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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 10:25 am | Partly Cloudy 61º


New Owners of Bacara Resort & Spa Reach Out to Community with Open House

The hotel is working toward a friendlier presence in an effort to mend its once-tattered relationship with the public

About 2,000 people toured the Bacara Resort & Spa during the new owners’ open house Wednesday night.

Guests were welcomed throughout the beachfront resort at 8301 Hollister Ave., including the 42,000-square-foot spa, poolside wine and beer tasting, the Miró restaurant and the Spa Café, and several scenic guest rooms that have been updated with flat-screen TVs and wireless Internet.

Ohana Real Estate Investors, along with Rockpoint Group, acquired the 78-acre property in July from ADCO, a New York-based real estate and merchant banking company that developed and managed the resort.

Under its new ownership, Bacara’s priorities include welcoming locals back to the property, embracing local businesses, participating in the community and creating a positive long-lasting relationship with Goleta, the company said in a news release.

Kathleen Cochran, Bacara’s new general manager, said it’s time to erase the past and create an accepting family atmosphere.

“We’re here to be a good neighbor, so I think our philosophies really align in that sense. It’s what attracted me after 24 years at one job to leave,” said Cochran, who has worked in the hospitality business for 35 years and most recently managed hotels in Coronado. “It feels right. What (Ohana) wants to do is really reintroduce Bacara, and part of that is really embracing the community, and I can’t wait to do that.”

Ohana Vice President Sarah Mancuso said that sense of community has been lacking.

“We want this to be a place that the community feels as though it’s their own,” she said. “I feel now that sense is definitely lacking. The reason we’re having the open house is that we want people to explore the restaurants, see what there is to see, and we really want to be good neighbors and community members.”

A key point of contention has been Haskell’s Beach, and one of the first things Ohana did was replace the “Bacara Private Beach” signs with “Haskell’s Beach,” according to Goleta City Councilman Roger Aceves.

“That’s what locals remember it as, and to have a new owner come into town and recognize that is significant,” he said. “Ohana spent a long time outreaching to the community to make sure they know they are a new game in town and that they recognize the importance of the facility within the community. ... It makes all the difference.”

Bacara, one of Goleta’s largest employers and taxpayers, will finish upgrading and renovating rooms by next summer, Mancuso said.

“(Ohana) has that aloha spirit and will share it with us in Santa Barbara, and that will be a great thing,” Goleta resident Lauren Hansen said.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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