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Even La Valencia Hotel Changes With Times

November 18, 1986|GREG JOHNSON

The Golden Triangle's growing wave of business travelers has even changed the way the storied La Valencia does business.

Briefcase-toting executives in pinstripes will not replace well-heeled vacationers at the hotel that was completed in 1928, but during the winter and early spring, business travelers now account for half of the hotel's business. Just a few years ago, the pinstripe set generated only a third of the hotel's guests, according to La Valencia Managing Director Patrick Halcewicz.

La Valencia recently spent $4 million on a subtle interior and exterior renovation that was designed to please longtime guests--who often book rooms by the month--as well as woo the business types who generally stay for just a few nights.

La Valencia's face lift was in part prompted by an "increase in the number of elite (business) people who want an elegant hotel," Halcewicz said. "They love (La Valencia) because they want the best."

Although La Valencia's longtime guests eschew change, the hotel has increased the number of rooms aimed at upper-echelon business travelers. Following the example of all-suite hotels such as the Residence Inn and Embassy Suites, La Valencia has turned some of its rooms into more spacious suites designed to meet the needs of business travelers.

The hotel also is awaiting city approval to build a 30-room, terraced addition that would face La Jolla Cove. That proposal is winding its way through the city permit process.

La Valencia's proposed addition underscores the value that hotel operators attach to the downtown La Jolla location, which enjoys ocean waves, scenic beaches, chic shopping and a growing number of restaurants.

To preserve downtown La Jolla's flavor, the City of San Diego has restricted new hotel room additions to just 88 rooms. La Valencia's addition would gobble up nearly a third of those rooms.

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