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Brands make their mark at La Casa del Camino hotel

By Shelby Stanger
November 04, 2009 5:00 AM

Sleeping with your favorite brand in mind is taking marketing to a whole new level.

Ignited by an idea from Riviera Magazine, a Modern Luxury publication that wanted to tap into the skate and surf industry, 10 brands have collaborated with local interior designers in Laguna Beach to take over guest rooms at La Casa del Camino Hotel and create living spaces inspired by surf, skate and beach lifestyles.

Eighteen months ago, Riviera Magazine approached brands including Lost, Billabong men's and women's, L*Space, Roxy, Quiksilver, Rip Curl, Etnies, and Glaceau Smart and Vitamin Water to participate in the project. (Click on the slide show above to see images from the different brand rooms.)

Etnies bedEvery brand paid a participation fee and was assigned a designer to redecorate a hotel room however they wanted. Most brands worked creatively with designers to get items sourced and donated by local craftsman and vendors.

The concept of taking a brand and collaborating with a hotel is not new. Created by snowboarder Frank Montoya in 2007, The Block Hotels in Tahoe and Big Bear were called the first snowboard branded hotels and featured brands like DVS and Zoo York.

(Right: the bed in the Etnies room.)

Riviera wanted to help the brands showcase themselves in a more "design forward and sophisticated manner," according to Valerie Robles, associate publisher of Riviera Magazine.

"The whole idea was that the space is livable and it doesn't feel commercial," said Billabong's Enich Harris who was sitting in the Billabong room that featured a wood block painting of a wave, surfboard lightbox, and direct view of Second Reef surf break.

Designs range from elaborate to minimalist. The Moroccan themed Lost room comes with bedding designed from a Lost surf trunk pattern. The logo is subtly embedded in Moroccan-style tiles along the walls, and the room comes with complimentary Lost Energy drinks in the closet (at least until they run out).

Lost

Lost roomJoel Cooper, CEO of Lost International said he was the first to be approached about the project. He said folks from Riviera loved his own home in Laguna Beach and told him about the concept.

"A year and a half ago, life was very different economically and for business," he said.

(Right: the Lost room.)

Cooper was happy he committed to the project because he thought it was a great way to give back to the community, especially since he is from Laguna Beach.

"Laguna is such a unique town that just happens to be the home of the owners of Quiksilver, Lost, Volcom and a lot of people in the surf industry. It's a great way to make a stamp in our own backyard, as well as get unique publicity."

L Space lampL*Space

All the participants creatively incorporated their brand into the rooms. In the L*Space room, gold rings from L*Space bikinis were used to create lamps (right) and accent pieces, and there is a canvas painting of their model hung along the wall.

"We tried to go with the theme of subtle luxury, chic and beachy," said L*Space's PR Manager Heather Winters.

Etnies

One of the rooms that stood at most was the Etnies room, suite 207. Completely eco-friendly - from the toilets (dual-flush, saving 30% potable water) to the fly ash (incinerator waste product) in the concrete skateboard pool-shaped sink - no green detail was left out.

The bed headboard was created from shoe sample fabric swatches. The bathroom sink was carved into a replica of the famous "Chicken's" skateboard pool in Huntington Beach. Skate tracks from skateboard wheels were painted across the ceiling. There was a mural of old and new skateboard wheels. There was a chair made of skate decks, and there were brand new skateboards hung on the wall for guests to use as an alternative means to getting around town.

"Anyone who bombs Third Street (a steep hill in Laguna Beach), gets a hundred bucks, " said Don Brown, Senior VP of Sole Technology, adding that his team took the project a step further by encouraging the hotel to install the eco-friendly toilets in every room.

Hotel rooms

The branded "Surf Suites" go for $269 on weekdays and $369 on weekends. Regular suites in the 38-room historic hotel start at $149 to $199. Rates will increase in the summertime about $100 per night.

Two percent of sales from every room goes to the charity of the brand's choice for the next year. Sole Tech is contributing to Global Green, L*Space to Amber Watch Foundation, Quiksilver to the Quiksilver Foundation, Rip Curl to Invisible Children, Billabong to Surfrider, and Lost to Beit t'shuvah. Riviera and Glaceau also have rooms and are donating proceeds to the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation and Action for Healthy Kids, respectively.

Amy Amaradio, Casa Del Camino Hotel Marketing Manager was beyond excited about the results of the project.

"We really think this will bring in more people," she said, adding that the collaboration opens the door for the hotel to work closely with brands in bringing VIPs to stay in their respective rooms. The hotel also gets to keep all designs and furniture.

Riviera Magazine will be showcasing the rooms in their upcoming publication, and plan to create an awards ceremony to recognize the top designers.

Beginning today, the rooms are available for hotel guests to sleep in.


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