One of the best-kept secrets at the stunning Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is its Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club.
Sitting across the street from the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel, the club opened in 1937 and became a hideaway for Hollywood stars like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bing Crosby and Lana Turner. The oceanfront facility affords incredible up-close views of the Pacific and the Channel Islands (during our visit, we saw a pod of dolphins bobbing about). It also houses a more than 160-foot-long pool, a Jacuzzi, cabanas, a second-story restaurant and more.
The reason you likely haven’t heard about it is because it’s an exclusive private club. Only the 395-some members gain entry. Though, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel allows access to guests staying in a Jungle Room category or higher, and those in Riviera or Garden Rooms can pay $200 for a day pass.
But you can now get a glimpse of the storied club thanks to Gray Malin, a photographer known for his aerial shots. He just unveiled a new photo series, “Gray Malin at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club,” that uses the retreat as a sun-splashed backdrop to for bright, ebullient, 1960s-inspired pool scenes.
In light of the recent devastating mudslides in the Santa Barbara area, a portion of proceeds from the sales of this series will be donated to the beautification and restoration of the Montecito community.
What sparked the idea to do a series centered on the club?
Upon first stepping foot on the property, I was struck with its sophisticated glamour, but was further engaged by its rich history and luxurious prominence. Within moments, I was immediately transported to this glamorous time period of American history. I knew right away that I wanted to create a series that would be both reminiscent of yesteryear as well as refreshingly modern.
Are you a club member?
No, I am not a member, but it’s certainly something to aspire to!
Who are the synchronized swimmers posing in the photos?
I worked with the extremely talented synchronized dance team, the Aqualillies, as my muse. This was our second time working together as they are also featured in my series “Aqua Glam.” Together, with this iconic backdrop, I created a series that pays homage to the splendor of a timeless day spent poolside under the California sun.
Similar to the “Aqua Glam” series, there is a 1960s vibe in these photos. What is it about this era that calls to you?
Growing up, I was an avid movie watcher, especially of films from the Golden Age, that simply oozes glamour. Well, as an adult, my affinity for this era has flourished and found its way into my work.
Where do you like to shoot photos in Santa Barbara?
Typically my time spent in Santa Barbara is more personal level than professional, as it’s such an easy getaway from Los Angeles. I love visiting the beaches there as well as enjoying the wine tasting in the area.
What are your favorite Santa Barbara restaurants?
I love going to The Lark. It is a nice combination of delicious food and drink paired with a cool atmosphere, so it’s a well-rounded experience for a night out in Santa Barbara.
Any favorite shops in Santa Barbara?
There is an adorable interior decor shop called House of Honey in Montecito that I enjoy poking around in.
Are you a fan of Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara?
What’s not to love? Staying at a Four Seasons property is always an experience to relish, and The Biltmore Santa Barbara certainly surpasses any and all expectations. It’s my favorite place to stay whenever I’m in Santa Barbara.
Do you have any upcoming travel plans?
I have plans to travel to Iceland in the spring. I have never been there before, so I’m excited for that one! Then, I’ll also be making my way back to the South of France in early summer, which I’m very much looking forward to.