A Surfside Story Nearing A Century!
January 26th, 2020 marked the ninety-first (91st) anniversary of the opening of one of Laguna Beach’s most historic and unique buildings, La Casa del Camino hotel. For three generations, Laguna Beach residents and visitors from around the world have enjoyed the spectacular views and unique charm that can be found only at La Casa del Camino.
In terms of pure drama, La Casa del Camino offers more than any other landmark in the city. From graceful arches and rustic wooden balconies that capture the Spanish revival style, to the soaring views of the Laguna village and Riviera coastline, La Casa del Camino brings it together like nowhere else.
Take a step back in time and explore the rich, storied past of Laguna Beach’s most iconic hotel.
The Singular Vision of William W. Riddell
La Casa del Camino was envisioned by its builder, local artist and city councilman William W. Riddell, as a spectacular destination along a spectacular stretch of sand at the heart of Laguna Beach.
In Riddell’s eyes this would be a place not only for travelers to rest, but a place for the community to gather, a place for art to be appreciated, a place where business and social clubs would flourish and help create a local landmark to proclaim to the world that Laguna Beach was now a destination, not just a stop along the way.
How La Casa del Camino Came to Be
The most wonderful part of the history of La Casa del Camino is that we have captured for the ages a written account of the events surrounding its construction, its grand opening, and the ongoing operation of the hotel and its amenities. Hidden among rolls of microfilm in the city’s library rest newspaper pages, frozen in time, where historic figures like Riddell come to life, and the reader is transported back to when hotel rooms rented for $3 a night, where Hollywood celebrities sipped cocktails in the hotel bar, and where, for nearly seventy years, local citizens, artists, and city officials enjoyed spectacular sunsets from the hotel rooftop lounge.
For a full historical account of La Casa del Camino’s early days, step back in time and check out the hotel’s earliest press coverage.
Work of art
A Home for the Arts
Shortly after the hotel’s opening, The South Coast News’ “Arts and the Artists” section published a glowing feature about La Casa del Camino, saying, “La Casa del Camino is Art Achievement”.
“Beautiful architecture, furnishings, pictures, music, sculpture, and drama were all blended in La Casa del Camino at the brilliant opening reception Saturday afternoon and evening, January 26. The building itself is a work of art. The color scheme is carried out in the most daring fashion possible to such artistic experience as is possessed by Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Riddell who have expressed their artistic feeling.”
The Place to Be in Laguna Beach
Even in its earliest days, La Casa del Camino brought people from far and wide to eat, drink, and revel in Laguna Beach’s magnificent views. From 1929 onward, the hotel’s lounge has been a retreat for local artists, a first class accommodation for those visiting the Laguna Beach area, and a premier location to conduct business and social events.
Hollywood notables were drawn to the hotel for its welcome atmosphere and its magnificent views of the California coastline. Many stayed at the hotel while making films in the area including such classics as “Evangeline” and “All’s Quiet on the Western Front” in 1929 and 1930 respectively. It is even rumored that J. Paul Getty and Howard Hughes once played a game of backgammon in the lobby. Such was the glamor of La Casa del Camino in the 1930s. The hotel had become a cornerstone of the community and a magnet for social life foretelling a new era of growth and interest in Laguna Beach.
Upholding a Legacy of Excellence
Nearly ninety years into its life as Laguna Beach’s premier hotel, La Casa del Camino still embodies the vision of William W. Riddell. Not only do the Casa Surf Project’s designer rooms uphold the property’s commitment to the arts, The Rooftop brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate the vibrant spirit of Laguna Beach.
As you stroll through our immaculately-maintained, historic halls and drift to sleep in our Spanish Rooms, you’ll feel the echoes of La Casa del Camino’s storied history.
Historic Laguna Beach Accommodations
Experience the historic spirit of La Casa del Camino first hand when you reserve your room in Laguna Beach’s most legendary hotel! With comfortable, refurbished accommodations that evoke the historic charm of old Laguna, your room’s hand-carved wood furnishings and vintage accents bring together the hotel’s past, present, and future.
Book your room at the historic La Casa del Camino to enjoy:
- Vintage Charm in the Heart of Laguna Beach
- Comfortable, Clean, Nicely appointed Quiet Accomodations
- The Awe-Inspiring Rooftop Lounge
- Parking & WiFi Included