I became interested in these three hotels when I realized how related they actually are to one another. The Camino Del Casa opened its doors February 1929 with the Coast Inn opening to the public in May of 1929. The Hotel Laguna was remodeled from the board style to look more like these two hotels with a Spanish Colonial look. So two years after the city incorporated, Laguna had three major hotels. Streets were paved through town in 1926 but stopped at the Coast Inn. Travelers from L.A. to San Diego had no choice but to travel through Laguna. They enjoyed some paved roads; otherswise they traveled over dirt. The Coast Inn cost about $20,000 to build while the Del Camino cost $75,000. I am curious to find out the original cost of Hotel Laguna.
All three hotels were enjoyed by celebrities and serviceman during the 30s and 40s. The one main difference about the Coast Inn was the Smith family, who lived and worked on site everyday. I was told that the Del Camino was only open during the summer months. Somehow my family managed through the depression and through WWII of 1941-1945. And somehow my family infused the love and community spirit still felt by those who spend the night. And somehow, this hotel became internationally known. The biggest change to all these hotels over the last 9 plus decades is the urgent need for more parking. My dad, back in the ’70s, talked about how they needed more parking.
The city’s population varies along with changes like Arch Beach Heights and South Laguna, but in 1930 it was estimated at a population of 1,981. Today I think we are in the 23,000 range. So an extra 20,000 people live here in Laguna now with an extra 6 million a year worth of visitors. Laguna receives a tremendous amount of high ratings in different areas. Our artists have contributed tremendously to this town. What I want to point out is the tri-pod idea. These three wonderful and successful hotels have been a stool, a three legged stool, for the city to depend on which contributed to Laguna’s growth for the last 88 years as of 12-2017. I would like to propose the idea that at some point, these three hotels will need to go through a radical remodel similar to our church downtown that was originally built in 1928. It is my wish to see all three hotels get the proper attention to detail similar to our church in town that originally cost $18,000 to build.