In late October, Hotel Casa Del Mar opened its latest event and meeting venue, called The Conservatory, and will partner with the Schmidt Ocean Institute on a 2024 event slate stressing public engagement in oceanic education.
The institute was established in 2009 with focus on “discoveries needed to understand our ocean, sustain life, and ensure the health of our planet” and The Conservatory gels with the organization’s Ocean Rising initiative connecting culture and ocean ambassadorship.
Casa Del Mar is no stranger in attempting to shield its oceanfront views from harm, previously partnering with local organization Heal the Bay on charitable efforts, as hotel leadership sees “the health of the ocean” as something deserving of “making a contribution to.”
“We’ve long felt a wish to be part of the community, part of the beachfront scene here, and there’s sort of a social responsibility and desire [for that],” said Casa Del Mar General Manager Max Jonas.
Stating that the hotel is “extraordinarily fortunate” to sit “right in the front row seat” of the ocean and beach, Jonas is looking forward to the “exciting opportunity to raise awareness” on environmental and biodiversity issues.
“The pace that humanity moves on is sadly often in [the] opposite direction to the health of the ocean, which supports so much [along with] the ecosystem in itself … it’s something we have a very direct connection to,” Jonas said.
Over the next decade, the Schmidt institute will be sharing observations from seas around all seven continents, with several expeditions in 2023 focusing on concepts like the frontiers of biodiversity and the stability of ocean health. The group traveled to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in March in search of hydrothermal “lost cities,” as well as a trip to Puerto Rico in April to study health diagnostics of deep-sea coral.
In October, the institute discovered pristine coral reefs in the waters surrounding the Galápagos Islands, something Galápagos National Park Directorate Danny Rueda Córdova said would provide “a solid foundation for decision-making that effectively protects these ecosystems.”
Aside from aiding in awareness of the institute’s work, Casa Del Mar also benefits from The Conservatory being a host for medium-sized events, with the space able to accommodate up to 120 guests for a reception-style event or daytime presentations from a number of groups such as the Schmidt institute.
“The focus … was that we will be able to provide a venue for these sort of ocean health-focused groups to come and hold fundraisers or focus group meetings, and have that backdrop to remind everybody why we’re here,” Jonas noted.
A 2024 event schedule for The Conservatory will be released soon, with the hotel and institute identifying both local and national charities slated to benefit from the venue. Two of those charities will be The Bay Foundation, a non-profit environmental group attempting to restore and enhance Santa Monica Bay, and Philippe Cousteau’s ocean conservation organization EarthEcho International.