Hotel’s new operator announces plans for $4 million renovation, including rebranding and upgrading accessibility for guests with disabilities
By Dolores Quintana
IHG Hotels & Resorts will bring the iconic Regent Hotels and Resorts brand back to the United States with the reopening of the Regent Santa Monica Beach Hotel in late 2023. The hotel’s $4 million renovation will include updating 342 guest rooms and introducing a new concept restaurant in collaboration with a celebrity chef.
As reported in January, The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel temporarily suspended operations after Loews decided not to renew its lease on the hotel property and a then-unnamed company chose to close the hotel for renovations. A press release from Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) stated that the hotel would re-open at a later date under the management of an unnamed new operator.
The hotel’s new owner and operator’s name is now known. IHG Hotels And Resorts will reopen the former Loews space and the hotel will be a re-emergence of the Regent Hotels and Resorts brand in the United States. The hotel will reopen in late 2023.
As a result of the renovations, 320 hotel workers have been laid off. However, according to union Unite HERE Local 11, the workers have been granted recall rights, free family health insurance, and pension contributions for the expected nine-month closure. The Loews Santa Monica Hotel opened in 1989 and was unionized in 2002 after a 2.5-year labor battle.
The new agreement is valued at over $4 million and was reached with the hotel’s new operator, IHG, and its owner, Strategic Hotels. The agreement includes fully paid family health insurance, $ 3-an-hour pension contributions, and a severance package for workers nearing retirement. Workers will also receive “penalty pay” if the renovations take longer than nine months.
The renovation work will include updating 342 guest rooms, including the conversion of 20 existing guest rooms into hearing-impaired rooms and upgrading 12 guest rooms to be accessible for people with disabilities.
Julienne Smith, Chief Development Officer, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said in a press release, “More than five decades ago, Regent changed the face of luxury hospitality and set the new standard through innovation, extraordinary views, landmark destinations and exceptional service. We’re redefining what it means to be a luxury hotel by combining Regent’s renowned legacy with the expertise of IHG Hotels & Resorts. Regent Santa Monica Beach is the start of a bright future for the brand in the Americas, emphasizing our strategic focus on luxury and lifestyle growth globally. We are also particularly thrilled to be partnering with Strategic Hotels & Resorts, a trusted owner of IHG-branded hotels for many years, on this endeavor.”
The hotel will “usher in a new era of extraordinary experiences to the California coastline. The resort will set a new standard for modern upper luxury in the Americas hospitality industry, bringing a fresh perspective to beachfront splendor and effortlessly bold experiences to become an iconic destination.”
This hotel is known for its proximity to the historic Santa Monica Pier and Downtown Santa Monica area with its beachside location and beautiful ocean views. The new version promises inspiring visits through serenity and a touch of decadence with a stunning pool deck with multiple pools, a destination spa and a wellness center. An exciting addition is that the hotel’s restaurant will be a new concept created in concert with a celebrity chef and a “high-end artisanal marketplace”
This transformation will be part of a partnership with Strategic Hotels & Resorts Group, “a trusted owner of IHG-branded hotels”.
André Zotoff, Chief Executive Officer, Strategic Hotels & Resorts, added as part of the press release, “As the needs and expectations of the modern luxury guest continue to evolve, we recognized an opportunity to reinvent our Santa Monica beachfront property to truly become one of the most prestigious, entertaining and beautiful hotels anywhere in the world. Strategic Hotels & Resorts has been a part of the vibrant Santa Monica community for more than 25 years and we look forward to collaborating with the teams at IHG Hotels & Resorts to build upon the Regent brand’s history of legendary properties and constant innovation to make this flagship Americas resort a must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike.”
IHG and Strategic Hotels & Resorts consider the new Regent Santa Monica Beach to be the flagship of the brand in the Americas which will add to the history of the Regent Hotels like the former Regent Beverly Wilshire and the chain’s current locations like Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel, Regent Shanghai, Regent Phu Quoc, Regent Chongqing, and upcoming Regent Hong Kong.