I love discovering all that California has to offer. You never know what you will encounter. One place that enchanted me was the Pantai Inn in La Jolla.
The charming Pantai Inn with its Balinese décor is located on La Jolla’s exquisite coastline. Almost every luxury suite has a breathtaking view.
Pantai means “fine white sand beach” in Indonesian. The location across from the beach and La Jolla Park makes that a fitting name.
Pantai Inn History
This family-run hotel, now run by the third generation of the Heimburge family, represents the history of the community and not just of the family. The story began when Max Heimburge immigrated from Germany to the United States. Like many, his new life started in New York. A shoemaker by trade, he saved his money and moved to San Diego. Just as World War II started, Heimburge opened a boot shop and provided military boots for the Marines at nearby Camp Pendleton.
After the War, entrepreneurial Heimburge started purchasing homes and apartment buildings in La Jolla. He accumulated about an acre of properties including turn of the century cottages and 1930s Art Deco-style buildings. Friends suggested that he provide them with a place to stay when they came to the horse races in Del Mar. Heimburge decided to follow through on their request, and the apartments he owned became the Shell Beach Motel, which is now the Pantai Inn.
Pantai Inn Stories—The Bathing Suit Police
Many of the Pantai Inn apartments have their own story. Suite #107, where I stayed, has one of those fascinating stories. In 1917, Southern California’s first policewoman, Lucille Jeardeau, lived in this summer cottage apartment. She patrolled the streets and beaches enforcing the bathing suit regulations of the time. It was quite the draw during World War I when the soldiers from nearby Camp Kearney were off duty.
Bathing Suite Regulations made it unlawful for people to appear in public places in La Jolla while dressed in a bathing suit unless they were covered by a long coat or wrap.
In the town archives, it states that measures had to be taken to “curb their Effervescent Enthusiasms.” Miss Jeardeau was fond of saying “none is too blind as she who sees too much.” At the time many were known to test the waters, so to speak, to see how far they could go before being arrested by Miss Jeardeau.
It is ironic that a woman like Miss Jeardeau was able to investigate crime and carry a gun yet was not allowed to vote. Times have changed. Women can vote and bathing suits are common attire throughout the coastal area.
Pantai Inn Today
Today, Larry Jackman and Laurnie Durisoe own the property, and they have made their mark with a significant renovation that gives the hotel its current exotic character. They paid great attention to detail in selecting the artwork and representing the architectural traditions of Bali.
There are several colorful murals depicting life in Bali painted by San Diego artist, Edmond Piffard. You’ll see beautiful Padma sculptures adorning the entrance of the Pantai Inn. These statues signify harmony in life. The inn strives to provide guests with a sense of harmony and tranquility.
Ideally located within walking distance 0f La Jolla Village, restaurants, shopping, the tidepools, and beachfront trail, the Pantai Inn makes for a perfect escape for a relaxing coastal weekend.
The Pantai Inn features 30 guest suites and cottages, many with kitchens. I found that the Indonesian décor fits in well with the beachy vibe. The architectural details, especially in the wood accents, give a warm feel to the inn.
The open lobby reminded me of those I experienced in Hawaii. You can stop by for coffee and homemade cookies any time during the day. And, a stay at the inn includes a delicious breakfast.
Three-Bedroom Suite at Pantai Inn
My suite was a three-bedroom 2-story cottage with its spacious kitchen, dining area, and sitting room. The suite would be ideal for those with children.
And in the morning I was able to relax on the balcony with an amazing view.
Everything about the Pantai Inn suggests serenity and tranquility. Get the best of a Southern California beach community and a little bit of Bali as you enjoy your La Jolla oceanfront getaway.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.