Located just steps from the sand in Hermosa Beach, the Sea Sprite Motel has been a respite for vacationers for decades. But, its iconic blue exterior and mid-century, laid-back vibe was in need of some updating.
Work is nearly complete on the budget-friendly motel. The bricks walls surrounding the swimming pool and the pool itself are gone, replaced with a patio with a view of The Strand and the beach. The motel has also added ADA accessible features.
Sea Sprite began its remodel in January. In addition to removing the pool, there's a wheelchair accessible room on the second floor, according to Amanda Mauceri, vice president of architecture and design with El Segundo-based Vista Investments, which is currently managing the property.
“It was completely inaccessible to anyone who was handicapped and there are a lot of issues with that now,” said Mauceri of the pool. “There was really not a good way to use the existing pool and change it to make it accessible for wheelchairs. So we felt like it was just going to be easier to pull it out and do a beach level patio that was accessible for everyone.”
There were no wheelchair accessible rooms at the Sea Sprite until the renovation, which includes the addition of a wheelchair lift.
“We added one on the second floor so they would have a better view as opposed to the ground floor which is kind of half underground,” said Mauceri, who added that hearing accessible rooms were added as well.
Because of age, the motel's plumbing and electrical was brought up to “code as much as possible.” The stucco, which was failing apart, was also replaced.
Mauceri said much of the interior hadn't changed much since the 1960s. So they replaced furniture, carpet, light fixtures, tile, bedding, art and replaced blinds with shutters.
“We took everything that was there before and replaced it with more modern clean finishes and also things that are a lot easier to clean and maintain at the beach,” Mauceri said.
While the Sea Sprite was closed partially from January through mid June, Hermosa Beach was transformed into the fictional town of Neptune for the filming of “Veronica Mars.” The show, which aired on Hulu recently, used the motel as one of its locations.
“They had contacted the management about using the property and it just happened to work out really well that they were starting construction,” Mauceri said. “So we were a little more lax with what they were able to do. They drilled holes and things that we didn't make them fix.”
The Sea Sprite was built in the 1950s was originally apartments until it was turned into a motel, Mauceri said. Richard and Thelma Greenwald purchased the motel in 1964. New management took over in October 2018.