March 27, 2022

Photo Essay: A 21st-Century Luxury Hotel Evokes the Warmth and Charm of a 1900s Craftsman Bungalow

I'd previously enjoyed visiting the Torrey Pines area of San Diego for its paragliding, coastal bluffs, and infamous beach—but I just had to go back earlier this month to explore the Lodge at Torrey Pines. 

Situated on a 6.5-acre site next to the Torrey Pines Golf Course, it feels like a Craftsman bungalow—starting at the porte cochère, which is nearly identical to the post-and-beam construction of the one at the Greene and Greene-designed Blacker House in Pasadena, California. 

But in reality, it's a hotel that sprawls across 180,000 square feet and four stories...

...inspired by the architecture of the ultimate Pasadena Craftsman, The Gamble House, also designed by Greene and Greene. 

Architectural details—like the wonky clinker bricks—evoke the hand-hewn architectural style circa the early 1900s.  
But the Lodge at Torrey Pines dates back just 20 years—having opened in 2002. 

Its predecessor on this parcel of land—owned by the City of San Diego—was the Inn at Torrey Pines, which was (mostly) demolished to make way for this new venture by Evans Hotels. 
It was Bill Evans himself who sought to pay homage to Greene and Greene and Craftsman architecture, going so far as to consult with former director and curator of The Gamble House, the late Randell Makinson, to ensure that they were getting the right look and feel. 

The Lodge's overall architecture and design were created by associate architect William Hughes of architectural firm Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo.

LA's own Judson Studios was commissioned to create the stained glass panels in the front door (a replica of the Gamble House stained glass, but with Torrey pine trees incorporated into the design instead of oaks)... well as a reproduction of the stained glass dining room lighting fixture from the circa 1906  Robinson House, another Greene and Greene design in Pasadena. 

Judson Studios' role in the project was fitting—as the stained glass studio, established in 1897, played a major role in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century.
Entering the lobby of the hotel feels like being welcomed into someone's home—where lighting fixtures measuring 5 feet long hang from the ceiling, much like the ones they're modeled after do in the Greene and Greene-designed Charles M. Pratt House (a.k.a. Casa Barranca) near Ojai, California.

A delicately tiled fireplace with mosaic inlay is surrounded by Brazilian cherry woodwork...

...and Honduran mahogany beams and Douglas fir rafters hang over reproduction Greene and Greene furniture pieces, which are arranged comfortably on oak flooring. 
Kristine Smith Design Studio of Valley Center (in San Diego's North County) decorated The Lodge interiors, using fabrics based on original William Morris designs. 
In the hallways leading to the meeting rooms and ballrooms, broad-hooded lanterns cast an inviting amber glow... 

...while out the door and onto the patio...

...the lobby exterior evokes the rear of the Blacker House. 

Down a clinker brick staircase...

...the Torrey pines of the property come into view.

It's a tree that only grows naturally in two geographical areas—the Torrey Pines region of San Diego and Santa Rosa Island (of the Channel Islands). 

The long-needled tree branches and robust cones of the Torrey pine have come to symbolize the lodge itself...
...which aligns with the aesthetic of intertwining the natural and architectural world in the Arts and Crafts Movement. 

The pool and courtyard are off limits to visitors who aren't guests of the Lodge...

...but a winding path leads to the former Golfers Grill and Patio, now known as The Grill at Torrey Pines.
The clinker brick motif continues at this casual outdoor dining destination...

...and culminates with an 18-foot-tall, custom-built, wood-burning rotisserie (a.k.a. chimney smoker). 
From the Grill, you can watch the happenings on the Torrey Pines South Course, which originally opened in 1957 and hosted the U.S. Open Championship won by Tiger Woods in 2008.

It must be so nice to spend the day there—and as the marine layer rolls in towards the end of the afternoon, just retreat to a room where a private fireplace and Stickley-style furniture await, in accommodations that seem to be both cozy and roomy. 

The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a AAA Five Diamond-awarded hotel—the only one in San Diego, and one that's a little beyond my reach right now. But there was nothing stoping me from taking a couple of hours to explore freely and settle in for a bit for a late brunch, with nowhere else I needed to be (not right away, anyway). 

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