A Southern California jewel, the San Diego beach town of La Jolla has a new spot for travelers to rest their heads — and we got a tour. She goes by the name Orli La Jolla and is a homestay meets boutique hotel concept right in the area’s beachside business district.
Here, 13 bespoke guestrooms and suites span two historical homes: The George Kautz House and Kate Sessions House. Built in 1910, the private residences were designed by Irving Gill, the “father of California modernism.”
Your first moments inside Orli La Jolla take place in the lobby lounge, which features a curated collection of books, and a brew bar with cold brew and kombucha on tap.
Check-in here is digital, lengths away from the traditional human-to-human interaction that happens when you first get to a hotel. Available for all who are staying at the hotel, the Orli digital portal allows guests to not only check-in, but also check-out, explore the city via curated neighborhood guides, as well as any add-on experiences.
The duo at the helm of the hotel is Hailey and Max Waitt. Born and raised in La Jolla, the two collaborated with Axon Architecture and ML Design Co. to refashion the historic residences. While facelifted modern touches brought the property to “the now,” the design ethos sought to preserve the storied Spanish-style building’s original aesthetic.
When at Orli La Jolla, you will notice spaces feel polished all over. There is a mix of feminine touches — an example of this is the light & soft shades found in The Conservatory (the guestroom in the above picture) — and masculine motifs, such as the hotel’s moody lobby, with its swarthy furnishings.
From the guestrooms to common spaces, the hotel was decorated under the direction of ML Design’s Maddie Lord. The interior pays homage to La Jolla’s iconic history and natural beauty, with several neutral-toned accommodations redolent of sand, alongside ocean-bowing splashes of dark blue that dress lobby sofas. Nods to Irving Gill are ubiquitous, including the brass railing design lining the stairs.
But it’s not just Irving Gill and La Jolla’s provenance on display — the interior design adds Parisian art deco into the mix across its corridors: Green wingback chairs, verdure marble, brass sconces, and in-room pink sofas, among other trappings related to this design trend, can all be found here.
In the spirit of being an individualistic stay, each of the 13 rooms at Orli La Jolla boasts a different design than the one next to it (Our favorite is The Penthouse and the expansive outdoor terrace plus Pacific-facing view that comes with it).
But, perhaps the hotel’s most beguiling feature is the courtyard that connects the two homes, with its shade-offering olive trees and outdoor furniture. San Diego’s abundance of sunshine helps ignite conversations among guests come golden hour here.
All in all, if you’re looking for a homestay-meets-boutique-hotel vibe during your next trip to San Diego’s poshest beach town, Orli La Jolla should be on your radar.
Location: La Jolla, CA
The Vibe: A charming accommodation hybrid concept comprising a boutique hotel and homestay ethos, situated in one of California’s prettiest beach towns.
Any Neighborhood Recs? Yes, Puesto, down the street, has incredible tacos (get the shrimp ones). If you love bookstores, Warwick’s on Girard Ave is chock full of novels and paper gold. Also nearby is Children’s Pool, a chunk of rocky beach where you can spectate feral seals relaxing on the beach and the rocks that freckle it.
Our Favorite Thing About the hotel? The courtyard — it’s perfect for San Diego’s abundance of sunny afternoons. It celebrates how the locale is a year-round destination.
Food + Drink: The hotel doesn’t have any dining or bar facilities, however, the area hosts a slew of places to drink and eat. That said, there is kombucha and cold brew on tap in the lobby.
Amenities: Wi-Fi, TVs with streaming services, outdoor courtyard, pet-friendly, facilities for disabled guests, and airport shuttle.
What’s Nearby? La Jolla Business District, Children’s Pool, La Jolla Cove (kayak rentals are available here), Mount Soledad, and Torrey Pines State Reserve (it’s truly one of the most beautiful places for a hike in Southern California).
Pricing: Rates start at $250/night and $1,375/night for The Penthouse
Closest Airport: San Diego International Airport