Ensemble Investments and Santa Cruz Seaside Company Announce Groundbreaking for La Bahia Hotel and Spa, a Luxury Waterfront Hotel in Santa Cruz

Redefining Beachfront Elegance, La Bahia Will Help Restore the Rich History, the Energy and the Excitement that Once Defined the Santa Cruz Waterfront

Santa Cruz, California (September 21, 2022) – Ensemble Investments, the developer of renowned California properties including Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley, and Hotel Nia in Menlo Park, in a joint venture with Santa Cruz Seaside Company have announced the September 21 groundbreaking for La Bahia Hotel and Spa.  Located on the former site of La Bahia Apartments, adjacent to the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and main beach, La Bahia Hotel and Spa is scheduled to open its doors to guests in fall 2024.  The property will incorporate the historic bell tower into a contemporary reinterpretation of the Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture.  The 155-room, luxury hotel will boast unobstructed views of the beach, Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

“When La Bahia Hotel and Spa welcomes guests, it will be the culmination of a long-standing project more than 20 years in the making,” said Kam Babaoff, Chairman and Co-founder Ensemble Investments. “Ensemble is dedicated to building upon the rich heritage and energy that make Santa Cruz a world-class destination while staying true to, and honoring, the original La Bahia site. We are proud to have the opportunity to revitalize and re-imagine a historic building in a destination as beloved as Santa Cruz. La Bahia Hotel and Spa will welcome the community of Santa Cruz, and guests from both near and far, to our spacious rooms, exciting culinary experiences, relaxing spa and the incredible event space we are creating.”

The property has been a familiar landmark on Santa Cruz’s famed beachfront for nearly a century.  Originally envisioned by illustrious UC Berkeley professor of architecture William C. Hays in 1926, its storied Spanish Mediterranean palette captured the enchantment of its heyday.  To honor the architecturally distinctive bell tower, La Bahia Hotel and Spa will feature a Spanish-Colonial style that will blend with a contemporary interpretation of Spanish and California Coastal interior design, overseen by award-winning hospitality design specialists, Forrest Perkins Design Group.

“The Santa Cruz Seaside Company is proud to be part of the team making a world class luxury hotel at this historic site a reality,” said Santa Cruz Seaside Company President, Karl Rice. “Ensemble will do an excellent job moving this long-awaited project forward and delivering another amazing hotel property to the Santa Cruz Community.”

Family-friendly and just steps from the beach, La Bahia Hotel and Spa’s full repertoire of exceptional amenities will elevate the California beachside experience: a casual street front bar/restaurant; chef-inspired restaurant for special occasions; spa; elevated swimming pool; handcrafted artisan cocktails served at the pool and refined lobby bar; fire pits; an upper level event deck; and banquet and event ballroom spaces.  Beach Butlers will be standing by to turn guests’ California dreams into reality.

Three distinct dining outlets and four bars will suit every guest’s whim: a casual beachside bar and restaurant downstairs—the perfect place to grab lunch before heading to the beach; just upstairs, an upscale California Coastal dining option with an intimate bar; the iconic pool bar serving up classic cocktails and poolside eats; and a signature champagne lobby bar.

La Bahia’s showpiece spa, a Moorish-inspired private indoor/outdoor rooftop oasis, will feature a modern interpretation of the famous salt baths of Santa Cruz’s storied past.

The general contractor for the project is SWENSON, a leading Northern California real estate development company. “Considered the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Santa Cruz, SWENSON is honored to partner with an amazing team in building the historic La Bahia Hotel and Spa and seeing it come to life again,” said SWENSON Vice President, Jeffrey Huff.

Creating a sense of place for both locals and travelers is a guiding principle for La Bahia Hotel and Spa.  Ensemble and Seaside Company will continue to work together to deliver an unprecedented project.


About Ensemble Real Estate Investments:
Over the past 30 years, Ensemble has successfully invested and developed more than $2 billion in real estate across the United States and has $2 billion in the pipeline, offering state-of-the-art property solutions in the hospitality, multi-family lifestyle mixed-use, life science and commercial sectors. A widely respected leader in its industry, Ensemble strives for extraordinary design and thoughtful execution in its mission to deliver impactful developments that transform and inspire the communities they serve. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Ensemble has offices in Philadelphia and Phoenix. For more information, visit www.ensemble.net.

About Santa Cruz Seaside Company:

Locally owned and operated, the Santa Cruz Seaside Company is a private business that owns and operates the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Boardwalk Bowl, Sea and Sand Inn, and Carousel Beach Inn. For more information, visit www.beachboardwalk.com


Since 1990 the Swenson family has been a trusted partner in the revitalization and historic restoration of the Santa Cruz region.  Four generations of expertise and a proven Design-Develop-Build platform deliver unique designs, quality developments, and dynamic construction methods.  SWENSON has emerged as an industry leader in reliability through efficient processes and continuous optimization of technology and end-to-end project integration.  SWENSON’s wide range of development, construction and architectural services are built on integrity and sound business practices, demonstrated by the longstanding tradition of the Swenson family. For more information, visit https://swensonbuilders.com/company/


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Media contact:  Alison Stout at Aspire PR – [email protected] or (415) 307-1682.