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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

Vintage La Jolla Hotel Gets a Makeover

A La Jolla hotel has undergone a $4.5 million renovation by Oceanic Enterprises, giving it an art deco flavor along with a new name.

The Cormorant Boutique Hotel, 110 Prospect St., takes its name from the cormorant birds that nest in the nearby La Jolla cove and references to the birds are scattered throughout the hotel.

“It’s a completely brand new hotel,” said Manoj Chawla, managing partner of Oceanic Enterprises.

“It’s just a totally different vibe once you walk in,” Chawla said.


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Formerly the La Jolla Inn, Oceanic Enterprises bought the 10,000 square-foot hotel in 2016 for $7.1 million.

The company initially planned to make minor improvements to the hotel, “then we decided, let’s do this the right way, and went all the way in,” Chawla said.  “It was just an old hotel, not exciting at all – old carpet, older rooms. It was just a property that was never upgraded for the last 30 years.”

Considering the location with ocean views and within a quick walk to La Jolla Cove and the center of La Jolla Village, Chawla said the hotel begged to be remodeled.

“I don’t think it gets any better in La Jolla Cove than the location we have,” Chawla said. “We saw a missed opportunity at this location.”

Most of the rooms have balconies with ocean views.

“There’s very few view spots in La Jolla where you can watch the ocean with the sun setting. It’s just a mesmerizing view,” Chawla said.


Room interiors were all redone with designs reminiscent of the art deco hotels of the 1930’s.

Each room has a slightly different look, Chawla said.

“You can kind of stay and try  out the different rooms. They’re not cookie-cutter rooms.”

The hotel started in the mid-1940’s as the Prospect Market — then the only market in La Jolla.

In the 1960s, hotel rooms were added to the market, and it became La Jolla Inn.

The 300 square-foot market has been kept and upgraded as part of the renovation.

Designed by Greenwood & Black, the hotel was redone in what Chawla said was “mid-century modern” mixed with art deco.

Barefoot Elegance

Renovating the old hotel took four years.

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force and working with such an old building, “We had to work through a lot of challenges,” Chawla said.

Chawla said he expects to attract a younger crowd than might normally be associated with La Jolla, with cell phone aps to do such things as unlocking room doors.

“We’re hopeful that this is going to attract a younger generation. La Jolla Cove has always been known for the older generation. Our goal was to make it an attractive place to attract the younger generation,” Chawla said.

Room rates start at $299 per night.

In describing the hotel, General Manager David Vecchione said it “offers effortless elegance with comforts and activities of the barefoot San Diego lifestyle.”

In keeping with the cormorant theme, a rooftop bar and restaurant that was added as part of the renovation is named the Birdseye, accessible through the hotel or an outdoor alley where a living organic wall was added.

“It invites people from every direction,” said Tamar Goldman-Sachs, director of digital marketing strategy for Oceanic Enterprises.

Oceanic Enterprises also brought in a new executive chef, Luciano Scagliarini, formerly executive chef at Edgewater Grill and Pier Café in Seaport Village.

 “The chef grew up learning recipes from his grandmother,” Goldman-Sachs said. “It’s sort of an Argentine infusion menu, American style.”

Oceanic Enterprises

Founded: 2011

Managing Partner: Manoj Chawla

Headquarters: Miramar

Employees: 22

Website: www.oceanicenterprises.com

Contact: info@oceanicenterprises.com; 619-780-0974

Notable: Manoj Chawla started Oceanic Enterprises with the purchase of a Super 8 hotel in Palmdale. The company’s San Diego holdings include the 1906 Lodge in Coronado, Martinis Above Fourth in Hillcrest, Star Bar in the Gaslamp Quarter, and San Ysidro Studios apartments. 


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