Developer Rick Caruso has enthusiastically broken ground for the comeback of the once landmark Montecito Miramar Hotel. With his partner the Rosewood Hotel & Resorts, the new project will be the Rosewood Miramar Beach when it opens in the summer of 2018.
The site is 16 acres on the waterfront off San Ysidro Lane.
“This is just golden. It doesn’t get a lot better right?”, said Caruso at the groundbreaking. Golden shovels were used to turn the first dirt.
He said the hotel use for the land goes back over 100 years. The Miramar was originally built in its earliest form in the 1880’s.
Caruso bought the dormant site nearly 10 years ago. By then the hotel had already been closed since 2000 and two other developers had failed to resurrect it.
Design drawings were up for the replacement resort and invited guests were closely looking at the images of the waterfront rooms, the beach club sites, the two pools and the main entrance buildings.
It will have 124 guest rooms and 37 luxury suites.
Radha Arora, president of Rosewood Hotel & Resorts was at the event this morning. He said it will be “good to mention Santa Barbara in the same breath,” as Paris, Bejing and London.
Caruso says there is a special feeling for him to develop a site north of Los Angeles County, instead of going to the south.
“Up here you slow down you feel it. Your body feels it and walking Coast Village Road is spectacular. The shops and the restaurants, the golf courses and the wine county – this is a true resort where you can let your hair down. That’s what I love about it. I think it is going to be fabulously successful, ” said Caruso.
The Managing Director Luigi Romaniello says the site reminds him of locations in Italy where he is from. He plans to hire local workers, and use regional agriculture and wine in the restaurants.
The site is not going to be exclusive for the guests. Local residents will be welcomed to the dining areas and beach services. “I think to have a successful hotel you have win the heart of the community. Please come over and visit us, bring friends and family. I want to get to know everyone,” said Romaniello. “I really want us to blend in to the fabric of the community.”
Caruso says he will have access for family activities and special local events including holiday parties. “We are going to do all of that. It will be a huge resource for the community. And that is what is going to make it special.”
There is an event space for 400 guests.
At a time of the six year drought, the Rosewood Miramar has existing approved water meters and low water use plans are part of the project.
The plans went through extensive community reviews and public meetings, and ultimately a vote by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Financing was one of the biggest hurdles since the hotel was purchased by Caruso during the economic downtown of 2007.
Once built the hotel sales and bed taxes are estimated to provide the county with approximately $3-million a year.