Miramar Hotel - Santa Barbara - Historical Archive:

This website is intended to recognize the historical significance
of the Miramar By The Sea Hotel in scenic Montecito (Santa Barbara), California. The Miramar closed
for renovations on September 10, 2000 when it was sold - almost 15 years ago! Since then, it has been an eyesore
for Montecito residents as well as thousands of past guests.
Most recently, Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso purchased the property
from Ty Warner in 2007 and is planning to begin renovating the hotel by 2016.
Needless to say however, there have been countless delays that have
frustrated neighbors, former guests, owners, developers, etc.




The Miramar history began in 1876 when Josiah and Emmeline Doulton purchased the 20 acre ocean front property in Montecito. In 1889 the Doultons built a separate cottage for visiting friends, which soon served to accommodate outside guests. Originally called Ocean View Farm, a friend/guest at the hotel suggested that the name of the destination be changed to “Miramar”, meaning “behold the sea.” Mrs. Doulton was immediately taken with the name and ordered signs the following day. Over the years, the hotel was expanded and by 1910 there were 29 structures on the property. The Miramar struggled during the Depression and the Doultons eventually sold the hotel to Paul Gawzner on November 3, 1939. Gawzner owned the Miramar until September 1998, when Ian Schrager purchased it for $31.7 million. The hotel closed its doors on September 10, 2000 to begin renovations and was set to reopen in about 18 months. Five years later, the partially demolished Miramar Hotel still sat vacant on some of the most valuable property in California. On April 29, 2005, TyWarner Hotels purchased the hotel from Schrager promising to renovate it in the near future. Less then 2 years later, no renovations had been made. Finally, in January of 2007, Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated purchased the Miramar for an undisclosed price. Faced initially with funding issues in the wake of the financial crisis, Caruso is now planning to renovate the hotel beginning in 2016. However, multiple bureaucratic hurdles continue to plague the Miramar's schedule for re-opening.




January 8, 2016

Miramar Hotel Plan Update

August 14, 2014

As someone who has had a continuing interest in the Miramar, we wanted to provide you an important update about the project. As you may have seen in the news, we have recently submitted revised plans for our project, the Miramar Beach Resort and Bungalows. Working with renowned local architect, Marc Appleton, we've created what we believe to be the best possible design for the property, and we hope you'll agree. To view the revised site plan, please click here (Miramar Site Plan)
We're also pleased to share, that with a timely approval of the revised plan, we'll be able to open the new hotel by Summer 2017.

The revised design is even more compatible with the Montecito community's unique character. We have managed to maintain all of the key parts of the hotel that the local community has supported throughout this process while making the project smaller and less impactful in every way than the previously approved plan. Some highlights of the revised plan include:

  • Elimination of 16 guest rooms, a reduction from 186 to 170 rooms;
  • Reduction in water usage at the hotel;
  • New Oceanfront restaurant with outdoor terrace adjacent to beach bar/grill;
  • Elimination of all underground parking for a more efficient, and smaller-scale design;
  • Enhanced cottage-style designs;
  • Consolidation of the spa, fitness center, and poolside dining restaurants into the main building for a more comfortable, intimate design;
  • Reduction in maximum event size to 400 people (from 500 in the approved project), resulting in less traffic overall to the hotel;
  • Relocated Miramar Club (now at the center of the property, adjacent to the gym, pool, main building, and with easy access to the beach;
  • New theatre screening room building for guests and Miramar club members;
  • Maintained all of our previous public benefits including 68 public parking stalls and coastal access easements;
  • Increased setbacks from South Jameson Lane with more landscape screening of the main buildings;
  • Maintained all other setbacks and height limitations from the previous plan;
  • Enhanced ocean views and open spaces throughout the property.

Moreover, during our ownership and since the economic downturn in 2008, markets have not supported new hotel developments in a way that would make this project feasible. However, the financial markets for the ground up development of new hotels have improved so much that we are now confident that once this revision is approved, we will finally be able to move the project forward to construction and opening.

We thank you for your continued support over the years and appreciate that you have followed us through many generations of the plan. True to our word, we have remained committed to this once-in-a-lifetime project that the entire community of Montecito will once again be proud to call its own. This is the best plan to date, and the plan that we will build. But as has been the case in the past, your support for the project will be essential to getting it built.

You can show your support for the Miramar in the following ways:

  • Send emails of support to the Montecito Planning Commission via David Villalobos, Board Assistant, at dvillalo@co.santa-barbara.ca.us and County Supervisor Salud Carbajal at SupervisorCarbajal@sbcos1.org.
  • Come out and support us at a variety of public forums. We'll keep you posted about when these meetings will occur and we hope to see you soon

Thank you again for your continuing interest in the Miramar Hotel. Please do not hesitate to contact the project development manager, Evan Krenzien, at ekrenzien@carusoaffiliated.com or 323 900 8196. He will answer any questions you may have and will share with you more ways you can be supportive of our efforts to get this new plan entitled as quickly as possible.


Rick J. Caruso

Click Here for a Recent News piece with a Link to the Blueprints.





The Historic Miramar:

Anyone who has visited the Miramar while it was open, knows of the historical significance the Miramar offers that other premier hotels cannot. The Miramar is over 100 years old, and provides a warming atmosphere to its guests. The bungalows, the railroad car diner, the private beach, tennis courts, etc. So many things made the Miramar a unique destination so much different then hotels American have grown use to. The reason I am developing this site is because so much of the Miramr Hotel is its history, if its history is forgotten, the Miramar will just join the rest of the five-star hotels around the country. But the Miramar is truly one of a kind. I sincerely hope Mr. Caruso will focus on the historic miramar during his upcoming renovations.


Bits of History:


National Embassy #1205
Most guests of the Miramar did not know much about the old railroad car in the parking lot of the Miramar The inside of the car was not opened after Mr. Gawzner's death in 1984. In 2000, Morgan's Hotel Group (Ian Schrager) donated the car to the Santa Clarita River Valley Railroad Historical Society. They are now the proud owner. It is very unfortunate the car will never see the Miramar again, however a Railroad historic society will surely be the best possible new home for this unique piece of history.

Here are some pictures of the car being moved from Montecito to Fillmore:

At the Miramar just as it sat when the Hotel was open.

Being put on a truck, it's last minutes at the Miramar.

Moving Day at the Miramar


Santa Fe-Amtrak Railcar Diner

If you had ever stayed at the Miramar, I am sure you have had at least one good meal at the Santa-Fe Amtrak Railcar which sat adjacent to the beach. I personally ate lunch there each day of my many stays at the Miramar. Unfortunately, it too is no longer on site. It is now owned by Burger Depot in Bakersfield. I have not visited it yet, so I do not have any pictures unfortunately. However, I do plan on making a trip to Bakersfield within a few months to visit the car.

Note: I have additional pictures of the car which are not presently online, I will post more as soon as they are scanned and I have visited the new location in Bakersfield.



Ian Schrager's Plans

Drawing from Ty Warner

The design for the Miramar gave homage to the original club while
expanding its menu of amenities. Pictured here is a proposed spa.




Last Update: January 2016



This website is not affiliated with the Miramar Hotel, Caruso Affiliated, Ty Waner Hotels, Morgans Hotel Group, Santa Clarita River Valley Rail Historic Society, or Santa Barbara / Montecito officials. This page is intended to gain public attention and offer an alternative to demolition of a HISTORIC PROPERTY.




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