You're Welcome to Stay (Town & Country magazine)
Rick Caruso walks into a clubby library bar and notices that the fireplace isn’t running. “This should be on every day, all day,” he says to a staffer in a friendly, firm tone. Caruso then slightly adjusts the arrangement of a group of chairs. “These aren’t in the right place,” he says, seemingly to himself.
This isn’t Caruso’s house, but it might as well be. It’s the Rosewood Miramar Beach, a 161-room luxury resort on a 16-acre stretch of beachfront in Montecito, California, just east of Santa Barbara. It’s the first hotel by Caruso, a Los Angeles–based developer best known for outdoor malls, including the Grove in L.A., the Americana at the Brand in Glendale, and Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades. With trolley rides, fountains that dance to music, and even fake snowfall at Christmastime, they have become high-end retail destinations. Caruso successfully bucked the national death-of-the-shopping-mall narrative and at the same time redefined the concept.
For his latest project he wanted to take on a new challenge: reimagining the resort hotel. When I visited the Miramar in late February, Montecito was in the midst of an unusually long cold snap, and there had been rain on and off for weeks. The resort was still about 10 days from officially opening, but it felt as though it was up and running. There were a handful of guests staying on the property, and the staff was preparing for a 400-person wedding. The sun had finally made a tepid appearance, bringing slightly warmer air along with some optimism that beach days might be around the corner.