The Café Lido is part of the Hotel Mar Monte renovation project in Santa Barbara, California. The café is a Mediterranean-style bar and restaurant situated across the beautiful beach front and next to the hotel’s pool deck. Located in a historic arched breezeway, this casual cafe has been reimagined with flair and is the hotel’s official three-meal restaurant and bar.
The hotel was built in 1932 as a luxury hotel for the rich and famous from Los Angeles. Over time it went through many expansions and changes, losing some of its charm and character. The Café Lido is located within the original breezeway of what used to be the hotel’s main entrance and the arches and ceiling are part of the original architecture, stripped down to expose the building’s history and showing off its significance.
The Mediterranean inspired menu also informed some of the material selections, such as the Moroccan zellige tile at the bar and the base of the arches. The pendant lights and hanging plants emphasize the sense of being in a warm, southern climate and its proximity to the water. To keep the one room space visually interesting the design has been layered, the eye keeps discovering new angles and details as the patrons move through the place. The space feels open and airy for breakfast and lunch but turns romantic for the evening as guests enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset and the fire burning on the pool deck.
Custom hand-painted murals, depicting local flora and fauna, and “pencil sketch” floor tile help transform the space into a bucolic setting reminiscent of a former artist’s studio. The perfect place to eat, drink and enjoy life at the beach. Key to the project was being able to take the design brief and the given structure and creating something new and unique for this location and building. The design works so well as it embraces all aspects of the building and location, through the rustic and historic architecture with the more playful and refined build-out.
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