Over a half-century in the making, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is one of today’s most iconic destinations.
When you stroll the grounds of Omni La Costa, you get the feeling you’re walking in the footsteps of giants, of iconic luminaries. And for good reason. La Costa is not only steeped in history but also in a mystique that transcends time. From the moment it was founded, La Costa seemed to have a magnetic charm that lured the “who’s who” of the celebrity world, the sports world, and the underworld.
From Karlsbad to Carlsbad, the magical waters flowed.
The first to recognize there was something special about the area was pioneer settler John Frazier, who in the 1880s discovered an underground mineral stream on his property. Tests proved that the water had similar qualities to the mineral water at a spa in Karlsbad, Bohemia. The fledgling community embraced the name, and thus, a new California city was put on the map: Carlsbad.
Before La Costa, there was a man with a vision.
Nearly eighty years after Frazier found the underground spring, La Costa resort founder Merv Adelson discovered the land above it while riding his horse along an equestrian trail that passed through the coastal foothills. He paused at the peak of a hill to take in the breathtaking vista of the valley below. It was then that he was struck with the vision that would one day become La Costa. Having spent the previous decade in Las Vegas as a real estate developer, building golf courses and hotels, Adelson had the know-how–and the backing of underworld connections–to bring the vision to life. And with the help of partners Irwin Molasky and Allard Roen, he would do just that.
Nothing attracts world-class golfers like world-class golf courses.
Work began in earnest and as early as June 1964, La Costa’s golf courses were already nearing completion, just as work on the clubhouse was getting underway. The original 72-par, 7,200-yard course–designed by renowned architect Dick Wilson–covered 215 acres and cost $1.5 million. Combine that with perfect year-round weather, and it wasn’t long before some of the greatest pro golfers at the time took notice, including Sam Snead, Ray Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Nichols, and Jack Nicklaus.
What good is a resort without a world-renowned spa?
A year later, La Costa introduced the 22-acre spa, which would become the crown jewel of the property. From the instant it opened, the $3 million La Costa spa received international acclaim. Believed to be the largest and best-equipped in the world, the spa boasted a 21,000-square-foot building with 50 guest rooms, two gymnasiums, whirlpools, steam rooms, Roman showers, Finnish saunas, Russian baths, and more. The Spa at La Costa became the first in the country to earn an endorsement from the American Medical Association, and esteemed visitors included the Queen of Iran, Jackie Kennedy, Henry Ford, and others.
La Costa had become more than a resort. It was now a lifestyle.
In a few short years, La Costa had quickly established itself as a top destination for the Hollywood elite who wanted to experience “The La Costa Lifestyle.” The golf course received worldwide praise and was routinely played by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bob Hope. In the early 1970s, the famed Pancho Segura was the resident pro, and La Costa became a tennis epicenter with Charlton Heston, Johnny Carson, and Desi Arnaz exchanging rallies during their visits. And, of course, The Spa was a refuge for some of the world’s most powerful people, including Richard Nixon.
As sports got more serious, so did the competition that came to play.
Championship-caliber golf and tennis tournaments settled into La Costa throughout the 1980s. The resort continued to host the Tournament of Champions, and tennis gained momentum with the Davis Cup and the Carl Reiner Celebrity Tennis Tournament. In 1984, an additional nine holes were added, bringing the total to 36 and creating two unique courses–the North and the South, which are now known as Champions and Legends.
With a new millennium came major renovations and upgrades.
In 2003, La Costa received a $140 million restoration. The newly designed $12 million spa included a 28,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial building and an additional 15,000 square feet of fragrant gardens and courtyards. La Costa’s golf courses were also renovated, a brand-new ballroom was added, and new partnerships were forged with Deepak Chopra and The Chopra Center.
Celebrating 50 Years of “The La Costa Lifestyle.”
Following a successful renovation, Omni Hotels purchased La Costa in 2013. It wasn’t long before the accolades began rolling in, including top awards from Condé Nast, Travel + Leisure, Spa Finder, Golfweek, and many others. Omni La Costa has expanded on various partnerships including PFC Fitness Camp, which continues the resort’s tradition of commitment to wellness, fitness, and sports. The resort remains a destination for golfers, spa-goers, celebrities, and families from across the world who seek something out of the ordinary.
The playground to the stars of the past is today a playground for you and your family.
Since the early 1960s as an equestrian ranch to the modern-day luxuries of one of the world’s top resorts, La Costa has defined Southern California culture the past 50 years by providing a playground for jet-setters, important politicians, and underworld heavyweights. You need only spend a little time at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa to understand the allure it had in the past for so many elite personalities and the attraction it continues to have today.