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Residence Inn Opens for Business

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and champagne precede check-in time for real guests at 3 p.m.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In full disclosure, my husband has a part-time job with Marriott International Inc., corporate owner of the Residence Inn chain.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Bodenhamer called it the most important business opening in recent San Juan Capistrano history.

He and others gathered Thursday at the Residence Inn to beam like proud parents – local politicians, business leaders and city staff. Eleven months ago to the day, a similar group came together for the .

This time, they came to cut a ribbon and check out the digs, one month ahead of schedule, as owner Bob Olson liked to remind people.

“I feel like I kind of birthed a baby,” said City Councilwoman Laura Freese, who campaigned for office three years ago, promising to bring a hotel to San Juan Capistrano. “This is a huge day for me. Huge with a capital ‘H.’ ”

Hotel General Manager Ketra Slayton said the inn already has $509,000 in group contracts and another $133,000 in “transient” room bookings. On Thursday night, the first time guests can check in, the hotel will see a 50 percent vacancy rate, very high by industry standards.

Slayton managed the  for years, and was more recently assigned to Chicago. How does the San Juan location compare to other hotel openings?

“Blown out of the water,” Slayton said, adding that the inn is filling a niche between luxury hotels on the coastline and economy motels in the area.

The Residence Inn brand features all suites, in this case 130 of them. The smallest room is a studio that has a full couch, large desk and kitchen. A complimentary breakfast is served every morning, and a snacking hour is free three nights a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The west side of the hotel overlooks the Costco and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. There’s a pool and a tennis court.

Olson said the decorations fall along three themes designed to reflect the  communities of San Juan and Capo Beach. The is the biggest influence.

“The San Juan Mission has so much character and charm and architectural beauty,” he said. “We wanted to bring that into this hotel.”

Artwork and furniture pay tribute to the equestrian roots of the town and fans of the beach.

“Being a surfer/cowboy, this is the best,” said John Fischle, .

Mayor Larry Kramer said he watched the construction’s progress while shopping at .

“All of us have ,” he said.

Olson often encounters surprise among those in the real estate biz when he talks of how quickly he was able to propose such a large-scale development and take it to completion.

“How did you get that through,” they ask, Olson said. But city staff put it on a fast track and shepherded him through the process.

On Thursday, the group toasted the hotel with champagne and toured a few third-floor rooms.

SJCNative February 10, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I was thinking the neighborhood next door to this "legacy" must be attractive to look at. Nothing better to look at when you look out the window of your room and see the roof of a tornado magnet. It is not even a nice park.
Kim February 10, 2012 at 11:04 PM
SJCNative..it will stop when the citizens of this grand City decide they have had enough of the smoke and mirrors and go to the voting poll with the intention of voting in City council members that support fiscal responsibility and not their own agendas and egos. Honestly, I" I feel like I kind of birthed a baby", she's pathatic and an embarrassment to the community.
anonymous1inoc February 11, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Thank God that this dreadful economy brought development to a screeching halt for the past few years, otherwise could you image what downtown SJC would have looked like today?; The integrity and character of San Juan would have been destroyed if the new and "Improved" master plan had taken off. The new Residence Inn gives everyone a huge - with a captal "H" - indication of SJC leaders' future vision for this community.
Hoteltravelia May 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Great !
Hoteltravelia May 15, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Great One ! Regards www.hoteltravelia.com

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