San Diego, United States

The LaFayette Hotel

Price per night from$256.93

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD256.93), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Mid-century maximalist

Setting

Hip, hoppy ’hood

Meet the Lafayette Hotel, a mid-century starlet making a Technicolor comeback in San Diego’s coolest neighborhood. Live jazz and bespoke lounge beats soundtrack this bigger-on-the-inside den of Babylonian indulgences, where the speakeasy has its own bowling alley, the pool club is a local landmark and – ¿por qué no? – the mezcaleria is modeled on a 100-year-old Catholic church. Moody boudoirs are dressed like Baz Luhrmann sets – 50 Hail Marys after a night in one of those four-posters – but there’s no sin a slice of morning-after pie with your sweetheart at the 24-hour diner can’t absolve…

Smith Extra

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A bottle of Prosecco

Facilities

Photos The LaFayette Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

139, including 18 suites.

Check–Out

11am. Check-in is at 4pm, but both are flexible, subject to availability. There’s an extra fee to check-out after 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £198.91 ($257), including tax at 12.69 per cent.

More details

Rates at the Lafayette are room-only, but breakfast options at Beginner’s Diner range from wholesome Americana classics like buckwheat pancakes, eggs Benny, and biscuits and gravy to downright decadence – wagyu sirloin and eggs, we’re looking at you.

Also

The hotel has four ADA Classic Queen Rooms, which have been specially adapted for guests with reduced mobility.

At the hotel

Gym, games room with a bowling alley, shuffleboard and pool tables, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, Marshall Bluetooth speaker, bar cart with spirit collection, cocktail-making kit and curated snacks, Smeg kettle, Blue Bottle instant coffee, hairdryer, clothes steamer, and Diptyque bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Swing for a suite if a bath tub is non-negotiable. Otherwise, skip all sunlounger drama with a Poolside Room – you’ll have your own patch of patio and a fan-back front-row seat.

Poolside

The pool club is Fifties-postcard-pretty, with its palatial cabana, candy-striped parasols and swaying palms. Designed by Olympic gold-medalist swimmer (and, weirdly, literally Tarzan) Johnny Weissmuller, this heated, Junior Olympic-size pool has been the scene of many a gossip-stoking party since its mid-century heyday. If pools could talk…

Spa

Watch this space – a sauna, steam room and cold plunge are set to open this summer.

Packing tips

High-quality headphones and your most hipster ‘you probably haven’t heard of them’ voice, for when you inevitably build a playlist of all the local bands and long-forgotten jazz maestros you’ve discovered.

Also

It’s been a fair few decades since Bob Hope stepped up to the mic there, but the OG clamshell stage is still being put to good use at Lou Lou’s, the hotel’s historic live music venue. Catch a line-up of local bands, or join the weekly jazz supper club.

Pet‐friendly

Furry friends (except cats, sorry Felix) are welcome, so long as they weigh in under 45lbs. You can bring up to two pets a stay, and there’s an extra fee of $100 each. See more pet-friendly hotels in San Diego.

Children

All ages are welcome, but this is a stay very much geared towards the grown-ups.

Food and Drink

Photos The LaFayette Hotel food and drink

Top Table

All souls are catered for at Quixote – between Light Altar, a cloud-like, vaulted space where the Virgin Mary keeps vigil, or Dark Altar, a scarlet-draped nook where you’ll look Old Nick straight in the eye, there’s no loser (except, perhaps, your soul).

Dress Code

A pattern-clashing moment will never go amiss here.

Hotel restaurant

For a hit of all-American nostalgia, grab a booth at Beginner’s Diner. Chilli and cheeseburgers get a wagyu upgrade, there’s a warming supply of Jewish comfort food like latkes and matzo ball soup, and the milkshakes are best served with extra whipped cream and a cherry on top. And, well, the cherry on top? It’s open 24-hours a day. Stained glass, sputtering candles and the ever-present temptation of sin set the mood at Quixote, the hotel’s Oaxacan restaurant and mezcaleria, which is modeled on a historic Mexican church. There are elevated takes on tacos and tamales, but chef José’s specialty is the corn doughnut topped with blue crab, caviar and burnt chilli emulsion.

