Laura McIver made her mark in the South Coast hotel industry when she took over and turned around downtown Santa Barbara’s Canary Hotel, setting the stage for the property’s sale to boutique chain Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.
In 2012, McIver was named general manager for Santa Barbara’s iconic El Encanto Hotel. She took the helm just as luxury hospitality firm Orient-Express, now called Belmond, was wrapping up a multi-year $45 million restoration of the historic hotel on Santa Barbara’s Riviera.
El Encanto opened in 2013 and led the way as the South Coast’s rebounding travel and tourism industry signaled a broader economic recovery.
After working in Santa Barbara since 2008, McIver is moving on to Tucson, Arizona, where she will become general manager of Miraval Resort & Spa, a luxury property owned by the KSL Group. Miraval is a healthy lifestyle resort built in the 1990s. AOL co-founder Steve Case became majority owner in 2004 and sold a stake to KSL earlier this year.
“I’m going to miss Santa Barbara,” said McIver, who left El Encanto on Sept. 1. “It’s so amazing from a community engagement standpoint. I really enjoyed my time and the fact that so many people really care about what goes on here.”
Active in the South Coast community, McIver was on the board of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, Visit Santa Barbara and the American Heart Association. She was instrumental in revitalizing the Greater Santa Barbara Restaurant & Lodging Association.