After 18 complicated years of design, review, community meetings, ownership changes and development the long awaited beach front landmark in Montecito has finally opened! The Miramar has 161 rooms (37 suites), a sensual spa, several dining areas (Malibu Farms, Caruso being the beach front restaurant opening Feb 28th), an Ice-Cream Parlor overlooking the pool serving Rory’s famous ice-cream (a local favourite), bocce ball and a ballroom for 400 that will be available for special events. Malibu Farms Restaurant overlooks the sprawling landscaped grounds serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cauliflower crust pizza and strawberry cobbler goes down well with a cappuccino enjoying the stunning ocean and mountain views.
Caruso, the beach front restaurant is set to open Feb 28th and is decked out with a classic navy nautical feel. The california bungalow feel of residents are sprawled all around the property, but the beachfront suits are particularly stunning each having their own patio overlooking Miramar beach.
But the luxury Miramar has an interesting backstory and journey of how it came to be, which required much perseverance, disappointments and had been a particular eyesore for the Montecito residents as well as thousands of past guests. The story begins here….
History of The Miramar Hotel, Montecito California
The Miramar history began in 1876 when Josiah and Emmeline Doulton purchased the 20 acre ocean front property in Montecito. In 1889 the Doultons built a separate cottage for visiting friends, which soon served to accommodate outside guests. Originally called Ocean View Farm, a friend/guest at the hotel suggested that the name of the destination be changed to “Miramar”, meaning “behold the sea.” Mrs. Doulton was immediately taken with the name and ordered signs the following day. Over the years, the hotel was expanded and by 1910 there were 29 structures on the property. The Miramar struggled during the Depression and the Doultons eventually sold the hotel to Paul Gawzner on November 3, 1939. Gawzner owned the Miramar until September 1998, when Ian Schrager purchased it for $31.7 million. The hotel closed its doors on September 10, 2000 to begin renovations and was set to reopen in about 18 months. Five years later, the partially demolished Miramar Hotel still sat vacant on some of the most valuable property in California. On April 29, 2005, TyWarner Hotels purchased the hotel from Schrager promising to renovate it in the near future. Less then 2 years later, no renovations had been made. Finally, in January of 2007, Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated purchased the Miramar for an undisclosed price. Faced initially with funding issues in the wake of the financial crisis, Caruso planned to renovate the hotel beginning in 2016. After multiple bureaucratic hurdles continue to plague the Miramar's schedule for re-opening, Caruso successfully reopened the Hotel Feb 2019 - MiramarByTheSea
Scroll Down Memory Lane
Images by: Santa Barbara Vintage Photography