Hotel bar

Atlas stands with the world on his shoulders at the center of the atmospheric Lobby Bar; thankfully, your greatest burden here will be the choice between bagsying a leopard-print barstool or a chintzy banquette. The cocktail list has a New Orleans lilt, with classics like Vieux Carrés and Sazeracs served under the glow of wrought-iron street lamps. The Gutter is the hotel’s low-lit, speakeasy-style bar, glamorous and oh-so grown-up – if you ignore the arcade games, pool tables and two-lane bowling alley. Of the raft of craft cocktails, the Midnight Mischief, a confection of cacao, orange, cognac, Scotch and Amaro Sfumato, is made for big kids up way past their bedtime. Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, the alfresco Pool Bar serves aperitivi and amaro-laced cocktails – on a sun-baked afternoon, the Magnolia, a muddle of mango, smoked pineapple, Aperol, lime and prosecco, is particularly refreshing.

Last orders

Beginner’s is open around the clock. Lunch at Quixote is noon–4pm, dinner till 10.30pm. The Pool Bar opens 10am–9pm (midnight Friday and Saturday). The Lobby Bar pours from 11am–11pm (2am Friday and Saturday). The game is on at the Gutter from 5pm–2am.

Location

Photos The LaFayette Hotel location
Address
The LaFayette Hotel
2223 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego
92104
United States

The Lafayette Hotel is a Colonial Revival landmark of San Diego’s North Park neighbourhood, a couldn’t-be-cooler community awash with craft breweries just north of Balboa Park.

Planes

San Diego International Airport is a 15-minute drive from the hotel.

Trains

Cruise down the coast from LA on the Pacific Surfliner, Amtrak’s super-scenic coastal service that stops handily at Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. From there, it’s around 15 minutes by car to the hotel.

Automobiles

San Diego is surprisingly walkable, and North Park is especially suited to strolling. That said, a car might come in handy for exploring the city’s further-flung corners. The hotel has underground valet parking for $38 a night.

Worth getting out of bed for

Bibliophiles, you’re in luck – North Park’s biggest indie bookstore is just down the street from the Lafayette. Verbatim Books specializes in secondhand volumes and small-press titles, so pull up a vintage armchair and get page-turning. Also in strolling distance is North Park Thursday Market, a weekly community staple with stalls selling local crafts, fresh flowers and artisanal bites. If you’ve caught the live-music bug, mosey on down to the Observatory, a historic theater turned hip venue that often hosts international stars. Head south and Balboa Park’s sprawling 1,200 acres are home to lush gardens, walking trails, museums and the San Diego Zoo.

Local restaurants

Chef Fred Piehl helms two of North Park’s neighborhood mainstays, each devoted to seasonal, locally sourced produce. The Smoking Goat is his French-accented bistro; next door, One Door North takes inspiration from the great outdoors, with chandelier-lit tents taking the place of traditional booths. Long beloved by the local cool crowd, quirky seafood spot Mabel’s Gone Fishing scored a Michelin mention for its deft melding of Californian and Iberian flavors.

Local cafés

At photogenic local spot Communal Coffee, you can treat your boo to a craft espresso and a bouquet of fresh flowers in one fell swoop – talk about smooth moves. The menu changes seasonally, but our eye’s on the sweet mint cold brew, with house-made mint syrup and a fresh mint sprig.

Local bars

If it’s a craft-beer crawl you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. North Park has indie breweries galore, but our go-to is North Park Beer Co for the Craftsman-style design and tipsy games of shuffleboard. And Thorn Street Brewery is a cozy, local-favorite option, with a fairylit terrace and a rotating line-up of food trucks.

Reviews

Photos The LaFayette Hotel reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this playful hotel in California and unpacked their craft brews and bowling shoes, a full account of their buzzy break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego…

No, this isn’t a lucid dream after a Luhrmann and Tarantino double bill; this is the Lafayette, a mid-century hotel heaped with Golden Age Hollywood pedigree – and now, thanks to a design-conscious makeover, San Diego’s scene-iest new stay. Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and pals gadded about here in the Forties and Fifties, so it’s only fitting this latest revamp has gone pedal-to-the-metal on the glamour front. Rooms here pack a vaudevillian va-va-voom, the sort of spaces that would suit a feather-boa’d screen siren – crimson velvet and custom toile de jouy wallpaper collide with all species of animal print, and vintage not-so-mini bar carts are stacked with artisanal spirits. There’s a many-chandeliered jazz lounge, a New Orleans-riffing bar, and a Gatsby-party-worthy pool club that’s the stuff of local legend. A few plot-twist hangouts provide film-set levels of immersion – a speakeasy soundtracked by the clatter of bowling pins, a Oaxacan restaurant set in a century-old church, stained glass, Satanic temptation and all. Fade out on you, playing footsie with your date as you split a milkshake at the 24-hour diner. Tinseltown can take a hike – for real, ‘last night was a movie’ moments, we know a spot in San Diego that can’t be topped

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Price per night from $256.93