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Simi Valley Exploring Luxury Accommodations

Simi Valley is one of the nation’s safest cities, but dignitaries who visit the Reagan Library are known to spend their nights elsewhere during trips. Why? According to Simi Valley public officials, it’s because the hotels in town aren’t suitable for the library’s most distinguished guests. “We have a gap in our hotel accommodations,” Simi Valley assistant city manager Brian Gabler said. Simi Valley is home to a Motel 6, a Holiday Inn Express, a Courtyard by Marriott, a Posada Royale Hotel, the Extended Stay Hotel and the Grand Vista Hotel, none of which have a four- or five-star rating. “It’s apparent to us that that level of hotel exists in the Conejo Valley area or in West L.A.,” said Gabler. As a result, he added, dignitaries all too often skip Simi Valley at night to lodge in Westlake Village’s Hyatt and Four Seasons hotels or the Bel Air Hotel in West Los Angeles. It’s a trend with which Duke Blackwood, executive director of the Reagan Library and Foundation, is quite familiar. “For those who require five-star hotels, there are very limited options,” he said. “A lot of times our V.I.P. guests stay in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills hotels.” To keep visiting dignitaries from straying at night, Simi Valley officials are in the initial stages of considering whether to bring more luxurious lodging to town. “We’re looking at if it’s feasible,” Gabler said. “Can the community support it? Are there enough visitors? Is there enough demand for that type of hotel? We’re really at the preliminary ‘does-it work’ phase.” The tentative goal is to bring a high-caliber hotel to Simi Valley within five years, according to Gabler. The ideal location for the hotel would be next to the Reagan Library. “It would be a way to get executives to stay in the community where they do business,” Gabler said. Blackwood said that the Reagan Foundation welcomes the idea. “The first conversation we had with the city [about this] was a year or two ago. We are supportive of that level of hotel coming to the community. We have a great partnership with the city, and with the addition of Air Force One Pavilion and the passing of the president, more people are coming to pay their respects and visit the campus. A hotel would help. It would be an important part of Simi Valley. I would certainly want and promote our guests to stay here locally.” Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce president Leigh Nixon bristles at the notion that the city is lacking in suitable lodging. “I think we have some pretty nice hotels,” she said. “I can’t imagine going to surrounding areas.” However, she, too, is receptive to the idea of bringing a five star hotel to Simi Valley. “That would be good. You can never have too many.” Gabler said that a wide range of factors will ultimately determine if Simi Valley becomes home to a five-star hotel. “The hotel market could fall apart,” he said, adding that, now, the timing is right. The overall economy will be an issue as well. Furthermore, “is there an investor we could bring in?” A five-star hotel wouldn’t solely serve distinguished visitors to the Reagan Library but also the entire City of Simi Valley, Gabler asserts. “It’s also an opportunity to create more of a full-service community for residents and businesses who are here,” he said. For example, at present, according to Nixon, no hotel in the city has banquet facilities that can accommodate more than a few hundred people. With a luxury hotel, that could change.

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