ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH HOTEL, CALIFORNIA
Set in Santa Barbara’s picturesque community of Montecito, Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel is a sprawling estate designed with style, grace, and glamour.
Located 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles and uniquely positioned on 500 linear feet of exclusive oceanfront, the resort is built on the site of the former Miramar Beach Hotel, a cherished retreat for fashionable beach getaways. The original site, Miramar by the Sea, opened in the late 1800s when a farming family rented rooms in its house and later added tent-like canvas cabins. Later the resort, under different ownership, became known for its blue-roofed white bungalows. In its heyday it was a relatively affordable beach destination, but in 1998 it closed, and hotelier Ian Schrager stepped in to buy it. Unable to secure plans to develop the site, Miramar sat empty for a long time, exchanged hands again, and eventually was sold to Rick Caruso – a well-known businessman and CEO of Caruso, an American real-estate company.
After a number of setbacks, work on the site finally took off and the new-look Miramar was unveiled in 2019. Consisting of 161 suites and bungalows, Miramar Beach resort spans 16 manicured acres and conveys an elegant yet casual atmosphere, offering iconic sophistication and refined modernity. Part of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ distinctive collection of luxurious hotels, the new Miramar is far removed from its former life, yet still retains a hint to its past, which adds charm and character.
Taking inspiration from the original site, which at the time was a landmark on the Santa Barbara coastline, the team at Richmond International – who were responsible for the design of The Ambassador Suite, the Sense Spa and Fitness area and Caruso’s, the beachside restaurant – explored the history of the property, the area and its prevailing plantation-style as the starting point for the design. The end result is a homely, bespoke and eclectic manor house with a series of guest rooms, bungalows and garden cottages.
The understated elegance and charm of the Santa Barbara neighbourhood pervades the Richmond-designed areas of the hotel. Woven through the oceanfront restaurant Caruso’s, the wellness facilities and The Ambassador Suite, the design captures the spirit and heritage of the area. The team also referenced the work of architect Paul Williams in order to achieve a heritage look at the new-build property.
Centrally located on the second floor of the Manor House, the Ambassador Suite offers the best views in the property. From the private terrace, guests can soak in the sights of the local landscape that inspired the room’s interiors. The suite, uniquely configured to allow guests to create either a one or two-bedroom space, combines elements from old manor houses such as wide fireplaces, panelled walls, gilded mirrors and pendant light fixtures, which evoke a modernised take on the authentic grand estate style of properties in the area.
Much of the inspiration for the styling of the suite came from the local landscape itself. The multitude of botanical gardens, neighbouring beachfront, and picturesque and colourful sunsets in Montecito all inspired the vibrant colour palettes used within the design.
Reminiscent of Montecito’s historic focus on health and wellbeing, the design of Sense Spa draws once again on the classic plantation-style. Hanging lantern-style lighting, glass display cabinets, and a variety of individual upholstered pieces create an informal yet serene reception area. A pale coral and blue colour palette, combined with light wood, ensures a feeling of airiness within the space. Neutral tones and clean lines are at the heart of the Fitness Area design. With dark-stained oak floors and large mirrors reflecting the adjacent glazed façade, guests feel connected to the surrounding flora, whilst benefiting from the light that pours in. The design of Caruso’s restaurant evokes a strong sense of the ocean it overlooks. For the dining space Richmond International took inspiration from stylish restaurants located on the Italian coastlines, offering a formal backdrop in the evening but an equally relaxing, enjoyable place to be during the daytime.
The design stemmed from a treasure chest concept, featuring numerous luxury finishings and details, such as the golden studs that embellish the dining chairs. At the far end of the restaurant sits the bespoke bar; with a walnut-front scalloped shape and a heavy stone top, the striking bar design also features a decorative mirror set around the colourful bottle display. Blue hues and high gloss lacquered panels are inspired by polished yachts, whilst the terrazzo flooring is decorated with arched silver inlays reflective of the rolling waves of the sea. The deep blue leather booths, designed in the form of a seashell, hug the right wall of the restaurant, offering the most prominent view of the ocean within the space.
The resort has a residential feel, albeit a rather grand residence with large open fireplaces, rich textures and polished surfaces, and enviable art collection. The grandeur of the resort gives way to an easy and relaxed feel, helped by its beautiful surroundings and jovial additions from the colourful open-topped taxis provided for guests to capture those perfect Instagramable moments to the festoon of twinkling lights and outdoor firepits that set a chilled ambiance at night. It’s a place of relaxed luxury, striking just the right chord for its location and moment.
OPERATOR: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts
DESIGN: Richmond International
SUPPLIERS: Carpets: Ulster Furniture: Vaughan Benz Lighting: Visual Comfort Outdoor furniture and fabrics: Janus et Cie Outdoor furniture, fabrics and accessories: Restoration Hardware Fabrics: P Kaufmann, Dedar, Perennials