The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe has been the resort of choice for presidents, royalty and Hollywood elite since the 1920s. It's an integral part of this historic community's beginning.
Formerly known as Rancho San Dieguito, Rancho Santa Fe was once a 8,824-acre Mexican land grant presented to San Diego's first mayor, John Osuna.
Exterior shot of one of the hotel's cottages — Photo courtesy of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Have you always wondered why the area is full of eucalyptus trees? It's because 6,000 of these acres were sold to the Santa Fe Railroad, who planted the trees to supply ties for railroad tracks. Eucalyptus ultimately proved to be too soft of a wood, so in 1906 the Santa Fe Development Company decided to utilize the land by building a community of gentrified ranches with Spanish Colonial design.
The Village of Rancho Santa Fe was designed by one of California's early female licensed architects, Lilian Rice. The first phase of design included a 12-room California Mission-style adobe guest house to accommodate visitors to the area and named La Morada, Spanish for "the home with many rooms." La Morada is now The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (renamed in 1940), which is still located in the heart of the village near a myriad of boutiques, antique shops and restaurants.
In 1923, the inn and other nearby historic buildings were completed. Much of Rice's original designs remain in tact, though restored, to this day. The covenant of Rancho Santa Fe was recorded in 1928 and protects the character of the area. You won't see any building design that looks out of place.
The large beams supporting the ceiling in the lounge remain today at the inn. Also of note, Frank Lloyd Wright was married in the parlor of the inn in 1928.
Acacia bedroom — Photo courtesy of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Lilian Rice continued to change and improve the village and its inn until her death in 1938. She even designed a nearby home for Bing Crosby, who had purchased one of Juan Osuna's original adobes.
In 1958, the inn was purchased by Stephan W. Royce, a well-known hotelier. It flourished for 54 years under his ownership. The inn was purchased in 2012 by JMI Reality. A number of their employees actually live in Rancho Santa Fe and value the inn's role as the heart of the community.
An extensive $12-million renovation commenced in 2013 to bring The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe up to standards expected by savvy travelers. A 3000-square-foot full-service and relaxation courtyard was added, along with a new restaurant, aptly named La Morada.
All guest rooms, public areas, meeting facilities, pool cabanas, gardens, outdoor function spaces, grounds and landscaping have been fully upgraded to ensure the longevity of the inn's charm.