JJust outside of Santa Barbara, California, famed Miramar Beach spans 16 acres of pristine (and hugely expensive) waterfront property. In 1876, a couple named Josiah and Emmeline Doulton purchased the land, naming it “Miramar” or “Behold the Sea”. The structures on the estate have changed and grown, passing through many owners who have reinvented and renovated. In 2005, the Miramar Hotel was partially demolished and vacant, its future whispered at elegant cocktail parties along the beach.
In January 2007, inspired by the beautiful homes and grand estates surrounding the Montecito property, new owner Rick J. Caruso designed a luxurious property that would resemble a family’s vacation home. He even imagined a fictional New England family (based on his own) who would build a stone house and then expand it, adding wooden cottages and wings. His imaginary family played petanque, indulged in lush gardens, and entertained often.
My sister, Sarah McKay, and I spent time in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The resort built by Caruso, Rosewood Miramar Beach, actually looks familiar to us. When we spent a long weekend there to catch up and reconnect, we marveled at how Miramar’s architecture combined New England flair and Southern California glamor. You wouldn’t expect an avian chinoiserie wallpaper from famed de Gournay at a So-Cal resort, and you won’t find one goop boutique (or a shop selling Dior) at the White Elephant on Nantucket Island. We loved how Rosewood Miramar Beach seemed to effortlessly combine two distinct cinematic locations.
When you enter the estate there is a singular entrance door, as if you are entering a family home. Interior designers Diane Johnson and Nancy Corzine have created a welcoming and peaceful interior, with over six hundred priceless works of art, including a Norman Rockwell, a Fernando Botero and two Picassos. (Spoiler alert: a Picasso sits in the beachfront Revere Room restaurant, named after Paul Revere Williams, the legendary architect.)
Caruso had always dreamed of having a house built by Williams. Instead, with Rosewood Miramar Beach, it pays homage to its favorite architect in myriad details, including the mansion’s lushly curving staircase and the Cabana Pool’s distinctive serpentine design.
An Introduction to Rosewood Miramar Resort
Rosewood Miramar Beach has 158 ultra-luxury rooms, including 36 suites, spread over sixteen acres of beautifully landscaped landscaping. Two separate pools both offer full cabana service. The expansive indoor and outdoor event space, totaling approximately 28,000 square feet, includes the Chandelier Ballroom – each Baccarat crystal chandelier has a blue crystal hidden in its center as a nod to the previous hotel – and the Great Lawn, which offers endless ocean views. (They don’t call Miramar Beach the “American Riviera” for nothing.)
Our large, spacious bungalow, which offered a furnished patio, spacious walk-in closet, plush bathroom, full kitchen, and living room with fireplace, was large enough to accommodate our children, but we were fine for enjoying a weekend away. end up lounging without them in our Bryte Bed made with Rivolta Carmignani sheets.
The fabulous novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Rise of Malibuis set on nearby Malibu Beach (just an hour’s drive away), but its story of movie stars, surfers, seaside restaurants and a party gone wrong is the perfect book to slip into. your bag when you sit on a chair on Miramar Beach.
Gossip junkies like me might already know that tattooed Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker proposed to Kourtney Kardashian at Rosewood Miramar Beach.
Dine and drink at Rosewood Miramar Beach
The resort has two pools and six distinctive restaurants and bars, as many as you might want to nab a “jolly” property in town (the jolly is like a fabulous, brightly colored golf cart, inspired by the ones in Capri), it is terribly difficult to find a reason to leave the property. Our bungalow was so inviting that we found ourselves returning to try the lavender bath products and CBD teas we were offered as part of the “Alchemy of Sleep” package. Rosewood offers a host of amazing packages, including the Love Language Concierge weekend and a wine collective. We also loved the “Stars and S’mores” program with a local astronomer.
The hall of reverence
Named after Paul R. Williams (that ‘R’ stands for ‘Revere’), the Revere Room offers a seasonal menu that incorporates ingredients sourced primarily from regional farmers, fisherman and ranchers, as well as the Revere’s own garden. head of the complex. We loved the “small vegetables” plate: local carrots and turnips on a bed of salty hummus.
The mansion bar
When you’re in the mood, the Manor Bar is chic and sophisticated and often features live music. It is ideal for an aperitif or after dinner.
A day at the Miramar beach spa
Sense, A Rosewood Spa is the only five-star Forbes spa in Santa Barbara. Located just above the spacious fitness center (where you can book a private yoga class by the beach…I did and it was peaceful perfection!), the spa is bathed in light and serene. Inspired by its surroundings, the spa offers services such as Organic Gua Sha Contouring Facial, Ginger Scrub and Massage, CBD Massage, Alkaline Sea Cocoon, and Montecito Sage Cleanse.
Shopping in Miramar Beach
It was wonderful to shop without parking; we browsed the shops on the property, including goop, the modern lifestyle brand founded and run by Gwyneth Paltrow; The gatehousea new California-inspired concept store curated by designer James Perse; the Webster, the luxury multi-brand retailer where I (sadly and unrequitedly) fell in love with the aforementioned Dior dress; Brunello Cucinelli, dedicated to creating “Made in Italy” products rooted in modern design, quality and unique craftsmanship; and The Miramar shop for resort wear, children’s wear, beach toys and gifts.
Sarah and I agreed that our stay at Rosewood Miramar Beach was exactly what the doctor ordered for two working mothers: beautiful New England-inspired architecture; a shimmering beach; nutritious local food; plenty of sunny spots to relax and chat or have some quiet time; and a sumptuous spa. We’re grateful that Caruso’s fictional family enjoyed having visitors, and we hope we’ll be return guests.