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San Marcos: A Lakehouse Destination?

A 142-room resort reopens on the quiet and tranquil setting of Lake San Marcos

By Heather Randall

San Marcos: A Lakehouse Destination?

Lake San Marcos Hotel and Resort exterior and interior

Lake San Marcos Hotel and Resort exterior and interior


1025 La Bonita
Drive, San Marcos

It’s unique, it’s boutique—and it’s in San Marcos.

This past June, Eat.Drink.Sleep. (EDS) partnered with Pacifica Enterprises (PEI) to complete a $9 million property-wide renovation of the former Lake San Marcos Hotel and Resort.

Prior to the extensive remodel, which began in early 2013, the Lakehouse Hotel and Resort lacked a following, and earned weak reviews from guests on sites like

Enter EDS, a Pacific Beach-based company that owns Heat Hotel in Lake Havasu and Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, as well as PB-area properties like Belmont Park, Tower23 Hotel, Gringo’s Cantina y Cocina, and Moondoggies. Several of these were designed by the late world-renowned architect Graham Downes.

Before his death earlier this year, Downes and his senior lead designer, Maria Carrillo, were hired as the creative force behind the Lakehouse project.

Downes and Carrillo allowed the surrounding environment to become their main inspiration for how to update the property. “We wanted to create a feeling that harkens back to the days of family outings to the lake, like in the movie Dirty Dancing and the Catskills of New York on the East Coast,” Carrillo says. The lobby, with a fireplace lounge and library, is meant to feel like the entry of a traditional lake house. Activities on the lawn include croquet, horseshoes, cricket, and bocce ball. Rooms range in size and many happily accommodate families: The Shore Cottage includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchenette, and two private patios.

For the hotel’s interior, Carrillo drew inspiration from designer Lilly Pulitzer. “This was a way of introducing a very residential feel and using bright pops of color in certain areas,” Carrillo says.

Brett Miller, CEO of EDS, hopes the Lakehouse will quickly build a strong reputation among families and traveling business professionals alike that either need to escape and relax, or get work done during the day and play at night. By 2014, guests can expect the completion of the semi-private, par-71 St. Mark Golf Club, and two new restaurants.

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