LA JOLLA, Calif. – Manoj Chawla prefers to go with the flow. He says it’s what led him to get into the hospitality business more than a decade ago when he bought a Super 8 hotel at auction.
Years later, it’s led him to a historic property with scenic views overlooking the water in La Jolla.
On Friday, Chawla and his group from Mira Mesa-based Oceanic Marina LP cut the ribbon on the freshly renovated Cormorant Boutique Hotel, a 26-room lodging facility at the site of the former La Jolla Inn. They purchased the hotel in 2016 and originally weren’t planning for a massive renovation, but ultimately did one that includes a rooftop restaurant and a “reimagined” Prospect Market, a callback to the property’s initial iteration in the 1940s.
“Once we started doing the work, (we realized) this was the only opportunity we get,” Chawla said. “We get one chance to do it right. That’s when we decided we were going to do this right.”
Guests to the hotel may experience a similar feeling to Chawla when he saw it. When the hotelier first walked through it, he noted, “It’s hard not to fall in love with this location.”
They’ve designed a minimalistic concept for the rooms, most of which have king beds, some queens on the hotel’s Village level and some larger suites at the end of each floor. An emphasis was placed on tapping into the near-waterfront locale with balconies available for most rooms and exclusive discounts for guests for ocean activities such as paddleboarding and snorkeling, Chawla said.
They also have a partnership with the nearby gym Lifetime La Jolla to provide complimentary access to fitness classes and the facility’s tennis courts, among other things.
“This hotel always had good views, right?” the hotelier said. “That was the biggest factor for me. There’s only so much of the ocean you can see from a property and this has unobstructed views.”
A major challenge in the renovation effort was adding The Birdseye Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, headed by Executive Chef Luciano Scagliarini, a veteran of the Coronado Club, he said. The restaurant’s menu features a number of tasty items that Chawla said have an “Argentinian flair,” specifically singling out its empanadas.
Click or tap here to check out the menu for yourself.
“That was a challenge, getting (the rooftop bar) into the restaurant. Not an easy task to get done,” Chawla said, adding, “That’s my favorite spot. Once you’re up there, you’ll see why it’s my favorite spot.”
Rates at the hotel run from $180 a night for a queen room up to $500 a night for the hotel’s Superior Sea View King room with a balcony. See all the options available here.