Hotel Laguna’s owners announced Thursday that they’re planning to reopen the restaurant and bar to the public in early 2021.
This restaurant concept will be a partnership with Michelin star-winning Chef Craig Strong. The community can also expect an imminent reopening of the hotel lobby, terrace, and rose garden, said Hasty Honarkar, vice president of the Laguna Beach Co.
These were among the updates from a panel moderated by Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, executive director of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. Honarkar answered emailed questions from the public along with Community Development Director Marc Wiener.
“Our vision, after speaking to many people in this community, is to create a unique boutique experience that incorporates the history of Laguna,” Honarkar said.
In a second phase, the Laguna Beach Co. will pursue approvals for a restoration of the hotel’s exterior and guest rooms. Honarkar expects this will take between 12 and 18 months, depending on when the Coastal Commission is able to revive the project.
“We really appreciate the city guiding us through this because it is a complicated process,” Honarkar said.
Among the other highlights from the discussion:
- The Laguna Beach Co. wants to install a replica of the Hotel Laguna’s rooftop sign that is shown in historic photographs. This addition would require a variance and approval from the Design Review Board.
- A corner storefront could be converted into a small restaurant. Honarkar claims the same space was once used as an eatery.
- The Laguna Beach Co. is considering combining some storefronts to create a larger art gallery.
- There is a plan to install air conditioning throughout the hotel.
- The Beach Club will reopen but details of what it will look like are still to be determined.
- Honarkar said there’s no plan in the immediate future to build anything subterranean on the property.
- The Design Review Board would need to approve a change to the color of the hotel’s exterior.
The Laguna Beach Co. was ordered to stop unpermitted construction twice this summer, earning a public rebuke from top city officials Tuesday. Hotel Laguna was red-tagged for extensive remodel of the restaurant level with new electrical, plumbing, framing, and drywall.
City staffers have since authorized electrical and plumbing work, Wiener said, adding that he recently visited the property and, in his opinion, the historic integrity of the building is still intact.
Lastly, Honarkar squashed a rumor that the hotel is for sale.
“That would be news to me,” Honarkar said. “This hotel is like my first child.”