Reimagining An Icon: San Diego’s Historic LaFayette Hotel & Club Reemerges After 31-Million Dollar Transformation

Iconic San Diego hotel LaFayette Hotel & Club’s new owners, CH Projects, have officially opened the doors to its full transformation of the hotel into a nexus of inspired design and layered cultural experiences.

And it’s stunning!

lafayette pool

CH Projects, the company behind some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurant and bar destinations (Morning Glory, Youngblood, Born & Raised), developed the LaFayette Hotel & Club to reflect the brand’s commitment to creating properties that represent the unique cultural fabric of San Diego.

The result is a luxurious and spirited oasis that transports guests to a bygone era where they can engage in true escapism, connection, and exploration.

The Historic LaFayette: A vibrant oasis since 1946

A longstanding symbol of San Diego’s history located in the city’s North Park neighborhood, the LaFayette Hotel & Club is a two and half-acre Colonial-style hotel built in 1946 by young entrepreneur, Larry Imig, as a haven for young Hollywood, hosting starts such as Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Hope.

Shortly after it opened, the property was purchased by Conrad Hilton and changed ownership several times in the following decades and was maintained with varying degrees of effort and investment.

The first proper restoration in its history

The LaFayette Hotel & Club’s complete overhaul—it’s first proper restoration since it was built—was designed by Brooklyn-based Post Company including eight new food & beverage outlets along with all 139 rooms and the signature pool that remains the focal point of the property.

Renowned music producer Swizz Beats has created the hotel’s soundtrack played on a custom-built speaker system designed by Devon Turnbull. The aesthetic embodies the hotel’s connection to its glamorous past while showcasing modern, yet meaningful craftsmanship within a collection of eclectic spaces.

LaFayette Hotel & Club guest room

The Suze Suites that surround the outdoor pool follow the same irreverent maximalism of the main hotel rooms but with more playful elements such as layered patterns and bright textiles, gathered bed skirts, ornate lighting, and a mirrored bar cart.

“The LaFayette Hotel & Club is the culmination of every project we’ve undertaken since our inception over 17 years ago, when we dreamed of creating social spaces that honestly reflect San Diego’s underappreciated and misrepresented cultural scene,” says CH Projects founder, Arsalun Tafazoli.

He adds, “As stubborn advocates for the city, we are obsessive about creating experiences for the community that both celebrate our weird, wonderful pockets of subculture and provide elements of escapism.”

“A hotel is the pinnacle of hospitality, the most complex canvas on which people can socialize and connect deeply and we hope this new incarnation of The LaFayette Hotel & Club reflects our mission to honor tradition while making something new and surreal to discover.”

Accessible luxury

The new LaFayette Hotel & Club brings guests on a creative exploration that features an ode to the original “city within a city” hotel concept, moving beyond a one-dimensional space that exudes well curated affluence with aspirational style.

Accessible luxury can be found in each of the hotel’s food & beverage vignettes and the 139 rooms featuring custom designed linens and a thoughtfully curated in-room bar amenity featuring a comprehensive spirit and cocktail set-up by venerable cocktail expert Paul McGee.

Upon arrival, guests encounter a formal entry gilded with rich plastered crown moldings, tumbled vintage checkered marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and lush plantings.

A dedicated café kiosk that serves coffee and pastries is in the entry lobby along with a retail space carved out of rich millwork featuring a collection of diverse products curated by Swish Studios.

the lobby at the Historic LaFayette Hotel & Club

The lobby restrooms are interpretations of a Grand Hotel water closet with decorative tile, deep basin sinks, and aged unlacquered brass fixtures that speak to an Old-World vibe, while shared stalls and sinks nod toward a more inclusive era.

The historic LaFayette Hotel & Club is home to a range of guest rooms, suites, and townhouses rooted in traditional Victorian, Tudor, and Gothic details. Rich saturations of color, texture, and pattern immerse guests in a fanciful experience that is much more than just a place of rest.

Design elements such as wallpaper ceilings, saturated wall tones, fabric draped canopy beds, and burled bar carts read as functional sculpture or art.

The Townhouses on the property are in a Spanish Mission style with whimsical, bright textiles and distinct furniture juxtaposed alongside more classical elements of textured flooring and wrought iron details.

Food & Beverage

The hotel’s myriad of dining experiences provides their own distinct moods yet mirror the same grandeur and delight as the rest of the hotel. The outlets will debut in two phases including:

Phase I

Beginners Diner

Beginners Diner

Beginners Diner has an authentic drawing that feels as if it has always been there with the hotel built around the concept. The interiors act as an installation of a traditional diner from the 1940s, and details down to the placemats, flatware, and fountain drinks transport guests into this historic era with a diner historian consulted on the details.

