An old school boutique hotel, once the playground of Hollywood starlets circa 1930s and 40s, set in the heart of Laguna Beach and the SoCal surf culture, invites key tastemaker brands and designers to refurbish 10 suites. So what do you get?
Built in 1929, the Spanish-style La Casa Del Camino sits on the cliffs of Laguna, overlooking the crashing Pacific whose waves and storied breaks have lured surfers from across the globe. The owners of this Grand Dame smartly partnered with Riviera Magazine for a provocative yet down-home-cool design project where iconic brands like Quiksilver, etnies, Billabong, Roxy, Glaceau, Lost, L*Space, and Rip Curl teamed up with cutting-edge designers to create one-of-a-kind suites. The colorful hyper-creative spaces play off the surf and skate culture theme in an original fashion and the attention to detail astounds.
Check out the etnies Suite—an homage to skate culture with environmental consciousness at the core. The checkered patchwork headboard sports recycled shoe material scraps while four decks hang on the wall as part of a skateboard minibar. Gray wheel tracks traverse the ceiling and lead into the bathroom where a kidney-shaped skate pool serves as a sink with a pair of mini decks for finger boarding sessions after brushing your teeth. Myriad green elements throughout the suite reflect etnies’ commitment to the environment like their sunflower stalk shelves, dual flush commode and energy saving lighting. Cool artistic touches include a mirror bejeweled with multi-colored skate wheels and video clips of skate teams.
Billabong created two—their Men’s Suite is a true surfer’s paradise. A three-dimensional relief depicts the surfing lifestyle while a hand-painted surfboard serves as art. Raw materials like stone, concrete, glass and reclaimed glass were used to create the ocean-view Eden. At night, with the drapes drawn—kick back in bed and enjoy a multi-media projection of light, water and waves to send you off into dreamland, then wake up and hit the waves out front.
The Billabong Women’s Suite sports a sexy vibe and pays tribute to the carefree nomadic surf life. Cool ambient lighting, ethereal art work, and treasures from the deep deliver a sense of being underwater, while vintage folding chairs, a fondue pot, and a grass “Flor” call for a picnic. A giant polycarbonate seaweed installation hangs from the ceiling. Eye candy galore.
Lost International went for a whitewashed Moroccan theme with stunning black, green and white tile, hand-carved built-in furniture, and enchanting glass lanterns. Details include colorful pillows made from board shorts and a giant collage depicting the antics of the surf culture. An elegant black-and-white bathroom made with Arabesque tile makes for a classy commode.
Rip Curl’s Suite is a blue-and-white beauty with a giant ocean mural covering the main wall. Blue LED panels illuminate the room at night lending a halcyon tone of floating in the sea.
Glaceau’s Suite plays nicely off the beach theme as well with its tiled wall above the bed glowing like iridescent abalone shells. A glass chandelier floats above like a jellyfish, while a curved glass, illuminated panel creates a sense of movement like a wave. Green elements include drapery and bedding made from recycled water bottles.
Riviera Magazine also created a gem—an “art gallery with a bed” as the white-walled space has rotating art throughout with local gallery owner Peter Blake serving as curator.
Suites by Roxy, Quiksilver, and L*Space round out the ten.
In addition to the surf suites, La Casa Del Camino hosts Laguna’s only Rooftop Lounge for sunset cocktails, whale-watching, gourmet nibbles and salty-air evenings with the twinkling lights of the coastal hillside in view. Each Casa Surf Project brand designed their own signature cocktail like the Billabong Bellini with champagne, peach schnapps and pomegranate juice, or the Lost-ito, a fresh tasty sipper with Bacardi silver rum, fresh mint and muddled lime.
Downstairs, the K’ya Bistro rocks it with creative European fare $10 and under per dish. The bustling bistro, with its San Francisco-esque chalk boards and modern urban feel, hosts an animated crowd enjoying small plates from Chef Craig Connolle. With over 70 intriguing items on the menu, it’s hard to choose, but must tries include the golden beet and feta salad, filet mignon in a demi glace with blue cheese nuggets, simmered red curry chicken, New Orleans shrimp etouffée and lobster truffle risotto.
The Casa Surf Suites list at an affordable $250 per night. Grab your board and head to Laguna for some sessions in the Pacific and serious R&R in the super flash suites.
1289 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
For more detailed photos of the rooms, check out Casa Surf Project.