CONCEPT: The 258-room property in the beachfront city of Ventura, CA, was converted to the Crowne Plaza brand following an 18-month renovation. The aim of the refurbishment was to create an image of “casual elegance,” said Douglas Wood, general manager of the hotel which was previously the Holiday Inn Ventura Beach Resort.
“It was a tired, old Holiday Inn that had not been renovated in 15 years. We wanted to create a more contemporary, upscale hotel,” explained Joel Miron, president/CEO of Hospitality Design Consultants. Miron and his design director, Carlos Castro, spearheaded the renovation and conversion of the property.
EXECUTION: One of the most dramatic changes at the property was the reconfiguration of the lobby with the elimination of the walls to create an open floor plan with a new front desk area and the Aqua Bar. The bar and lounge have floor-to-ceiling windows that afford ocean views and an outdoor patio. “We wanted to draw as many natural elements as we could into the property because of its beachfront location and at the same time expose the guest to the ocean,” Miron said.
The expanded lobby has a contemporary design and features warm earth tones of rust, chocolate, ochre and beige. The cream walls provide contrast for the ebony occasional tables and upholstered armchairs and there are oversized ebony wood framed mirrors along the north wall. Zebra wood and ceramic accessories add interest to the lobby as does a collection of hand-blown art glass displayed in a niche wall across from the front desk.
One of the biggest changes in the guestrooms was the replacement of the window wall with sliding glass doors, Miron noted. “The glass doors give a better view of the ocean,” he said. “We also used cool colors including light aqua and teal and blended them with gold.” The light aqua draperies work well with the gold carpet and cherry and maple case goods, he added.
The hotel’s restaurant was also redesigned; a business center was created; and fitness facilities and meeting rooms were expanded.
RESULT: The new lobby configuration allows for more enjoyment of the hotel’s location, Wood noted. “Our guests love it and repeat customers see a huge difference, it’s like day and night,” he said, adding the new expanded meeting space will be good for business. “We’re going after group business–– groups of 50 to 200 people–– and with the new space, we will be able to attract it.”