La Costa Chateaus: Tale of Two Sisters


by Roberta Murphy

La Costa Chateaus: It was a developers uh-oh that should have never happened.

La Costa ChateausSometime around 1970, the developers of the original La Costa Resort and Spa allowed for the construction and sale of two 48 unit condominium buildings inside what would eventually come to be known as the gates of La Costa. And the La Costa Chateaus came to be.

These two buildings are the first to be seen by anyone approaching the resort from its main entrance. When built, the 791 square foot studios made a perfect pied a terre for out of area golf and tennis members who wanted a luxurious alternative to hotel rooms for short or extended stays and still wanted the benefits of resort locale as well as limousine and room service, tennis, golf and membership benefits that included the world-famous La Costa Spa.

La Costa Chateaus
La Costa Chateaus

According to one of the original salespeople, these spacious La Costa Chateau studios originally sold for just under $30,000. Each unit had one and a half baths, a small kitchenette, two Murphy beds and plenty of room for small-scale entertaining and cocktail parties. Each building had its own pool, spa and underground parking. The French chateau architecture with imposing mansard roofs blended fairly well with the early Rancho La Costa Inn, built in the late 1960s.

The sister builldings stood for almost 35 years unchanged. During those years, the 90 room Rancho La Costa grew and became the famed La Costa Resort and Spa–and Americas first full-service spa resort.

Over the years, many owners of the La Costa Chateaus remodeled their units, converting them to full one bedroom units with full kitchens. Several owners combined two units into one, creating very spacious and luxurious two-bedroom flats.

When KSL Resorts purchased La Costa from Japans Sports Shinko in 2001, the entire resort underwent a $140 million renovation. A new level of luxury was brought not only to Carlsbad, CA., but to the entire San Diego metropolitan area. There simply is no other regional resort that can match La Costas 40,000 square foot spa, two 18 hole championship golf courses, world-class tennis courts, fine dining, beautiful rooms, the (Deepak) Chopra Center and acres of fragrant gardens.

The only drawback?

The two ugly sisters just inside the gate. There was no way to avoid these aging eyesores. And with every million KSL invested in La Costa, the value of the Chateaus continued to climb. Over the years, owners improved their units, but nothing had been done to the building exteriors. Moreover, many of the units now served as well-located vacation rentals.

In 2005, with the resort renovations almost compete, KSL offered to financially assist the owners in each building, should they agree to renovate the building exteriors to blend with the rest of the resorts architecture. Additionally, La Costa took the initiative to immediately improve the front landscaping for each building.

It was an offer that made sense to the owners of the Balboa Chateaus. Their HOA board of directors held numerous open meetings, met with contractors, and commenced construction in January, 2007. A $30,000 assessment was collected for each unit and construction is being completed at the end of the summer..

As is often the case, sisters are not always in agreement about facelifts

As of early summer, 2007, owners of the Cortez Chateau still had not contracted for their buildings renovation. And as each week passed, the two buildings became more dissimilar. No longer could they be mistaken for the twins they once were.

As the scaffolding comes down from La Costa’s Balboa Chateau, a beautiful building emerges. Meanwhile, the once-identical twin stands shabbily with her deteriorating exterior while owners of the Balboa hope to soon regain a sister bearing some resemblance….

Today, several of these luxurious La Costa Chateaus are available as vacation rentals, for short or long term stays. For additional information, call Mike Murphy directly at 760-402-9102.

For latest information about all Carlsbad and La Costa real estate, please feel free to email or call Scott or Roberta Murphy at 760-942-9100 or 760-613-6190. Or, email

Check out other Fun Things to do in San Diego

12/14/2015 NOTE: I am updating information in this blog, and want to add that both La Costa Chateaus completed their exterior remodels and La Costa Resort and Spa is now owned by the Omni hotel chain and the resort is now known as Omni La Costa Resort.

2 responses to “La Costa Chateaus: Tale of Two Sisters

    1. Both buildings at the La Costa Chateaus–the Balboa and the Cortez–have now completed their exterior renovations. Additionally, may owners have totally remodeled their La Costa condos and use them as second homes or vacation rentals.

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