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Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stepping Back in Time

Hotel Laguna was the first hotel in Laguna Beach, opening its doors over 100 years ago. The original structure burned down only 60 days after opening and was rebuilt in 1888. A more modern structure was built in 1928 and they re-opened their doors in 1930, as the structure that we know today. In 1985, Hotel Laguna was refurbished and became known to locals as the ‘Grand Old Lady.’

The hotel features several amenities that will make your stay convenient and comfortable. Home to two award-winning restaurants, Claes Ovation, a gourmet dining establishment with views of Main Beach, and  OceanView Bar & Grill a casual dining spot with seating both inside and out.  As part of the hotel, visit  the exclusive bath and body shop, Bubbles of Laguna for gifts, bath salts and other souvenirs. There is also a section of the hotel lobby that has been recently transformed into an Art Gallery, The Group of Four,’ highlighting four skillful southern California artists.

On my recent stay at the hotel, I thoroughly enjoyed taking a leisurely walk down the “Historic Hall” just off the lobby of the hotel. Here, the walls are lined with historic photos of Laguna Beach dating back as far as 1898. There are several photos of the Hotel from the ‘30s thru to present day. In some, you can see the old neon “Hotel Laguna” sign that used to sit up on the roof that I remember seeing as a kid. This was removed in 1996. I particularly enjoyed gazing at the photos of the hotel from the 1940s when it was the hideaway for the Hollywood elite including Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Along with the hotel photos, are memorable moments in Laguna history. You can find photos including  the 1936 Laguna Beach Rose Parade float that won first place, a picture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s motorcade on PCH in 1938, the old Laguna pier in 1927, pictures of the infamous Laguna greeter Eiler Larson and images of the world-renowned plein air painter, William Wendt at work. The historic hall is truly one of the gems of Laguna that you don’t want to miss.

Hotel Laguna offers a variety of accommodations for the perfect relaxing getaway, including mini suites, corner ocean front rooms, garden view and village view rooms and even connecting family suites. On my stay I enjoyed one of the mini suites that was spacious and had a walk-in closet, tub, and king size bed. The suite featured a flat screen TV and framed photography from the famous Pageant of the Masters.  With any stay, guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, access to the full service private beach club, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet and valet parking at $10.00 per day.

Hotel Laguna is located right on the Pacific Ocean and is just steps from downtown restaurants and shops. With its European flare and long standing history, the ‘Grand Old Lady’ is the perfect escape for your next getaway.

By Anne-Marie S.


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