The Coast News Group
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe has been sold to JMI Realty Group. When escrow closes it will be the first change in ownership since 1958. Photo by Patty McCormac
FeaturedRancho Santa Fe Lead Story

Association looks forward to working with new Inn owners

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in the heart of the Covenant, has been sold to JMI Realty Group. The 21-acre property is still in escrow, but this will be the first change of ownership since the Royce family purchased it in 1958.“Since Rancho Santa Fe was established, the Inn has played a key role in defining the character of the community and always will,” said Pete Smith, Rancho Santa Fe Association Manager.

The property was put on the market in October 2011, and it was said the offers to be entertained would be around the $30 million mark. It has been the center of social, cultural and civic activities for many years.

Among the events hosted at the site is The Art of Fashion, a fundraising event by The Country Friends of Rancho Santa Fe. It has been the spot where the classical Mainly Mozart gathers and the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club meets.

“The community has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the current owners of the Inn for decades and personally I am very sorry that they will no longer be involved in the operations,” Smith said.

JMI is no stranger to the hotel business. It is the owner of the Omni Hotel near Petco Park and the Hotel Solamar in Downtown San Diego. It also has holdings in Colorado and Texas.

The company was chosen by the city of San Diego and the San Diego Padres to be the master developer of the ballpark district. In addition to the downtown area, JMI owns the Paseo del Mar campus style office development in Del Mar Heights.

As for the Inn, Smith says he expects changes. “I am looking forward to working with the new owners to continue our relationship with the Inn to everyone’s benefit,” he said.

The Inn was the very first building in Rancho Santa Fe. Known as La Morida, “the house of many rooms,” it was designed by Rancho Santa Fe’s first architect, Lilian Rice who was employed by the architectural firm of Requa and Jackson. The Spanish Revival-style structure was first used as a guesthouse by Rancho Santa Fe Land Improvement Company officials. It also housed prospective buyers of the small “ranchos” in the area.

It was opened to the public in 1923 and when it sold to a private person in 1940, its name was changed to The Inn At Rancho Santa Fe. It has grown to have about 100 guest rooms, suites and charming cottages. It also has meeting rooms, a fitness center, a pool and restaurants.