Hotel Californian, a stunning new luxury hotel located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, made its official debut lately with an exclusive over-the-top Grand Opening Soirée welcoming guests to “The New Wonderland”.
The evening featured intimate performances by John Mayer, R&B duo Lion Babe, jazz from Fred Durst and his band and DJ sets by Wade Crescent and Kaz James. Creative direction came from design powerhouse Kris Moran, the mastermind behind many of Wes Anderson’s most elaborate set designs, and A-list LA party consultant Mindy Weiss.
Celebrity guests included Jane Lynch, Michael Keaton, Nicolette Sheridan, John Corbett and Bo Derek and designer extraordinaire Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who fashioned the hotel’s jaw-dropping Moroccan-meets-mid-century interiors.
Hotel Californian was transformed into a fantastical world of exotic sights, performances, theatrical décor and artistic installations spanning two city blocks — the ultimate private party for the guest list of luminaries from the worlds of art and entertainment. Guests arrived on a pink carpet under a forest of metallic palm trees and found surprises at every turn, from an immersive infinity-mirrored bubble room to a room with impromptu opera performances. A vibrant street art mural was live painted by Jason Ostro’s Gabba Gallery. The piece will be auctioned later this summer with proceeds going to Adopt-The-Arts.
The tone for the evening was set by John Mayer, who serenaded the crowd with a love letter to Santa Barbara. The live show featured many of his hits, including “Daughters” and “Waiting on the World to Change,” along with a tribute to Tom Petty in “Free Fallin'” in an hour-long performance under starry skies in Hotel Californian’s outdoor plaza. Fresh off the stage from Coachella, Lion Babe changed the frequency with a commanding and soulful beat-driven set.
The Fred Durst band’s cool jazz got the stylish crowd dancing to wild, groovy and raw live sessions – including spirited MC quips from Durst (of Limp Bizkit fame) – in a pop-up speakeasy manned by nightlife kings the Houston Brothers.
Capping the evening was a Studio 54-style disco featuring Australian singer-songwriter and DJ Kaz James, who closed the party down in high-octane style as guests enjoyed a late-night feast of lobster rolls, sliders and exotic desserts.
About Hotel Californian
Hotel Californian is redefining luxury on the celebrated American Riviera. The 121-room hotel caters to the Hollywood elite, international visitors and locals alike. Featuring dazzling spaces from celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the iconoclastic enclave – part history, part imagination and all Californian – is at the heart of the revitalization of Santa Barbara’s waterfront Funk Zone. Meticulously crafted by developer Michael Rosenfeld, Hotel Californian is Santa Barbara’s premier destination.