Many of La Jolla’s hotels are beautiful, grand, and exude lush extravagance; though that kind of atmosphere can be perfect for an elegant getaway, it’s nice to have other options when you’re visiting the city or taking a weekend staycation with the family. At first glance, the Redwood Hollow Cottages are unassuming, tucked-away little houses that look more like charming villas than a hotel – but that is exactly what appeals to many of its longtime visitors. These bungalows, which were named a Historical Landmark in 1997, provide an unforgettable way of experiencing the beauty of La Jolla. Enjoy all the amenities of a modern-day hotel in the comfort of an enchanting wood cottage right here in the village.
A Little Background
The property where the Redwood Hollow Cottages stand today was originally bought and dubbed “Prospect View” in 1907 by a man named Walter Scott Lieber, a local resident and prime rental property developer who also assisted with the establishment of Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
The site’s initial allure was apparent early on – each little bungalow boasted panoramic ocean views, since most of the surrounding lots (and a good portion of The Village) were vacant in the early 1900s. The structures on the property were actually just a few of 36 different rental cottages and bungalows Lieber acquired and developed between 1904 and 1945. Most of the sites, with the exception of present-day Redwood Hollow, were later demolished in favor of large scale condominiums; luckily, the Hollow’s distinction as a Historical Site will protect it from any demolition.
A Piece of the Mountains in the Heart of La Jolla
The cottages were part of a quiet residential neighborhood in the village and built mainly in the mountain craftsman style, which was popular in Southern California at the time for its intimate and comfortable design. They were (and still are) clustered around a central garden courtyard and were built to resemble a rustic mountain retreat; vibrant foliage, open space, and picturesque plants were thought to provide an aura of calmness and tranquility. Lieber included a lot of split-cedar and redwood siding, perhaps an architectural detail owing to its present day name. The serene atmosphere has not only provided a home-away-from-home for vacationers, but also a bit of a creative haven for surfers, artisans, writers, and musicians.
The Cottages Today
Now, six of the Redwood Hollow Cottages are lined with a mixture of redwood and cedar, and most of them include a full kitchen, queen-sized or king-sized bed in the bedroom(s) and a sleep sofa in the living or sitting area. The units range from studios and one bedrooms up to two bedroom, two bath cottages and all of them boast whimsical names: “Ocean Ridge,” “Hemingway,” “Sea Bright,” and “Whispering Sands,” to name a few.
These titles have historical significance, as well. 20th-century La Jolla retained a uniquely bohemian atmosphere, and most homeowners resisted conformity by refusing to use street names in reference to their properties. Letters to homes and rental units were instead addressed to names like Red Roost, Geranium, or Wisteria. So instead of calling the cottages by their addresses, Lieber gave each a unique name like Woodmere and Cherokee. The tradition, fortunately, is being maintained by its current owners.
To this day, the property radiates historic charm and beauty. Many of the buildings have been refurbished but still manage to maintain that sense of antiquity, and there is even a mural on one of the back walls that management says has been there for decades. The interiors of the cottages are well designed and feature vintage Arts and Crafts furniture, oriental rugs, and oil paintings.
Though there are countless other cottages in the village, including the La Jolla Historical Society’s famed Wisteria Cottage, Redwood Hollow has a distinctive air about it that is unlike its contemporaries. The wood paneling, lush foliage, brick walkways, and colorful shutters transport visitors to a distant era; if you’re looking for an extraordinary way to experience La Jolla, head over to the Redwood Hollow Cottages for a visit. Guests can stay for a few nights, a week, or even as long as a month – a true home-away-from-home.
The cottages are located at 256 Prospect Street in La Jolla. For more information and to book your stay, visit their website.
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