Since the 1930’s, Hotel Laguna has been a mainstay of the architectural landscape greeting Laguna Beach residents and visitors as they stroll the avenues and enjoy the pristine beaches of one of Southern California’s most iconic seaside getaways. Now, after shuttering in 2017, Hotel Laguna has finally reopened its ground floor with two of Laguna’s most exciting new restaurants as well as a living-room style lobby and bar that combines the old Hollywood panache that made Hotel Laguna famous nearly a century ago with an innovative modern take on upmarket architecture and interior design.
New Lease. New Life. Welcome to the New Hotel Laguna.
Exquisitely renovated and reimagined by Mo Honarkar and his daughter Hasty Honarkar of Laguna Beach Co., Hotel Laguna invites guests to step inside one of the most visually attractive architectural structures in the region to experience a truly unique and modish interior setting designed to inspire, uplift, and entertain.
“We worked diligently to honor this unique location by putting tremendous care and attention into every detail of the renovation,” says Hasty Honarkar, President of Laguna Beach Co. “We wanted people to walk in and just breathe and relax. We wanted the style to feel like it was relatable to Laguna. It’s art-centric, it’s eclectic— it’s Laguna.”
Enter the main lobby area to find a chic, masterfully redesigned Spanish Revival interior featuring handsomely curated furnishings, custom fixtures and mirrors punctuated by art-deco inspired brass accents, an exposed wood beam ceiling, potted plants, colorful local and international art, and historic photographs that add warmth, dimension, and soul to the iconic space.
“The juxtaposition of old and new can be a beautiful thing, especially when done against the backdrop of a historic structure,” says Hasty Honarkar. “And, it’s also important to understand that the right piece of art can transform even the most carefully designed spaces.”
Arrive at Hotel Laguna for beachside relaxation and leave with a truly remarkable dining experience—that’s what Mo and Hasty Honarker had in mind when they set out to redefine the landmark building.
“We wanted to create an updated and refreshed gathering space for visitors and locals,” says Hasty Honarkar. “By establishing two new restaurants sure to become quick favorites, we’re breathing much deserved new life into this remarkable building that is now poised to entertain guests for generations to come.”
Larsen, the new restaurant from Michelin award-winning chef, Craig Strong, formerly of Montage Laguna and the Langham, Pasadena, offers patrons a boundary-pushing yet accessible menu combined with some of the most breathtaking Pacific Ocean views found anywhere in Laguna.
“With the ocean as the centerpiece of the space, I obviously wanted to incorporate its spirit into the experience,” says Chef Craig Strong. “We offer fresh, classic, and innovative dishes that celebrate the bounty of California’s produce in a SoCal-casual, yet refined and magnificently designed space.”
Upon entering Larsen, a liquid sense of tranquility releases from the mind down the spine, a panoramic view of the sea calming the nerves and loosening the soul. An expertly crafted aesthetic of hand-selected furniture, mid-century furnishings, and custom light fixtures adorn the space in an ambient, yet distinctly California manner.
“The building has been the focal point of Laguna Beach for years,” says Chef Strong. “Countless anniversaries, weddings, even first dates have been enjoyed at Hotel Laguna over the years. Now, everyone has a chance to come and experience the joie de vivre of Hotel Laguna alongside some incredible cuisine.”
One of the finest views in all of Laguna deserves one of the finest chef’s in the region. With Chef Craig Strong behind the helm at Larsen, diners can expect the dishes, flavors, and culinary innovation to rival if not exceed the million dollar view outside the window.
“Larsen combines coastal California cuisine with the timeless French technique of layering flavors,” says Chef Strong. “We offer classic dishes as well as some standalone plates that you won’t see on a menu anywhere else. It’s the joyfulness that Larsen inspires that allows us to create a playful menu that will leave a lasting memory.”
When you’re sitting by the sea, might as well try something from the sea. Enter instant vacation mode with the seafood platter featuring Baja shrimp, kumiai oysters, poached lobster with mignonette paired with a crisp glass of Frog’s Leap biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc from Napa.
In the mood for something a bit more outside the box? Take out the iPhone, log into Instagram and order the short rib cigar, braised and chopped, then rolled into a cylinder of crispy pate de brik and served in an ashtray—it not only looks fantastic, it tastes fantastic.
Chef Strong also serves up more casual lunch fare. Try the 8-oz grass-fed corn finished beef burger with caramelized onion, garlic, a slice of melted cheddar, mustard aioli, and crispy shallots served on a garlic brioche bun or go with the scratch-made tacos featuring Chef Strong’s signature hot sauce—Salsa FuerteTM.
Having lived in and worked in Barcelona, Chef Strong also offers exceptional Mediterranean inspired dishes from the slow-cooked- then-grilled octopus with quick-fried Weiser Farms potatoes, crispy panko, and guindilla peppers, to the Baja striped bass with sweet pepper piperade, garlic, olive oil, and cauliflower cacciatore.
Utilizing only the finest produce and protein sourced locally and caught daily, the seasonal menu at Larsen promises to engage the taste buds while tantalizing the senses with its atmospheric beauty.
But Larsen isn’t the only restaurant inside Hotel Laguna making waves. Turn the corner, grab a drink at the bar, and take a seat at Fin to experience fresh sushi and sashimi in the salty sweet sea breeze courtesy of celebrated sushi chefs Chris Pak and Greg Ong. With mother of pearl tiles in fish scale patterns, sapphire accents, and another breathtaking panoramic ocean view, Fin provides its own visually captivating space to enjoy.
Traditional sushi and sashimi both imported and caught daily by local fishermen accompanied by house-made sauces and temp-perfect rice highlight the menu, while the wraparound deck offers diners a chance to connect with the outdoor environment on a gastronomic level.
“Fin is an intimate space where people can come to enjoy exceptional quality sushi and sashimi right on the ocean,” says Chef Strong. “The attention to detail, from the Rene Ozorio plates, to the custom tile work, to its dedication to the highest quality of fish, rice, and sauces makes Fin a truly inspiring destination for any sushi enthusiast.”
The excitement surrounding Hotel Laguna has just begun. With the hotel slated to reopen in 2022 to guests, Hotel Laguna has a new 99- year lease on life that will undoubtedly leave its mark on the Laguna Beach culinary and hospitality scene for a long, long time.
For reservations or to visit the new Hotel Laguna, visit hotellaguna.com