Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel to Lay off 320 Workers as it "Temporarily" Suspends Operations
The Move Follows Raise in Transient Occupancy Tax
January 20, 2023
January 19, 2023 - The luxury beachfront hotel, Loews Santa Monica Beach, has announced it is "temporarily" suspending operations effective March 4. The 320 workers at the hotel will be laid off.
The hotel, which opened in 1989, replaced an earlier low-profile motel, sits cater-corner to Tongva Park and two blocks from the Santa Monica Pier. Both of these locations have been plagued by crime and violent incidents over the past few years. For example, in October, 2018, a homeless man was murdered as he slept in the park. Also in 2018, a group of college students got into an altercation with a homeless male who thought they were in "his" park, and he stabbed one of them in the neck. This incident inspired the creation of the popular Facebook group, Santa Monicans Against Crime. More recently in May, a group of teenagers stole a cell phone from a homeless man, an incident that ended in multiple stabbings and arrests. The pier has been the site of multiple arrests for stabbings and other violent crimes.
John Alle, who hosted the first display of the "Santa Monica is Not Safe" billboard on his Third Street Promenade storefront, said that he had spoken to the general manager of the Loews eight months ago. The manager told him that guests with advance 3 to 5 day reservations were cutting their stays after 1 or 2 days. The tourists "did not like what they saw, smelled or felt when they walked around the Downtown and the Promenade." Alle said that Tongva Park is "full of used needles, sex workers and sick people." Many of the homeless are armed. Meth and fentanyl are commonly consumed there, as in many other locations around the city.
Alle said he asked members of the City Council and of Downtown Santa Monica Inc, the quasi-governmental agency regulating the downtown, to walk the area with him. None "had time," he was told. The city then raised the hotel occupancy tax at the end of last year via a measure the council put on the ballot. The Loews Santa Monica Beach is part of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, a company owned by Dajia insurance, an entity created by the Chinese Government. In a statement given to the Santa Monica Daily Press, the Loews Hotel Group stated, "The owners of Loews Santa Monica Beach did not renew Loews Hotels & Co's management agreement, and as March 4, 2023, the hotel will no longer be operated by Loews. Ownership has advised Loews that operation of the hotel will be temporarily suspended starting March 4th."
Dajia took control when the previous owner of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Anbang Insurance Group, had its chairman, Wu Xiaohui, arrested by the Chinese government. Strategic Hotels & Resorts has a website that consists of one page.