When the time came for Pacifica Host Hospitality Group to renovate the Best Western Stratford Inn in San Diego’s Del Mar neighborhood, the company made the decision not only to reflag the hotel, but take it to a whole new level. President Sushil Israni and his team selected the Hotel Indigo brand for its upscale, boutique style and because of Pacifica’s strong relationship with InterContinental Hotels Group.
Pacifica tapped Del Mar-based Design Line Interiors, Inc., a local high-end, hospitality, residential and commercial design firm, to remodel the hotel with a new lobby, bar, restaurant and outdoor spaces.
“We were brought in at the very beginning—when they were just visualizing the remodel and even before they decided to brand it—to provide a vision,” said Dawn Davidson, president and owner, Design Line Interiors. “The hotel really needed a facelift. We wanted to contemporize it. We wanted it to be light, bright and airy.” Almost immediately, they saw an opportunity to transform the lobby space. “When we first walked into the hotel, I knew there was potential for a great view from the lobby,” said Davidson. “We proposed eliminating one key to allow an ocean view and, after some discussion, the owners agreed to it. We also added height so the hotel, which is on slope, now has a stronger presence from the road.”
Pacifica’s decision to brand with Indigo “fit perfectly with the Del Mar name and feeling,” said Davidson. “They really believe in individualizing the theme of the hotel within its community.”
All Hotel Indigo properties, as part of the company’s philosophy, are uniquely designed to reflect the culture, character and history of the surrounding neighborhood. The Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar features elements from the town’s famous Del Mar Racetrack and beaches to reflect the community, so it would have its “own story,” Davidson said.
Guests will notice a connection between the boutique hotel and the surrounding neighborhood: floor-to-ceiling murals of the racetrack and beachside images in each room and island motifs stretching from the interiors all the way through to the outdoor amenities.
When it comes to style, Davidson loves an “element of surprise and mystique.” The hotel, by design, intends for guests to experience surprisingly unexpected moments that leave them feeling like they are a part of the neighborhood. “Playing with the imagination keeps people in your spaces alert and gets them thinking. People ask questions, and the story is told.”
Del Mar is rich with horse racing lore and the design of the hotel pays homage to that. “We wanted to appeal to a younger crowd with a more contemporary feeling, while adding some personality to the hotel,” she said. When Del Mar Racetrack opened in 1937, Bing Crosby—who helped build it—was at the gate to greet the fans including many of Hollywood’s elite. Design Line wove some of that rich history into the hotel. “We found black-and-white images of famous visitors like Lucille Ball and colored them in an Andy Warhol fashion. This became our art work and theme—a throwback to the old track days.”
Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar reopened in April 2012. The property’s 94 upgraded guestrooms have a tropical resort feeling with many offering views of the Pacific Ocean. All feature a fresh look with new furniture, warm colors, tiled bathrooms, granite countertops and spa-inspired showers. “We wanted a warm and contemporary feel,” said Davidson. “We used driftwood-tone ceramics and mixed Indigo’s blue and teal colors to add warmth and texture, livability and comfort.”
Davidson, who founded Design Line in 1985 at the age of 25, has created an award-winning firm. “Our claim to longevity is that we are diversified and perfectionists,” she said. “We push the envelope and don’t give up. I love remodels—I feel happiest when I can take something in existence and bring it up to level where it really shines.”