has just introduced a special amenity for those seeking a “romantic getaway.” They will prepare a Suite with floral rose petals in the shape of a heart in the Master Suite, and Champagne on ice and rose accents in the living room to welcome guests for an evening of romance. And this is not just a perfect location for a romantic getaway. I can see board meetings, wedding families, girlfriend getaways and multi-generational family vacations. With so much to offer, and amenities & service beyond compare, this is an incredible “must visit” secret hideaway on the famed coast of La Jolla. The “P” stands for perfection here at the Pantai Inn—and I cannot wait to return! (Please visit their web site or give them a call to find out about special packages they may be offering!)
1003 Coast Boulevard
La Jolla, CA 92037