San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Corporate Hotels Loosen Up, Go Boutique

Hospitality: Trendy makeovers continue at Valley-area lodgings. By Elliot Golan Monday, May 13, 2013
Modern: Room at the Anza in Calabasas, renovated this year.

Modern: Room at the Anza in Calabasas, renovated this year.

Boutiques have been all the rage in the hotel industry for more than a decade.

And in the greater San Fernando Valley, the boutique boom isn’t over. Independent, upscale hotels continue to open their doors, claiming to offer a more luxurious and unique experience than corporate-flagged lodgings.

Take the Anza, which is No. 40 on the Business Journal’s list of largest hotels ranked by number of rooms.

The Calabasas boutique, purchased last year by Los Angeles real estate investment firm Channel West Group, is set to open June 1 after a top-to-bottom renovation. The 122-room hotel was built in 1987 and was previously a middle-market Country Inn & Suites.

Steve McKenzie, a managing partner at Channel West, said the firm invested more than $6 million in the revamp.

“We tore out everything,” he said. “We wanted something more imaginative than a conventional corporate setup.”

As part of the renovations, the Anza will feature a different interior decor, including all-new furniture in each room, and an upgraded pool, complete with new cabanas and fire pit. The hotel is also going pet friendly with some rooms set aside for guests with animals. There will be an outdoor pet water station and walking area.

Room rates reflect the money invested. While some rooms will go for just $100, the three-bedroom suite, which has a full living room and kitchen, has a rate of $300 a night. That’s a big change from its days as a Country Inn, where a room could be had for less than $100.

In Thousand Oaks, the Palm Garden Hotel has recently undergone a major renovation as well.

Real estate investment firm Selvin Properties bought the 150-room hotel last year. The Westlake Village company put more than $2 million into turning around the aging property, which ranks No. 25 on the list.

The hotel replaced an out-of-date restaurant with a trendy gastro pub called Brendan’s Irish Pub, changed all the room carpets and installed marble in the lobby, said Harry Selvin, the company’s principal.

The Palm Garden also has rooms set aside for those traveling with pets, and outside it installed a chess set by the pool that features 12-foot-tall pieces. Room rates start at about $100 and can hit almost $300 for a night in the Hollywood Suite, which has two bedrooms and an entertainment room that Selvin said includes a pool table once owned by George Burns.

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