A Southern California entrepreneur and Mission Beach area resident, Brad Hunter is disrupting the luxury hospitality industry on a national level with an entirely uncharted concept: AQUAlounge, an innovative floating nautical experience slated to debut in San Diego in fall of 2020.
Custom designed to be unlike anything currently on the water, the process to receive permitting and approvals charted unmapped territory for the United States Coast Guard and the City of San Diego. It was an arduous, multi-year undertaking for AQUAlounge’s President, Brad Hunter, who saw success in the wireless industry before making the unexpected shift into hospitality. “When I started down this path six years ago, my goal was to completely rethink everything about the bay and dinner cruise space–the layout, the experience, the ambiance,” says Hunter. “I found inspiration on my travels. With so many amazing new dining and entertainment experiences emerging around the world, it feels good to be a part of that revolution and to bring something unique back to San Diego.”
At 3,900-square-feet, the build out of AQUAlounge is projected at $5 million, and construction is scheduled to begin in February of 2020. “Designing and building a vessel so far from the industry standards has certainly created a fair amount of challenges,” says Hunter, who is working with a team of nautical design specialists including Marine Group Boat Works, Marine Design and Drafting, and Directions in Design to build his vision.
The indoor-outdoor, three-level floating vessel will feature year-round public and private events, as well as annual membership options. Guests may enjoy a variety of seating arrangements, two bars, as well as private cabanas and daybeds offering bottle service and other 5-star experiences. Hunter also has plans for a robust dining program in partnership with San Diego’s top restaurants and caterers.
On-board entertainment will embrace advanced tech-forward features including synchronized light shows incorporating a fleet of drones, interactive displays, and top-of-the-line lighting, audio and visual components to enhance performances with DJs, live music and unique artistic displays. With the ability to cover and heat all areas, AQUAlounge will ensure a comfortable guest experience while sipping cocktails, dining or relaxing on the water.
AQUAlounge marks a pivotal step forward within a virtually untapped sector of the hospitality industry, and its projected timeline will make it one of the first–if not the first–concept of its kind in North America. Hunter aims to set the bar for floating day clubs at a time when business and trend forecasters have projected strong potential within the new category. One similar concept of note was announced by Lebua Hotels & Resorts, whose Bangkok-based day club, Float, is also estimated to launch in 2020, according to Forbes. Hunter sees potential for future expansion, but considers San Diego the ideal market for launch given its annual visitor count of 35.8 million who spend $11.5 billion on average.
“Mission Bay is the largest man-made aquatic recreation area in the world, entertaining 15 million visitors annually,” says Hunter. “The area has the best year-round weather in the country, a lively hospitality scene, and breathtaking bay views, yet there are no viable options for enjoying great food, drink and entertainment on the water…it feels like a very exciting opportunity.”
AQUAlounge has partnered with Mission Bay’s leading hotel property Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina to provide docking services, as AQUAlounge plans to operate within San Diego’s Mission Bay waters. For more information please visit www.AQUAlounge.net.