SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- In just 18 months, Hotel Casa Del Mar has
established itself as one of the places to be seen at in this
beachside community, where celebrity sightings are as common as the
morning mist off the Pacific Ocean.
It's no wonder. The restoration of the historic 1920s building
gives an ambeance of opulence that serves as a perfect backdrop for
the beautiful and the famous.
Nearly $60 million was spent by the Edward Thomas Hospitality
Corp. (ETHC) in a total renovation of the building, which opened in
1926 as a hotel but served for decades as a drug rehabilitation
facility and later the Pritikin Longevity Center.
ETHC, which also owns Shutters on the Beach, next door to Casa
Del Mar, can boast that its two properties are the only ones in the
Los Angeles area that are literally on the sand.
The Santa Monica Pier is steps away, as is the walking, biking
and roller-blading trail that wends its way along the beach from
Venice through Santa Monica.
though the two share reservations and some marketing staff, the
129-room Casa Del Mar differs from its sister property in style and
While Shutters on the Beach is more evocative of a casual
American beach house, Casa Del Mar brings to mind a traditional
The architecture is Mediterranean, and much of the original
handcrafted materials from the 1920s remain in the entrance
rotunda, lobby and bar: tile, marble, mosaic, stained glass, wood
beams with gold stenciling and an iron stair rail.
General Manager Klaus Mennekes, former general manager of
Shutters On The Beach, said the hotel was fortunate to attract
talented people, particularly to its restaurants, which have
garnered excellent reviews.
Mennekes, who was director of food and beverage for The
Peninsula Group's hotels in Hong Kong and Singapore earlier in his
career, said chef Andrew DeGroot has been instrumental in
positioning the hotel's Oceanfront restaurant as a destination in
The hotel's occupancy has been strong, said Mennekes, and the
property is sold-out during some of Los Angeles' premier
entertainment industry events, such as the Academy Awards and the
The rooms are sumptuous, their baths lined with white Italian
marble. Above their whirlpool tubs is a window of frosted panes
that opens onto the guest rooms.
The decor of the rooms is rich in shades of yellow and green;
the furniture is of fruitwood and wicker. Room rates start at $335
for a room without an ocean view and $395 for a room with a partial
Several suites include three two-story penthouses with
fireplaces, formal dining areas and either one or two bedrooms.
The Presidential Suite offers three bedrooms, a living room and
dining room, a full kitchen and an exercise studio with a sauna and
a steam shower.
The hotel also features a swimming pool, a spa and a fitness
room as well as 6,600 square feet of meetings space, including a
4,000-square-foot Colonnade Ballroom with Venetian glass
chandeliers and a wall of glass overlooking the ocean.
Casa Del Mar is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. For
information, call (310) 581-5533 or (800) 898-6999. The Web site
address is www.hotelcasadelmar.com.