Huntington Beach, Calif.―Huntington
Beach is busy adding three new oceanfront luxury hotels to its inventory
of approx. 1500 rooms currently to become an overnight destination to
rival nearby Laguna Beach. With the addition of three oceanfront luxury
hotels, one property rekindles the roots of the city once named
Pacific City, envisioned as a West Coast resort, and solidified by
naming it Huntington Beach in 1904 when Henry Huntington infused capital
into the boom town, which soon became Oil City instead.
Full Circle - Tourism as its next big industry with a wave of
construction that's bringing three oceanfront hotels and mixed-use
residential/commercial ventures with shops, restaurants and offices to
the beachfront once know for one-story beach hotels, a nine-hole golf
course and surf-friendly diners such as the Grinder. While Sugar Shack,
TK (The Kind) Burger, and Perqs Nite Club (once a Huntington Beach
brothel) still remain, such individually-owned and operated stores and
small chain restaurants are subject to supply and demand commercial
space concerns, and many worry that their future in Huntington Beach is
The new Pacific City development, for instance, borrowed from its early
roots the name that will herald what was originally planned more than
100 years ago. With 31 acres of shops, offices, restaurants and a W
Hotel at Pacific Coast Highway, the owners/developers at Makar
Properties previously stated they could include an entertainment venue
such as the Golden Bear in their project in Huntington Beach. Golden
Bear was one of several music venues at the beach that attracted top
name acts. Those businesses faded out during 1980's. What's for
certain is that just a few blocks south of Main Street , their property
will include a boutique hotel of just under 200 rooms, bringing to the
city additional upscale offerings. The Strand, north of Main
Street, will also offer restaurants, shops, office space and a 157-room
Shorebreak Hotel. A third high-rise hotel is slated for construction
between the nearby Hilton and Hyatt resorts and will likely reflect the
quality projects Robert Mayer Corporation is recognized for. The
southland developer not only built and owns the Hyatt and Hilton hotels
in Huntington Beach, its holdings also include residential projects
Huntington Beach draws more than 11 million visitors a year (new figures
claim 16 million), and most are on daytrips from the inland empire where
hot summers create an exodus to the mellow, cool beaches where it can
even be foggy as the folks in Riverside cook in the desert sun. Among
overnight vacationers, Huntington Beach is especially popular with
residents of Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada where temps can push over
100 degrees daily during the summer months.
Known for its seasonal popularity,
winters find the beach sometimes empty--a paradise for loners sitting on
the edge of a 15 million-plus urban area of Southern California.
Meanwhile, two hotels have worked in a steadfast manner to bring
offseason travelers to the beach.
The Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa with nearly 500 rooms and
conference & meeting space has succeeded in attraction corporate
clients. For business meetings and events, the rest of the U.S. looks
for beach getaways and Huntington Beach has become a popular place for
companies hosting small to mid-size events and meetings. Such efforts
have kept the hotel room rates at a healthy $220/night upwards.
Conventions and meetings are ideal audiences to fill rooms (additional
revenue in catering). Its next door neighbor,
Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, set the stage for quality
accommodations in Huntington Beach.
Among the 20 most populous cities in California (population approx.
200,000), the traditions the city embraces include home-spun 4th of July
Parade and Fireworks (now over 100 years old), US Open of Surfing, a
Marathon and Paintball competition, to name a few events that work to
fill hotel rooms.
With an increase 27% in hotel rooms, Huntington Beach's 2,100 hotel
rooms, Huntington Beach will fall within the range of nearby beach
cities, and even exceed most.
In the long term, how will tourism fair for the next 100 years? We
predict prices up on housing will put Huntington Beach more in line with
Los Angeles County beach city property values, and the reputation as the
affordable vacation will be replaced and those with expendable income
will visit for weekend escapes and getaways to more expensive, boutique
hotels charging $250/night and up.