A boutique hotel within walking distance of Hermosa Beach Pier and Pier Plaza is finally opening to the public after nearly seven years of planning and construction.

The 30-room, three-story hotel — H2O Hermosa — had a soft opening for friends and family this weekend and welcomes guests beginning Oct. 21.

The hotel features an open rooftop lounge, a fitness center as well as meeting and event space.

The project’s developers, Raju and Philomina Chhabria, have been Realtors in the South Bay for more than three decades. They primarily deal in residential projects, but in recent years have completed mixed-use projects of offices and retail shops. This is the couple’s first hotel project.

“This is a big project,” Philomina Chhabria said, adding they are proud of the finished product. “We haven’t done anything like this before.”

Philomina said groundbreaking for the hotel took place almost four years ago. Setbacks on the project were amplified by about a four-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

“A lot of materials didn’t come in on time, like plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, and at the beginning of the pandemic, even workers were afraid to work,” Philomina said. “Some people did come in to work, some didn’t.”

H2O’s General Manager Rajiv Paul said the new hotel is following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Precautions include guest temperature checks upon arrival, hand sanitizer stations posted on every floor and staff temperature checks at the start of shifts.

“We have our own code procedures on making sure the rooms are clean and sanitized properly,” Paul said. “And ensuring that our team and the guests who are gonna be here, they’re safe.”

Guests who checked into the hotel Friday, most of them from the South Bay, said it was refreshing to have a place to get away — even if it was just down the road.

“I feel completely safe about traveling and I don’t have anything I’m concerned with,” said Arty Feles, from Palos Verdes Estates. He hasn’t been traveling much since the easing of pandemic restrictions, he said, except for local day trips.

Ellie and Ramin Roohipour from Palos Verdes Estates checked in with their two children. They said they hadn’t been traveling at all since February due to rising infection rates. “The numbers are still up and they are trending up and we’re still facing unknowns,” Ramin Roohipour said.

At H2O Hotel, the emphasis is on giving guests a “home away from home” experience said Paul, the general manager. Twenty-seven of the 30 rooms have balconies and range from 280 to 300 square feet, except the executive suite which is 780 square feet and has special amenities such as an indoor fireplace and a wet bar.

Paul said H2O is partnering with local businesses such as Chef Melba’s Bistro, Hermosa Brewing Company and Nosotros Tequila for room service and events.

In keeping with the city’s desire to reduce the impact of the hotel on nearby residential uses, alcohol is limited to mini-bars in guest rooms. The hotel does not operate a bar, restaurant or nightclub, but guests are encouraged to patronize Hermosa Beach restaurants. A continental breakfast is included with the price of the room.

“We want the guests, when they come here, to experience life like a local,” Paul said.

H2O Hotel is located at 1429 Hermosa Ave.

— Axel Koester contributed to this report.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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