The Lodge at Torrey Pines is not only a first class resort, it’s an architectural and botanical gem. The Lodge is modeled after eight Arts and Crafts homes designed by the famed Greene and Greene brothers. According to hotel tour guide Gary Dauntless, owner Bill Evans became obsessed with the Gamble House in Pasadena after visiting the exemplary Craftsman home. In 1999 he recreated portions of the Gamble House along with parts of other Greene and Greene homes to establish the Lodge at Torrey Pines.
The Lodge is situated beside the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course in northern San Diego County. The location is quite magnificent, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and adjacent to the Torrey Pines State Reserve with its golden cliffs and forests of the rarest native pines in the U.S.
If you’re into Craftsman architecture, as I am, you’ll be amazed at the attention to detail in designing this resort: notched and slotted beams with mitred joints secured with ebony pegs.
Original Stickley furniture; William Morris wallpaper;
And a variety of Tiffany lamps.
The stained glass work, especially at the entryway, is awesome.
The landscaping is amazingly detailed as well, with native California plants surrounding the resort, well manicured on a daily basis to keep them from obscuring the rocks and bricks that blend with the wood exterior to create the perfect Greene and Greene design.
The rooms are simple and spacious in keeping with the Craftsman style, some overlooking the golf course with the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Many of the 170 guest rooms have balconies and fireplaces; all have custom-designed furniture including rich leather chaise lounges, granite topped bars, the use of plush robes and slippers and aromatic bath products.
The signature products are also available to all hotel patrons who visit the 95-hundred square foot spa, designed in the Arts and Crafts style of Scotland’s Charles Rennie MacIntosh. The spa features 14 treatment rooms offering facials, massages, wraps and hydrotherapy. One of the most relaxing treatments is Angela’s 80-minute anti-aging aqua facial ($195) which lifts, firms and hydrates the skin, leaving you with a healthy glow you’ll both see and feel. The heated treatment beds are special too, conforming to each client’s body and covered with soft, white linen.
All hotel guests have unrestricted use of the spa facilities that include saunas, herbal infused steam baths and aromatherapy. Each person gets his/her locker and robe and slippers. A cardio/strength room features state of the art exercise equipment and fitness classes.
The hotel also features a beautiful saline pool with classical music emanating from underwater speakers!
And then there’s the fine dining. A.R. Valentien, named for an early 20th century impressionist and one of San Diego’s greatest artists, offers a unique dining opportunity: the Artisan Table. It was inspired by the popularity of the communal dinner for chefs and artisan food producers, hosted at the Lodge every autumn. The dinner features family-style serving at a large, communal table on the terrace. At 85-dollars per person, including select wines, it’s offered Thursday evenings. Otherwise, you can dine more privately either indoors or on the patio overlooking the ocean.
The wine list boasts the largest selection of California wines in San Diego. As for the food, chef Jeff Jackson uses only the best local provisions, and the menu changes daily depending on what’s offered at local farmers’ markets, as well as from other local growers, ranchers and fishermen. There are no freezers in the kitchen, except for ice cream and such. Everything is prepared fresh daily. My two favorites on the menu: the Sweet Corn Soup with Scallop Mousse and Guajillo Chili ($12). It’s a puree of sweet corn topped with the salty scallop mousse and enhanced with an oil made from the hot chili drizzled onto the soup. What a fabulous concoction!
Then there’s the Roman Style Pork Loin ($32) served with a cannelloni of pork shoulder and sautéed rapini (similar to broccoli). A rub of herbs, molasses and honey provides a savory crust for the roasted pork. The cannelloni has a Moroccan flavor, thanks to the cinnamon and nutmeg blended in with the meat.
Another item not to be missed: homemade biscuits served with sweet cream butter. I, who never indulge in bread for fear of spoiling my appetite, had two! The other eatery on the premises is the Grill, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving lighter fare. Try the hamburger. It’s down to basics and the best in town!
Rates at the Lodge range from $300 per night for a standard room to $600 and up for more luxurious accommodations. There are also golf, spa and bed and breakfast packages available.
A weekend at the Lodge at Torrey Pines will be one of your most memorable, for sure.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd.
La Jolla, CA 92037