Around Town

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Around Town : Laguna Beach


Pacific edge 3

Pacific Edge Revamps Beachfront Rentals

The five spaces formerly known as Surf Cabanas at the Pacific Edge Hotel have each undergone a reinvention of space, revealed at an unveiling party May 5.

Now known as “The Bungalows on Laguna Beach,” each space represents a local surf or design-oriented business, says Alex Ota from Resonate PR on behalf of The Bungalows.

Alex explains that General Manager Bill Tremper informally came up with the idea while talking to members of the Hobie Team. The idea gained support from 20 local businesses that pitched ideas for rebranding each bungalow. The pitches were voted on, and the current five were chosen: Billabong, Fox Head Inc., Sleepy Hollow Group, Gorjana & Griffin and Hobie/Tuvalu.

The Pacific Edge Hotel then provided a $1,000 stipend to each team for revamping. Since only five bungalows are available, a new set of companies will be chosen to rebrand The Bungalows again next year—an opportunity that has already garnered a waiting list.

The spaces originated as hotel rooms and have since evolved into day rentals that more closely resemble residences, with air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, chairs for lounging on the balcony and beach access. Stay tuned for a full design feature on The Bungalows in our next issue.

The Deck, the restaurant/bar component of the hotel adjacent to The Bungalows, is also undergoing renovations. It is currently closed, but was closed at the time of this article but is expected to reopen in late May. (949-281-5720; —K.P.

A Welcome Plan

Canyon Entrance

A new “village entrance” plan to welcome visitors driving into the city from Laguna Canyon Road took on a tangible aspect when city leaders approved Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson’s proposal for an urban park in April. The proposed construction for the entryway includes a sprawling park with natural landscape, streams and walkways to downtown areas like the Festival of Arts grounds. Plans for a parking structure against the hillside were also approved, replacing the parking lot that’s currently there and increasing available parking spaces to more than 600.

Council members have pushed for a new entryway design in this area since 1995, but it wasn’t until Elizabeth recently presented her plan—at an estimated cost of $35 million—that it got the “OK” to move forward. If everything goes according to plan, the project should be completed within six years. —J.A.

High-Tech Facial

Vie Facial 1

This spring, Spa Gaucin at The St. Regis Monarch Beach debuted the new 3-D Vie Anti-Aging Facial Treatment, an exclusive anti-aging facial perfect for those notready for Botox or who never plan on getting it, says Lead Esthetician Colleen Sanchez. The facial begins with a cleansing and toning followed by an exfoliation. Next up, an acid peel preps the skin for three targeted procedures. To relax wrinkles in the upper section of the face, the skin is smoothed with the Wrinkle Eraser tool and the Wrinkle Relaxing Serum, which works to contract muscles and relax wrinkles. Next, the lower section of the face is massaged with the unique Face Shaper tool. Wrinkle Filling Serum, which contains three forms of hyaluronic acid, is then applied. A Cryogenic Mask promotes product penetration and lifts, firms and re-sculpts. The 90-minute treatment concludes with an application of Eye Correction Cream and Firming Booting Cream. Add on the Vie full body facial if you’re looking for smoothing and firming all over. Come early to use the five-star spa amenities, including steam room, whirlpool tub and tranquility lounge. (949-234-3367; —M.M.

Cool Schools Update


IPads are now being used as a tool for education in classrooms at Top of the World Elementary School, where they are rotated between fifth-grade classes to maximize use of time in classrooms and well as enable immediate access to research for class discussions.

Six new music strings courses were approved in March for Top of the World and El Moro elementary, Thurston Middle and Laguna Beach High schools, to be taught during school hours. Additionally, new electives at the high school will include advanced placement music theory and beginning-level ukulele and guitar. These classes are a step toward the goal of an eventual high school string orchestra. Thurston’s campus will also be advancing with the unanimous decision by board members to create a cafe in the campus’ kitchen, which will include take-out service. Most of the project will by funded from the capital facilities fund while the rest of the funds will be from the nonprofit SchoolPower. The goal is for construction to be complete before the school’s open house May 30. ( —A.Z.

Walls Alive

741 3 - Touched

This spring, Hotel Seven4one, under new ownership and management, debuted new living walls—one along the exterior facade and one in the inside courtyard. Created by Horst Noppenberger of Horst Architects and Scott Hutcheon of Seasons Landscaping, the two walls together include nearly 600 plants. The exterior living wall helps provide insulation to the lounge area inside, while the courtyard wall reduces sound and reverberation in addition to creating a lush backdrop. The hotel is unique to Laguna in other ways as well, in that it only rents out the 12 rooms in their entirety for groups such as weddings, corporate retreats or even family reunions—where the groups take over and make it their own with custom touches from food to music and decor. ( —M.M.

International Ballet Success

Skylar Campbell. Photo by Bruce Zinger

Laguna Beach native Skylar Campbell danced his way in true allegro style to the title role of The National Ballet of Canada’s performance of “Nijinsky” for two performances in early March to welcome the winter season lineup. He was hand-selected to rise from the corps de ballet after just two years with the company, to alternate performing the role of main character Vaslav Nijinsky with principal dancers Guillaume Cote and Alexandre Riabko, both 10 years his senior.

For Skylar it’s a dream come true.

“I couldn’t be more excited to perform this role,” he says. “The intensity of the relationships and tragedy of this character are all brilliantly pieced together in this wonderful ballet John [Neumeier] has made.”

The ballet that is now Skylar’s life began when he joined the V&T Dance Academy in Laguna Hills at just 16 years old. His former instructor from V&T, Victor Kasatsky, says, “Wherever [Skylar has] gotten right now is by his hard work. … He listens closely and tries hard to make all corrections.”

Following his training at V&T, Skylar landed a YOU dance apprenticeship with The National Ballet of Canada in 2009. This led to 19-year-old Skylar officially joining the company in 2011. —K.P.

Local Skater on the Grind


Despite Laguna’s mixed stance on skateboarding, one local skater is making his mark on the streets and the big screen. Originally from Northern California and now residing in Laguna Beach, Nyjah Huston was fresh from his gold-medal win in street league skateboarding at the summer X Games in Brazil when the documentary, “The Motivation”—which follows him and seven other top skaters as they prepare for New York City’s Street League competition—screened at both the Tribeca and Newport Beach film festivals. “It’s really amazing to be a part the film. … I had no idea it was going to be such a big deal,” Nyjah says.

Getting Gooch

Gooch gallery

In April, local clothing company Gooch Apparel opened its new headquarters in the canyon. Founded in 2012 by locals Jesse Westgaard and Butch McIntosh, the brand features casual athletic T-shirts emblazoned with the work of local artists, with plans to add hats, denim, board shorts, sweatshirts and women’s apparel. The new headquarters houses a retail store in addition to an art gallery where Jesse and Butch show and sell local artists’ work, ranging from sculptures to painting to jewelry. “We like to make nice things for cool people,” Butch says.

On what makes their brand unique, Jesse adds, “We’re super serious about having fun.” (837 Laguna Canyon Rd.; —L.D.


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