The Lafayette Hotel is a fun place for a pool party, but let's face the facts—the remodel that seems to be taking far too long was pretty well overdue about five years ago. The old hotel had better pick up the pace because just down the hill in Mission Valley, some healthy pool-party competition awaits.
The Handlery Hotel & Resort (950 Hotel Circle Drive N.) boasts a nice, big, open-to-the-public pool and hot tub, and, in a few weeks, it'll open the new Longboards Bar & Grill, a permanent poolside bar that will host happy hours and live music by local singer/songwriters.
“It's going to be a very casual, fun beach-atmosphere bar,” said Handlery restaurant manager Gus Thompson. “There will be two big French doors where you can walk in and out from the pool.”
The hotel's been hosting pool parties from Memorial Day through Labor Day for the last few years, but Thompson says they're still working on getting San Diegans to pay attention.
“We really want to get some locals to come in and see what we've got,” he said. “It's one of those hidden gems in Mission Valley, and when you're by the pool, I swear, you have no idea you're right next to Interstate 8.”
From late 2009 to early 2010, the Handlery Hotel shut its doors and underwent a $4-million renovation. Thompson says a lot of locals still haven't seen or even heard about the facelift. The only San Diego tribe that does seem to be paying attention to the hotel's happenings is the craft-beer community, he says. Last September, Thompson started organizing beer-pairing dinners and tastings and he says they've been a huge hit.
This weekend, Thompson and crew are gearing up for their biggest beer event of the year, the Second Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer Festival, happening in the hotel parking lot from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 27. They have 19 confirmed breweries, 14 chefs and four local live bands.
“It's going to be on a much larger and grander scale than last year,” Thompson promises.