La Costa Resort's $50-million renovation complete
The Carlsbad inn competes with several newer resorts in north San Diego County and south Orange County and was due to be renovated, industry experts said.
The makeover taking place over the last 18 months freshened 474 guest rooms, updated meeting rooms with new technology and added amenities to the spa. The resort also got a new swimming pool and whirlpool bath area overlooking the golf course that is strictly for adults.
La Costa had a $40-million makeover in 2003 but it was time for another, said consultant Alan Reay of Atlas Hospitality, who is not involved with La Costa. He recommends that hotels set aside enough income to conduct serious renovations every five to eight years.
“In order be competitive, you have to keep putting money back into a hotel,” he said. “It’s very important if you want to maintain your group business and meeting business that you keep the property up.”
About 55% of La Costa’s guests come to attend a business function, general manager Paul McCormick said. The rest are leisure travelers.
The large resort –- it includes 611 rooms, suites and villas on 400 acres -– has evolved over decades. Soon after it opened in 1965, ads in The Times suggested that children ride horseback while Dad golfed and Mom played tennis or relaxed by the pool. The resort still focuses on family activities, with a kids club, game lounge and daunting water slides at the main pool to keep youngsters entertained.
“It’s now a wonderful campus environment,” McCormick said, but it was time to spruce up some of the adult components. The golf course was improved, he said, and a sports bar was added. “The real focus has been how do we bring sexy back to La Costa.”
Other hotels are likely to follow La Costa’s lead as the hotel industry gets back on its feet after rough years during and after the recession, consultant Reay said.
“There is a tremendous amount of inventory that has not been upgraded” since the economic downturn began, he said. “You are going to see a whole wave of hotels renovating over the next two or three years.”
-- Roger Vincent
Photo: A plaza at La Costa. Credit: La Costa Resort & Spa