Thursday, August 12, 2010

A life well lived

Our community has been touched by a huge loss. Claes Andersen, owner and pastry chef of the Hotel Laguna, has passed away. Although I had met him several times, I didn't really know Claes personally. His daughter and my son were classmates for a short time, and I can tell you from what I do know of him, he was a man who gave to many.
The Hotel Laguna first opened it's doors in 1888
Claes was a community minded man, and was a big supporter of both the Laguna Canyon Foundation, and Schoolpower, often holding fundraisers in his world class restaurant. He was a community builder, a man who brought us together. Back in 1993 when 391 homes burned to the ground, his included, he opened the hotel to the firefighters and neighbors who needed a place to stay. He then got up very early the next morning, and baked his wonderful pastries for his guests, wearing the only clothes he had left, the ones that he was wearing the previous day. When disaster hit again, and Bluebird Canyon slid in 2005, he again offered rooms and meals to those who lost their homes.

The landmark Hotel Laguna today

Andersen loved our town. We were lucky that he decided to call Laguna Beach home. Throughout his life here, his philosophy was all about giving back. He will be missed, as a chef and hotel owner, as a man who gave to so many, and as a piece of Laguna's history. Thank you, Claes.


  1. Your community was so blessed to have this man call Laguna home. I hope the the spirit in which he lived his life remains a permanent part of the community creating a legacy that will always be a part of Laguna.

  2. Well said, GSPC! It always seems extra sad when we lose someone who has given so much of themselves to their community. Bless him and his family!

  3. thanks, and yes, you are both right. he was quite a guy. i don't know what will happen to the hotel and the restaurants that he put so much of himself into. i'm hoping that somehow they can remain, so that his legacy can carry on.