Just down the road from the Slowtide headquarters is a kind of home-away-from-home. Hotel Joaquin is a boutique hotel situated on the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, CA. Their “laid-back luxurious” feel emulates the city around them, taking from some of the Spanish heritage of Laguna Beach. The floor plans are designed with the ocean views in mind and the emphasis on unplugging and truly enjoying your time. We caught up with the designer behind Hotel Joaquin, Robert McKinley, to learn more about the process of creating this special space.

Slowtide: When was this space built and designed?

Robert McKinley: Hotel Joaquin was originally a roadside motor lodge, built in the 1930s. After the building was purchased back in 2016, the team and I worked for a year and a half to restore the property by opening up the floor plan and refocusing the spaces on ocean views.


S: What is the inspiration behind the design of this space?

RM: The idea was to marry the style of the chic resorts in St. Barth’s and the south of France with the low-key feeling of Southern California by incorporating natural, tactile materials, vintage pieces and original artworks throughout. The materials throughout are very clean and minimal, but organic and textured - hand oiled white oak throughout, natural linen shades on lighting, and cane–lined closets; bathrooms feature handmade Mexican clay tile and veined marble. Interiors combine vintage furniture and low-slung, contemporary built-in units. Much of the furniture and materials were sourced and built by local artisans, including Daniel Fuller and Sean Spellman.


S: How do you hope patrons feel upon entering the space?

RM: Throughout the area you see a number of high end, 5-star, ultra-luxury resorts and more simple inns on the other end of the spectrum. We wanted to create a boutique property that exists somewhere in between. Hotel Joaquin still offers a sense of luxury, but it is more relaxed and understated.

When developing the concept, we wanted to provide guests a way to “unplug” during their time in Laguna. To do this, we integrated a series of thoughtful design details in the hotel. Each TV-free room is equipped with a record player and luxurious linens, the open concept living room / lobby and bar has a record library and oversize doors that open to the property’s interior courtyard and pool.


S: What makes this space a kind of home-away-from-home?

RM: We wanted you to feel this exhale when you walked through the door, like you would a home, but we also wanted to have some interest, and some soul, and some texture.


 Check out Hotel Joaquin and Robert McKinley on Instagram.