Beginners Diner

The restaurant’s chrome storefront and bold neon signage stand out in sharp contrast to its environs, becoming a beacon that signals visitors to explore what is beyond.

The concept is a tribute to the Americana hero dishes that helped democratize restaurants mid-century with a nod to traditional Greek and Jewish food influences.

The Lobby Bar

The Lobby Bar at the LaFayette Hotel & Club

The Lobby Bar is circular in design under the soaring glass atrium flooding the space with light and is anchored by the Atlas statue and surrounded by a hand-painted ceiling by Brazilian-based artist Joāo Incerti.

The menu will feature thoughtful, classic throwback cocktails served in an environment created to foster connectivity between visitors and locals.

cocktail at The Lobby Bar

This bar is constructed with detailed wood surrounded by delicate banquettes with wrought iron lamps and is a convenient meeting space and starting point to the many dining and entertainment rooms held within the hotel.

Quixote

Quixote is an Oaxacan-inspired concept and Mezcalería designed with monastic qualities that envelop guests with an agnostic sense of worship.

Quixote

The entire space was created from a decommissioned Catholic church in Mexico and reconstructed to showcase dark wood paneling, rough cobblestones that dot the entryway, flickering Santa Maria candles, rich stained-glass windows and baroque pews and banquettes surrounding the pulpit-inspired bar.

Quixote menu

Heirloom grains and masa with artisanal moles anchor the dining experience alongside creative craft cocktail spotlighting mezcal and Mexican distillates.

The Pool Bar

The Pool Bar on the property is both composed and excessive with a sun-drenched stone patio cascading down into the checkered pool and connecting garden-like deck surrounded by abundant, overgrown bougainvillea, citrus, and jasmine.

The Pool Bar

Brightly colored and scalloped umbrellas shade striped chaise lounges and rattan clamshell chairs along the pool’s perimeter, all designed to evoke 1980’s luxury via the Amalfi Coast. Aperitivos, spritzes, and refreshing bites are featured on the menu.

The game room featuring a two-lane bowling alley The Gutter is inspired by Henry Frick’s personal bowling alley at the base of the Frick Museum and welcomes guests to a whimsical escape serving classic cocktails including a custom-made gravity-fed ball return system, elegant pool tables, and shuffleboard.

The Pool Bar

Phase II (available Q4 2023)

The Le Horse Continental Room is a more luxurious European-style restaurant designed with lavish materials and details such as wild mosaic tiles. The entrance is complete with a conservatory and a central bar and café style banquettes that flank both sides of the space.

Lulu’s Jungle Room & The Mississippi Room are conceived as a golden era jazz and night club housed in the hotel’s former event space and designed with a level of fantasy and composed surrealism.

The bar has clashing patterns of leopards, forest canopies, feathers, and fronds, while the Mississippi Room is slightly pared down for guests to focus on the stage that will feature a variety of live music acts with decorative columns and patterned carpet that complement the original clam shell backdrop.

A Chef’s Table spotlighting visiting culinary talent from around the world will be available in Phase II.

The elaborate quality of the hotel extends into the spa and wellness areas where Russian, Roman, and Turkish baths will debut in Fall 2023.

See you there

Historic LaFayette Hotel & Club exterior

Room rates start at $299; The Lafayette is located at 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104.

Stay up to date with the historic LaFayette Hotel & Club on Instagram or visit the website here.

See you there, San Diego!

The Latest
Kountry Wayne
Setting the stage for another month of outstanding and talented performers, El Cajon’s The Magnolia is prepared for a great month of May—inviting you in...
Wild Weekend: Amazonia at San Diego Zoo for Earth Day
There are interactive experiences and fun for the whole family as you join us to celebrate Earth Day and Wild Weekend: Amazonia at the San...
big list of things to do in san diego this weekend
Check out this week’s Big List of Things To Do in San Diego this Weekend and make your plans! Marvel at the elegance of classic...
top concerts in san diego this week
Here are the top concerts in San Diego this week! Catch Kevin Hart and Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias for laughs, or dance the night away with...
Nason's Beer Hall
The Dish is your source for the latest menu updates, new cocktail programs, happy hours, and special offers from San Diego’s best restaurants and bars!...
Spring Soirée at Spa Alila
Spring is the perfect time to refresh not just your closet, but your skin too! Now is the time to join Spa Alila for an...