Hotel Review: Hotel Joaquin, Laguna Beach, Calif.


Room begin at $239.

Carved out from Orange County by cliffs that slope right down to the glowing Pacific, Laguna Beach is a wildly well-liked bolt-hole for all method of Californians, from Tesla-entombed tech worthies vaping down the freeway from Los Angeles to burbling households in boxy Odysseys on the lookout for aid from the San Fernando Valley’s canned warmth. It can also be now dwelling to the Hotel Joaquin, which opened in September 2018 after a gut-renovation of the shabbily serviceable Motor Inn at Laguna Beach. The Joaquin comes beneath the Auric Road company umbrella, which incorporates different swank “petite resorts” such because the Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs and the Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. The ethereal redesign, that includes uncovered rafters, oiled white oak ceilings, turntables as a substitute of TVs, and classic furnishings from France, was the idea of the modish, New York-based studio of Robert McKinley, whose different laurels embody The Surf Lodge in Montauk and The Hall in Miami.

The eight-mile stretch of Laguna Beach, with over 20 seashores and coves, three summer time arts festivals, 50-plus artwork galleries and a inhabitants of eco-obsessed locals, was a favourite refuge for Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby, Mary Pickford and fellow members of Hollywood royalty who lived, tippled or trysted amidst the city’s aromatic eucalyptus groves. Other notable residents have included the Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, who counseled the “Orange Sunshine” LSD brewed by a shaggy native outfit calling themselves Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and, extra not too long ago, the billionaire Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban, who dropped $19 million on an eight,000 sq. foot dwelling in December. The three-tiered, 22-room Joaquin is perched alongside the North Coast Highway, offering ocean views and salty breezes from a number of of its rooms and is an inexpensive stroll or quick drive to all the city’s browsing or paddling seashores, boutiques, galleries and eating places.

Despite being on the bottom of three ranges, my garden-side room had ample pure gentle and was invitingly divided by a sofa to offer lounging area. I skipped the minibar, which had pre-mixed bottles of Negroni and Ginger Buck, and, turning to the Marantz turntable, ending up supplementing the in-room vinyl — The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” Carole King’s “Tapestry” — with the Thelonious Monk Quartet’s “Monk’s Dream” from the lodge’s stash. Books additionally furnished the room, together with the poems of Rumi and a deckle-edged paperback of Kerouac’s “On the Road.” My low season room price $239; I’d extremely suggest reserving one of many a number of rooms with an ocean view, which low season begin at $389. In-season, ocean-view rooms begin round $522.

The toilet was spacious, with a marble double-sink and enormous bathe tiled in a soothing pale grey.

The lodge’s Mediterranean-inflected restaurant, Saline, serves a superb breakfast (included along with your keep that includes objects such house-cured salmon and Berkshire pork sausage) in addition to lunch and dinner, and to this point is simply open to lodge visitors. At dinner, I ordered the charred artichoke with garlic aoli, dill and caper oil ($12), adopted by the black sea bass ($25) and each did credit score to the Argentine chef, Leo Bongarra. The cocktail record leans towards health-conscious inebriation; the “Saline g&t” incorporates opihr oriental spiced gin, Junipero gin, artisanal tonic syrup, soda, lemongrass, aloe vera and star anise, for $14. For the teetotaler, there’s the “No Booze Cruise,” a concoction of seedlip backyard, fever tree Mediterranean tonic, ginger and pineapple at $11. The sparse wine options under-aged California pinots and lesser cabernets, with a number of compulsory bottles of southern French reds.

Walking in to the “Living Room,” the lodge’s sun-streaked lounge, can really feel like strolling into an outdated (and wealthy) good friend’s seaside home. A retro vibe pronounces itself by the turntable and assortment of vinyl data. Glistening water dispensers maintain teardrop-shaped vials stuffed with gems, promising qualities reminiscent of “Love,” “Fitness,” and “Forever Young.” (Make mine a double!) At evening, the lodge acquires the martinis-and-midnight swim temper of a classy Mid-Century California motel, up to date for the hygge era. By day, the lodge offers an “adventure guru” who will outfit you freed from cost with surfboards, kayaks, paddle boards, bikes and even diving gear, and level you towards the miles of close by mountaineering within the Laguna Beach Wilderness Park, biking trails such because the Rock-It/Cholla Loop, or surf breaks reminiscent of Brooks Street Beach, the place 1960s surf champion Corky Carroll had many epic afternoons.

Bottom Line

For a style of certainly one of Southern California’s most storied but charming seaside cities, Hotel Joaquin works laborious to evoke a glamorous-yet-grounded expertise, and succeeds.

Hotel Joaquin; 985 North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA; 949.494.5294; www.hoteljoaquin.com

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