By June Morrall
The crowds were thick and upbeat in the lobby of the new Oceano Hotel & Spa at Princeton-by-the-Sea. On a drizzly Coastside evening, they were there to witness the long-awaited ribbon cutting ceremony, performed by jovial county Supervisor Rich Gordon.
The lobby was so busy that I couldnât get a hard count on how many folks had come to celebrate with the Coastsideâs Keet Nerhan, the man associated with the nearly completed project.
And in the middle of the festive mood, the loud conversations and t live music, I watched Keet Nerhan confidently walk through the jammed room, constantly stopped by well-wishers wanting to shake his hand and offer well deserved congratulations.
Remember that the Oceano Hotel & Spa is opening in the early stages of what appears to be a serious economic recession.
For Nerhan, reaching tonightâs ribbon cutting ceremony has been a long, hard journey (and Iâm sure thereâs a book in it), a project that has been in the works for decades (and one that famous developer Henry Doelger considered in the 1950s).
The Oceano Hotel &Spa is surely the most complex project Keet Nerhan has worked on in his entire careerâand one has only to look at the attention to detail to appreciate the work..
The Oceano Hotel & Spa has impressive conference facilities that feature fine views of the harbor and Pillar Point. Thereâs a nautical theme throughout; for example, a model yacht placed above the fireplace and a variety of seashells used creatively. This motif is carried throughout the hotel
Itâs not just a hotel, though; you must look up when youâre walking through the indoor shopping mall with its extraordinarily beautiful glass âroof.â? No shops were open and I have no idea how many have been rented.
The restaurant-in-the-round, or so it looked to me, is an eye-catcher and Iâm certain there are beautiful harbor views.
For little, Princeton-by-the-Sea, a harbor-fishing village with some 450 permanent residents, the Oceano Hotel & Spa is an amazing project bigger than anything else nearby. It will definitely become a venue for people and families hungry for something fun to doâclose to home, easy on the gas tank–and that is why I feel it will be a success.
As for me, I hope that good take-out restaurants move in. As a superb blueprint, Iâm thinking of the Ferry Building in San Franciscoâwhere everything is fresh and comes from local farms and flower growers. We have that talent right here on the Caostside.
And I have never encountered a grumpy salesperson or moody waiter at the Ferry Building—They must give a congeniality test to all potential employees; everyone is so cheerful and loves what they are doing. I hope that’s what we get at the Oceano Hoel & Spa.
But the Oceano Hotel & Spa will have its supporters and its detractors, and the argument over what is appropriate for the Coastside will continue to be a bitter source of controversy