Southern California's 5-Star Architectural Gem
Photos Credit: The Lodge at Torrey Pines
One doesn’t tend to imagine majestic pines, rolling green hillsides, and a cool fog mist in Southern California, but such a place exists at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. Set along the edge of the native Torrey Pines of a 2,000 acre state park and behind the world acclaimed public golf course, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is a distinct treasure of the San Diego region. Recently, I spent a day savoring the unique property and its tranquil setting.
Unlike the hacienda and Mediterranean designs typical of Southern California luxury properties, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is modeled off of the American Craftsman style architecture that gained popularity internationally the early 1900s. The Lodge’s architecture alone is reason enough to visit this gem of a property. Simple lines, natural woods, stained glass, and sturdy unadorned structures defined the period, and the Lodge of Torrey Pines beautifully encompasses all such elements. In fact, the local San Diego Evans Hotels group, owners of the Lodge of Torrey Pines since its opening in 2002, called upon Craftsman expert, USC professor, and Pasadena Gamble House Trust Randell L. Makinson to oversee the property’s construction. Makinson’s intimate knowledge of two celebrated Pasadena area homes designed by Greene & Greene in the early 20th century served as inspiration for the Lodge’s design. I particularly love the large, handsome stain glass work in the lobby and the beams throughout the property made of a dark cherry Jatoba wood.
Down the hall from the main lobby and a huge stone fireplace, the Spa at Torrey Pines beckons guests to unwind in its 9,500-square-foot nook of the property. Fourteen treatment rooms accommodate facials, massages, and midweek spring packages with offerings such as the Organic Spring Renewal, a must-do treat that includes an invigorating organic ginger and lime sugar scrub and coconut oil massage. My favorite treatment was the Coastal Sage Scrub that infuses one of Torrey Pines State Reserve’s 17 native sage species. The spa’s steam andaromatherapy inhalation rooms also incorporate sage, a subtle and calming herb I wish was more common in spas. In addition to the use of the local sage, the spa takes advantage of the nearby expansive Torrey Pines State Reserve and offers two daily nature walks. After one such walk, I dipped into the spa’s vanishing-edge whirlpool with views of the pristine golf course and Pacific Ocean horizon.
The Lodge’s stunning location, expansive spa, and architectural appeal make the property ideal for a group event, and I took a dozen executives for a retreat that was lauded as one of the best yet. A cozy private room in the property’s signature A.R. Valentien is surrounded by views of pines and greens, an idyllic l spot for a breakfast or dinner session. Outside, lunch at the casual restaurant, The Grill at Torrey Pines, is a solid choice for group bonding and California cuisine in the perfect San Diego climate.
In addition to great dining options, I love a property with an attention to conservation, and the Lodge at Torrey Pines holds a notable Leadership Level by the California Green Lodging Program. The Leadership level is awarded to California properties that meet seven rigorous environment requirements pertaining to:waste minimization, recycling, energy efficiency, conservation and management, waste management, freshwater resource management, and hazardous materials management, and environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policies.
Be it architectural admiration, spa-going, or tranquil gathering with groups, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is a cherished destination.