Miramar Quietly Opens its Doors

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   February 14, 2019
A beachfront guest suite at the Rosewood Miramar

On Monday, February 11, Rick Caruso’s Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel and Resort was teeming with hundreds of employees awaiting the arrival of the first guests to stay at the reimagined property. The resort, which held its “soft opening” in order to accommodate a limited number of guests who had made reservations months ago, will be fully open to the public on March 1. 

Rick Caruso (left) and Rick Lemmo greet guests during the soft opening of the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel and Resort

The reopening of the long-awaited resort is nearly twenty years in the making; the original, more modest hotel shut its doors in 2000, after Ian Schrager purchased the property. Five years later he sold it to Ty Warner, who then sold it to Caruso in 2007. For the past 12 years Caruso has tirelessly battled the County for permits for everything from the demolition of the old hotel in 2012 to multiple iterations of the rebuild; the current plans were granted final approval in 2015 by the Montecito Planning Commission, but then Caruso himself appealed the approval, asking for more leniency on the number of beach club members and event attendees. Countless meetings followed with MBAR to finalize the design of the project; Caruso broke ground on the property in 2016. 

“It’s an exciting time, and I’m looking forward to welcoming everyone to the property when we officially open,” Caruso told us on Monday, while walking his dog Dodge through the dog-friendly property, flanked by several members of his team. 

The Manor House, the property’s centerpiece, was “inspired by a residential home, and set up to exude comfort and warmth,” said Caruso Senior Vice President Corporate Relations Rick Lemmo. The building, which includes a circular staircase originally designed by late architect Paul Williams, who made his mark on Los Angeles designing the homes of many celebrities as well as designing some of Southern California’s more notable public buildings, does indeed feel more like a private home than a hotel lobby. 

The Manor House offers three signature suites upstairs, which can be reserved together to be utilized as a family compound. The property offers 161 guest rooms, including 37 suites; the accommodations are a mix of traditional rooms in two lanai buildings, freestanding bungalows – a requirement by the County as an homage to the former Miramar By the Sea hotel –, and Beach House rooms, which are perched directly atop the sand, offering direct beach access for guests. Every room and suite across the 16-acre site, including the freestanding bungalows, features a fully furnished terrace or balcony with views of the ocean, mountains, or landscaped gardens.  

The property features six bars and six restaurants, including Caruso’s, the resort’s more formal restaurant located above the sand with expansive ocean views. Led by executive chef Massimo Falsini, the eatery will offer al fresco seating; lunch will be offered for guests with “sandy feet,” while dinner will be a bit more upscale. There is also the Miramar Beach Bar, the al fresco, oceanfront bar made to feel as if one is on a sailing vessel. Inside the Manor House is the Manor Bar, which will eventually offer nightly music around a grand piano. Also within the Manor House is the more casual all-day restaurant, Malibu Farms at Miramar. A poolside eatery, Scoop Shop, offers ice cream, sandwiches, and other fare. 

The back of the Manor House at the Rosewood Miramar

There are two pools on the premises: the family friendly Manor Pool, with a maximum depth of four feet, as well as the adults only Cabana Pool. The infinity edge pool was modeled after a pool Paul Williams designed at the now closed Arrowhead Springs Hotel, once a mecca for celebrities during Hollywood’s most glamorous era. The resort’s spa, which is still getting its final touches, will feature six treatment rooms and an array of services, including a full-service hair and nail salon. A fitness center overlooks the grounds, which also include a bocce court, koi pond, and fire pit, and many seating areas. “We hope this will be known as the center of town,” said Caruso rep Jessica Wong. Future plans call for bocce and croquet leagues and a plethora of kids’ activities.

Guests can also request to be taken off property in one of four 6-seater vintage Fiat Jollys; drivers will take guests to Montecito’s shops and restaurants on Coast Village Road, the upper village, and beyond. On-premise shopping includes Goop Sundries, the first resort location of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle shop. The Gate House is the other retail destination on site, offering home and clothing finds by designer James Perse.  

One of the design challenges Caruso faced while planning the hotel property was the fact that train tracks are located on site. The tracks, which are protected with aesthetically pleasing fences and gates, are monitored by a 24-hour crossing guard, who gets plentiful notice that a train is approaching. The area was supposed to have been designated a “quiet crossing” by Union Pacific, but that, so far, has not come to fruition. “We’ve also used cutting edge sound mitigation for the guest rooms,” Wong said. “We want to embrace the train, and celebrate it,” she added. 

The Resort will be open for a few select events, including two weddings, in the coming weeks until the official opening on March 1. From the intimate Founder’s Dining Room, to the expansive Great Lawn, to the glittering Chandelier Ballroom, the property boasts over 27,000 sq ft of meeting and event space. The Chandelier Ballroom features 12 custom-made Baccarat chandeliers featuring a row of subtle “Miramar blue” crystals. “There are so many details throughout the resort that pay homage to the former Miramar,” Lemmo points out. 

 “I can’t wait to welcome everyone here,” Caruso says. For more information about the opening of the resort, which will be marked by a community-wide ribbon cutting, visit www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/miramar-beach-montecito


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