After nearly six years of ragged debate and 18 months of construction, the pool portion of Coral Casino Beach Club re-opened on Friday morning, August 31, just in time for the last vestige of a long, hot summer. The remainder of the club, including a second floor restaurant and the banquet hall, will not be open until sometime in 2008.
Starting around 8 a.m. this morning, members began getting calls from Coral Casino management to inform them the club was open for service. Yesterday, a few VIPs got preview tours, compliments of owner Ty Warner. Included on the dignitaries list were Montecito Planning Commission Chair Bob Bierig and First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who deemed it “sleek.”
By noon on Friday, curious members were slowly trickling in, taking in smooth lines, terrazzo marble, shady new palms, glass railings, and coral accents sprinkled around the club. Members Arthur “Nipper” von Wiesenberger and his guest Wendy McCaw – co-publishers of the Santa Barbara News-Press – were among the first to dine al fresco in the shaded protection of a tucked away cabana.
Also strolling poolside was membership committee representative Marie Larkin, seen here visiting with Coral Casino manager Kevin Speer, in front of a historic bench that was declared historic and mandated to be retained by permit. Larkin said she thought the club looked “beautiful,” bright and reflective of the 18 months of reconstruction work. Speer said he was just happy to see the returning and smiling Coral Casino members.
“I’ve really missed seeing everyone,” Speer beamed, as he evened out a towel covering a nearby chaise – indicative of the smooth opening he hopes will occur.