Friday, October 14, 2016

Coral Casino: A Child of the Roaring 20's

A Hideaway for Hollywood's Elite in Montecito

Image by: Jose Villa - Ty Warner closed the Coral Casino in 2005 and spent $65 million in renovations.

OCTOBER 14, 2016

The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club is a historic, exclusive club that feels fresher than ever, thanks to a recent upgrade that kept period-appropriate touches in place.

The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club is a private membership club, situated atop Butterfly Beach at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. Built in 1937, this legendary establishment and historic landmark has a rich history steeped in the glory of Hollywood, celebrated architecture and fine hoteliers.

In the fall of 1936, the Biltmore Hotel’s owner, Robert Stewart Odell, put into motion plans for a grand, first-class social club where prominent families of the area, and Hollywood’s elite could gather. Odell commissioned San Francisco architect Gardner A. Dailey – already well known for his contemporary style – to design the original “Biltmore Beach Club” on the triangular-shaped grounds adjacent to the hotel. Its look was in contrast to the Spanish-Colonial architecture of Santa Barbara, instead featuring clean, modern lines and Scandinavian contemporary furnishings.

The curious name “Coral Casino” was inspired in part by its unique oceanfront setting; while “casino” was a term widely used in the era that defined the establishment’s social club status. The club’s most celebrated feature is a larger-than-Olympic size swimming pool (50 meters + 1 foot), which earned its irregular size during an evening of gentlemen’s poker. It is said that an argument transpired between Mr. Odell and the Olympic Commissioner of the time that resulted in the pool’s size being slightly increased so that it could never be used to host regulated events.

Since its grand opening on July 24, 1937, the Coral Casino has hosted some of the world’s foremost dignitaries, Hollywood stars and filmmakers, musicians and noted philanthropists. In 2005, current owner Ty Warner closed the club to begin an extensive, $65 million rehabilitation effort. Warner hired New York based architect and designer Peter Marino to lead the project – no easy task, given the building’s status as a designated historical landmark. Marino’s team meticulously restored the club to its original splendor, along with notable improvements that include upgraded locker facilities, fossilized marble decking, and a new second-story restaurant with panoramic ocean views. Marino looked to the vision and principles of Gardner Dailey for guidance in restoring the original theme and purpose of the club while embracing the Coral Casino’s most beloved feature—its spectacular setting on one of the most beautiful beaches in California.

In the summer of 2008, 71 years after its original d├ębut, the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club re-opened its illustrious glass double doors to reveal a brilliant world-class club, complete with all of the comfort, elegance and restrained glamour of the original design, once again welcoming back members and guests of Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore.

Today, the Coral Casino celebrates a rich history as a family club, frequented by many members and guests who have been regular visitors since as early as the 1940s. It continues its unique social character, combining dining, fitness, and beachfront relaxation and fun, complete with an oceanfront ballroom for grand events, enhanced by world-renowned Four Seasons service and amenities.

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