Thirty years ago, an upstart, young computer company called Apple (AAPL) threw a party.
A big party, with kegs of beer, rowdy crowds and rumors of skinny-dipping at La Playa Hotel, a small, family-owned resort on the California coast that was a popular site for corporate retreats in the early days of Silicon Valley. The facility’s management at the time and, of course, other guests, were less than impressed by the Macintosh team’s hijinks, and as a result the eventual iPhone and iPad maker was unceremoniously kicked off the property and banned from the Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. resort for life, effective 1983.
In retrospect, the punishment was probably well deserved. According to Frank Rose’s book “West of Eden: The End of Innocence at Apple Computer,” the clash of cultures at La Playa was evident from the start. And it all went downhill from there.
“When [former Apple senior vice president Jay Elliot] was eating dinner in the La Playa’s primly starched dining room and saw a dozen Macintosh people swimming nude in the lighted pool outside, he chuckled softly and went on with his meal oblivious to the polite strangling sounds of the blue-haired ladies all around.”
And then, of course, they all “ran down to the beach and lit a bonfire,” Rose writes, “which was really fun until the police came and made them put it out.”
But now, 30 years later, Apple and the renamed La Playa Carmel are back on speaking terms. According to SFGate.com, the resort’s new owners have decided to bury the hatchet, pronouncing that “all is forgiven” and will soon be welcoming Apple back for the first time since the early 80s.
“La Playa has a lot of legends having been constructed in 1905,” says General Manager Mary Crowe, “and for Apple to have been here in the very early days and at a very pivotal time in their history is exciting for us.”
And, about that whole bonfire-on-the-beach thing? Water under the bridge.
“We’re a little less formal today then they probably were in the 80s,” Crowe says. “We’re about making it fun. We’d help them light that fire on the beach.”
Take a look – this is where Steve Jobs and Co. hung out in their formative years.