The Miramar Beach Hotel and Bungalows have set a completion date of Summer 2017.
Founded in Santa Barbara’s Montecito neighborhood at Miramar Beach on 20 acres of beachfront property in 1876 by Josiah and Emmeline Doulton as a family estate, the Miramar Beach Hotel has the designation of being one of the first resorts on the Coast of California and one of the few that includes a beachfront. Originally called Ocean View Farm, it was changed to “Miramar,” meaning ‘behold the sea,’ at the suggestion of a guest. Over the years, the hotel expanded and by 1910 there were 29 structures on the property. With struggles during the Great Depression, the Doultons eventually sold the Miramar. In September 2000, it was shuttered and closed for business and its future was unknown until its most recent purchase in January 2007 by billionaire Rick Caruso for $50 million.
On its website, Caruso Affiliated describes the endeavor:
“The Miramar Beach Hotel and Bungalows will become a world-class destination, reinventing the luxury resort experience. The Miramar will be built completely new from the ground up and will feature 170 rooms and suites – a majority of which will be housed in lanai cottage and bungalow buildings nestled among rolling lawns, lush landscaping and numerous water features.
Twenty premiere oceanfront suites and rooms will sit directly on 500-feet of private beachfront. The property will feature two pools, a large family-oriented pool at the center of the ground that will be the focal point of the resort; and a second, quieter adult-focused pool set amidst the bungalows. The main building design evokes a grand oceanfront estate, with the successive guest room buildings being less formal – furnished in the manner of a casually elegant beach home. The main building will feature a lobby lounge and bar, executive board room, and a ballroom that can host events of up to 500 guests in a variety of configurations.
A poolside structure will host a casual three-meal restaurant, with a fine-dining restaurant upstairs. Additionally, a beach bar will offer food and drinks right on the hotel’s own boardwalk, and directly on the sands of Miramar Beach. The private beachfront also allows Caruso Affiliated to host memorable events, including weddings, right on the sand. This is something no other Southern California resort can provide. A tranquil 7500-square-foot spa and private members-only beach club round out the extensive list of amenities.”
Although the Miramar Beach Resort and Bungalows project has had the required approvals in place since April 2009, Caruso and his real estate development firm, Caruso Affiliated, sought permit and revision extensions that were intended to lower construction costs and improve the economics of the project.
In July 2014, the revised 16-acre project (believed to be the final plan) was submitted to Santa Barbara County and shows a reduction in the number of rooms from 186 to 170. The renewed plan also includes a beachfront restaurant with an outdoor terrace, private club and beach access.
The delay in proceeding with construction in 2009 was due to a “soft market” for hotel rooms. Demolition of the old hotel structures was completed in early 2013. Caruso told the Los Angeles Times in late July 2014 he hopes to open the resort in Summer 2017 if the new proposals are approved.