Club Casa del Mar (Casa del Mar Hotel)

(1926)* - Aerial view looking east showing the beach and Club Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. Construction of the Edgewater Club can be seen at left edge of image, north of Pico Boulevard. Huntington Library  


Historical Notes

Club Casa del Mar opened in 1926 at the foot of Pico Blvd. The building was constructed by brothers E.A. "Jack" Harter and T.D. "Til" Harter, doing business as the H & H Holding Company, at a cost of $2 million.  It opened as Club Casa del Mar, a private beach club, on May 1, 1926.  Designed by Los Angeles architect Charles F. Plummer to reflect an Italian Renaissance Revival aesthetic.*




(1926)* - Sunbathers relax in front of Club Casa del Mar in Santa Monica.  


Historical Notes

When Club Casa del Mar opened in 1926, it was one of the most superlative beach resorts in the region. Charging annual dues of $10, the club offered the finest amenities and services of its day, including swimming pools, activity centers, and ballrooms. As such, people from across Southern California had become enchanted with the resort. Its popularity continued to grow to such an extent that the club maintained an average membership of 2,000 accounts during the height of its success. Several Hollywood celebrities were even regulars, like actor Clark Gable, actress Greta Garbo, and film composer Rudolf Friml. It also quickly became the center for many exciting—yet illicit—activities, such as daily gambling and drinking. For instance, Club Casa del Mar debuted as series of slot machines along its balconies, and it offered horse betting at its “Race and Sweepstakes Buffet” every Thursday. The resort also featured its own speakeasy since national Prohibition was in effect, which club members kept well-hidden from prying eyes.* 




(ca. 1926)* - Life boat drill with male and female lifeguards outside the new Club Casa del Mar, a private beach club at 1901 Promenade, Santa Monica.  


Historical Notes

Lifeguard services were initially developed during the early 1900s in response to the rise in popularity of the beach. Several municipalities had their own service before combining forces with Los Angeles County in the 1970s, creating the world's largest professional lifeguard service.^




(1945)^ – View showing the Del Mar Club when it was used as US Navy relocation center.  


Historical Notes

In 1941, the US Navy took over the building, utilizing it for enlisted soldiers during World War II.*




(1953)^ - View of the beach in front of the Club Casa del Mar. A variety of designs are on display as umbrellas cover the beach.  


Historical Notes

By 1960, the hotel was shuttered. In 1967, Charles E. Dederich reopened the building as the Synanon Foundation, a drug rehabilitation program.

In 1978, Nathan Pritikin turned the building into the Prikikin Longevity Center, a nutrition and health care facility that closed in 1997.*




Then and Now

Then and Now – Photo Courtesy of Augie Castagnola*  





(2021)* – View looking out toward the Santa Monica Bay from the Hotel Casa del Mar, 1910 Ocean Way. Photo courtesy of Otel Casa del Mar  


Historical Notes

In 1998, The Edward Thomas Hospitality Corporation acquired the building and converted it into a luxury hotel called the Casa del Mar Hotel.*




(2021)* – View showing the ornate 1920s-style lobby of the Hotel Casa del Mar. Photo courtesy of Hotel Casa del Mar  


Historical Notes

The Casa del Mar Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



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