Rich History Of Downtown La Jolla Hotels

Our historic hotel near San Diego is one of the oldest original seaside hotels. The Colonial Apartments and Hotel, as it was known when it opened on February 1st, 1913, was the talk of the town and a foundation for the community. The two original owners were A.B. Harlan and George Bane.

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  • La-Jolla-Pharmacy Three men standing in front of the Ja Jolla Pharmacy

A Gathering Place For Locals, Hollywood Stars, And Military

The La Jolla Drugstore, next door to the Colonial, was soon woven into its history. In 1926, the store was purchased by Kansas native Silas O. Putnam and moved inside the Colonial’s main building when it opened in 1928. Putnam had spent one winter in Southern California’s temperate climate and decided to make La Jolla his home.

  • Old-Grand-Colonial-1 An old photograph in black and white of the Colonial Hotel building with multiple old vehicles parked in the street

The 70s And 80s Restorations

In 1976, three local partners purchased the Colonial for approximately $1 million. The Colonial’s name was changed to the Colonial Inn. Over the next four years the hotel underwent a $3 million restoration that brought back its original grandeur.

Blue print of the hotel
Old-photo-of-man-posing-in-front-of-the-hotel-1 An older photograph of a man standing in front of a building with a banner on the entry was reading

New Leadership and a Dramatic Renovation

In July of 1998, Franklin Croft LLC and Fargo Hotel investors LLC joined forces to create Fargo Colonial LLC and purchased the hotel. Fargo Colonial LLC brought aboard hotel veteran Terry Underwood as general manager in 1999. From December 1999 through July 2001, the Grande Colonial underwent an extensive $5 million renovation, and under the leadership of Underwood, all 75 guest rooms, lobby and restaurant were dramatically upgraded.

Old-photo-of-the-hotel-close-up-shot An old black and white photograph of the hotel

Preparations For A Centennial

In January of 2012, the hotel unveiled yet another major milestone in its nearly 100-year history – the completion of a $500,000 renovation of its entry and foyer, lobby and surrounding public spaces and two adjacent meeting rooms. In anticipation of the hotel’s Centennial Anniversary, the owners went to great lengths to enhance the feel of the hotels’ still intact turn-of-the-century architecture designed Requa back in 1913.

The sophisticated new décor carefully preserves the Grande Colonial’s enduring historic appeal, infusing a classic European ambiance and a refined, contemporary sophistication. In this spirit, the result showcases the fine architectural details – such as original Georgian style arches, original cast plaster crown moldings, lead glass windows and intricate hand-stenciled ceilings.

Colorful-painting-of-the-hotel-buildnig A colorful painting of the hotel building with palm trees and the ocean in the back

Two Historic Buildings Add 18 New Suites

In 2007, the hotel took another stride forward as it unveiled the completion of an $8 million restoration project. Included was the renovation of the hotel’s existing 75 guest rooms, suites, and corridors in the main building, as well as replacement of the original single-pane, wood-framed windows with double-pane, screen-less, tempered glass windows significantly improving the energy efficiency and sound insulation.

The project also included the preservation of two adjacent historic landmarks, the Little Hotel by the Sea (from 1924) and the Garden Terraces (from 1926), adding 18 new suites to the hotel’s inventory (all with kitchens or kitchenettes and many with fireplaces).

Celebrating A Century Of Excellence

On February 1st, 2013, the Grande Colonial celebrated what can be considered its most significant milestone: its 100-year anniversary. Festivities to commemorate the Centennial dotted the calendar, helping one of San Diego’s most esteemed hotels share the stories of the movers and shakers who have passed through its doors in the 100 years since the hotel was founded.

Married-couple-riding-a-very-old-type-of-car A black and white image of an early automobile with man driving and a women in the passenger seat
  • Nine Ten Outside Sign for Ads

The New NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar Debuts

A $750,000 renovation of NINE-TEN Restaurant was unveiled on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017. The design, by local restaurant design firm Robinson Brown Design, was intended to be an update to the existing restaurant and create a more modern vibe while keeping the upscale mood.

  • Little Hotel King Junior Suite

$4 Million Room Renovation

And then just less than two years later, Bane’s legacy continued as the hotel completed a $4 million renovation of all guest rooms and suites, including a majority of the bathrooms. The project, which started in November of 2018, was completed in phases, building-by-building, floor-by-floor. Interior design was provided by Warren Sheets Design, Inc., a San Francisco-based architectural and interior design firm, the same design firm used for the two most recent renovations of the hotel lobby, and meeting spaces.

a-brick-wall-hotel A red brick Tudor-style house with two floors and a staircase leading to the front door.

Hotel Expansion in 2019

At the same time as the 2019 rooms renovation, the hotel unveiled the completion of another historic restoration project, the adjacent Swansea Apartments, originally constructed in 1927 by local designer and builder, William B. Melhorn of the Melhorn Construction Company. The Tudor-style building and the four apartments were completely restored and converted into four, 1-bedroom suites. They are now a part of the Grande Colonial’s total 97-room inventory.