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New Looks: Patio Sol at La Valencia

As part of its 95th anniversary, the Pink Lady has overhauled its front patio (as well as the rest of the hotel)

By Madeline Yang

Patio Sol at La Valencia

Patio Sol at La Valencia

Imagine the silver screen. Imagine the mythical faces that once lived on it—the ones in black and white, their makeup divine, filmed in that dreamy, almost hazy way. They were good as gods. Now imagine these faces sitting around a table in La Jolla. The iconic La Valencia Hotel owned that table, provided social harbor for stars like Ginger Rogers, Gregory Peck, and Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). Mostly, they’d gather inside. The Pink Lady always had a front patio—Patio Sol—that was once a thriving alfresco dining scene of its own. But the most recent redesign didn’t have the come-hither it used to. 

For their yearlong 95th anniversary celebration, La V fixed that. 

La Valencia Hotel - The Med - food

La Valencia Hotel – The Med – food

James Tran

“The front patio was underutilized,” says General Manager Summer Shoemaker. “It didn’t have any charm or real sense of space.” The team installed folding terrace doors to make it a fully indoor-outdoor great area that bleeds into the hotel’s signature restaurant, the Mediterranean Room. They added a satellite bar (La V cocktails tend to be a beacon for humanity), opened up the landscape, and inserted design elements like a long fire-pit table that invites guests to sit, talk, and watch the throb and pageantry of Prospect. They’re casting it as more of an alfresco lounge, with weekly live music.

Being careful to respect the legacy, La V has been modernizing the entire hotel, including the Mediterranean Room. The pink Spanish Revival–style still echoes that elegance and nostalgic ambience. But there’s now all-new flooring and epic furniture. The hand-painted tiles adorning the fireplace, walls, and ceiling? Fresh paint, same signature design. 

La Valencia - Mediterranean Room

The Mediterranean Room at La Valencia

The Mediterranean Room also comes with newly appointed executive chef Fabian Aceves, formerly of The Resort at Pelican Hill, Arlo, and L’Auberge Del Mar. Born in Guadalajara, Aceves incorporates subtle nods to his Latin heritage in his Cal-Med menu. Dinner highlights include a shawarma-spiced octopus made with ’nduja, black garlic, arugula, and pickled Fresno chiles; lamb sugo with pistachio, pappardelle, spicy breadcrumb, and burrata; and clams and guanciale with grilled bread, mushroom butter, and herb broth. For dessert, Kari Cota (ex-Market Del Mar, L’Auberge) is serving a dark chocolate gâteaux with ginger and Valencia orange-bourbon-tangerine sauce, and a toffee rum cake with candied walnuts, honey rum sauce, whipped cream, and mint.

Eat it on the patio. Soak it in.

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