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  • Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

    Boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

    Hotel Menage, a former Holiday Inn, is considered the first specialty lodging in Anaheim. Is the family-oriented destination ready for an inn that targets guests looking for a taste of the nightclub

    By Kimi Yoshino, Los Angeles Times - July 31, 2007

    The wall of huge red lava lamps lining the driveway of Anaheim's new Hotel Menage send a clear message: This is not your father's Disneyland hotel.

    Anywhere else and the Menage might not make waves. But this is Anaheim, land of the cram-the-kids-in-the-room motor inn and convention-friendly, cookie-cutter chains.

    The Disneyland resort area has nearly 21,000 hotel rooms, but Hotel Menage is widely considered its first boutique property.

    "It's such a punch when you're looking off [the street]," said hotel managing partner Richard Ham. "Before people even look at the entrance, they say, 'Oh my goodness.'"

    The lobby could have been snatched from a W, with white flowing drapes, lounge-style couches and cool, ambient music. A red room -- which doubles as an office center -- is filled with red leather couches, another red lava lamp and lush, red curtains. Rooms are sleek, with concrete floors, leather headboards and 41-inch plasma-screen televisions. Even the conference rooms are different: one is Zen-inspired, another is brightly colored with oversize bean-bag chairs.

    "These new hotels are popping up everywhere," said hospitality consultant David Brudney. "Why should Anaheim be any different?"

    All over the country, hotel developers are opening boutique hotels -- typically smaller, hipper properties that cater to Generation X, Generation Y or young baby boomers. Starwood is debuting its newest brand, Aloft, next year, trying to capture a younger customer. Even Marriott, the nation's largest hotel chain, is jumping into the mix, announcing a recent partnership with hotelier Ian Schrager, who pioneered the boutique hotel concept, to launch a new brand.

    The number of boutique hotel rooms in the U.S. has grown more than 15.3% since 2001, according to Tennessee-based Smith Travel Research.

    Bruce Baltin, senior vice president of Los Angeles-based PKF Consulting, said that just as mass-market stores such as Target are signing designers in an effort to be more trendy, the boutique hotel movement reflects "a cultural need for style."

    Ham and partner Christopher Keller have a long history with hotels. Their company, Casa Resorts, bought the 41-room La Casa del Camino in Laguna Beach in 2002. This fall, they expect to complete the purchase of their third property, Laguna Beach Inn.

    Ham and Keller worked for years for other hotel companies, but decided they needed to form their own company if they wanted to grow.

    "It was time to be an entrepreneur, really, time to make money on our own," Ham said.

    They settled on Laguna Beach, deciding that beach tourism is nearly recession-proof. The hit MTV show "Laguna Beach" and the luxury Montage Resort have also helped drive tourists into the area, Ham said.

    Both worked for years at the Anaheim Hilton. After studying the market, they realized they could fill a niche in Anaheim, too: "Not only is there a huge amount of leisure business, the conventioneers that are actually attending meetings in the city are looking for this."

    They found the 248-room Hotel Menage, a former Holiday Inn, in a prime spot -- visible off the Santa Ana Freeway and on Harbor Boulevard, the same street that fronts Disneyland. They paid $22 million for the property and invested another $5 million in renovations, stripping the rooms, replacing all the furniture and fixtures and completely redoing the lobby and restaurant. Rates start at $129 a night and Ham is hoping to net between $10 and $12 million in sales the first year in operation. The company employs 130 people at each of its hotels.

    They also renovated the one-acre pool area, adding a palapa bar, 42 speakers and upgraded lounge furniture. They rented the pool to a local promoter, who recently held a party reminiscent of the Las Vegas poolside bashes that have brought a nightclub atmosphere into the sunlight.

    "If you like the club environment, you'll like the hotel," Ham said, noting that the hotel has a contract with Anaheim's House of Blues to put up artists in town for gigs.

    "The artists that play there want this," Ham said. "They don't care about points and miles."

    Still, this is Anaheim; its tourist base is families and conventioneers. "I've been in this city for a long time," Ham said. "I do think it's ready. The response that I've been getting is that it's more than ready."

    Although the hotel has been open for business during renovation, it held its grand opening in June. Ham has been pounding the pavement in Las Vegas and Phoenix -- the cities where most Anaheim tourists come from -- to introduce the properties to travel agents and media.

    Riverside resident Michael Buchner, 41, stayed at the hotel over Memorial Day weekend with his wife, a quick getaway from their four teenage daughters. He liked it so much that he's recommended the hotel and restaurant to his friends and his brother, who spent the Fourth of July holiday there. He may even book one of the themed conference rooms for a business meeting.

    "I really feel like I was out of town, instead of in Anaheim of all places," Buchner said. "Being in Anaheim is not my idea of getting away. But I really feel like I was in San Diego or even Santa Barbara or San Francisco."

    Although Buchner said he saw children on the property -- and considers it family-friendly -- he said the hotel and pool were not overrun with kids as they can be at Disney's hotels or some properties closer to the park.

    Ham said he and his partner named the property Hotel Menage because it means "together," and strived to make the public areas fun yet comfortable, where people could socialize.

    "It's no longer about how old you are," Ham said. "It's about how old you feel."

  • #2
    Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

    /\
    Anybody stayed there yet? Trip report?

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    • #3
      Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

      That hotel did the name change last year - and it sure looks nice. It's right on the corner where you turn to go towards the Mickey and Friends garage. I really hate the name, however.

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      • #4
        Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

        Wow, I'd really like to see some pictures. It sounds very out of character compared to the rest of the Harbor Blvd and surrounding area hotels.

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        • #5
          Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

          /\
          Why do you hate the name? You can bring two dates.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

            www.hotelmenage.com Not many pics at their "website"...
            Permanecer sentado por favor...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

              Originally posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
              /\
              Why do you hate the name? You can bring two dates.
              Ha ha. Well, for a family hotel, the word "menage" has certain implications probably lost on most toddlers. But in the french, "menage" just means a collection of people living together - which would be more suitable to a long term residence hotel, like the monthly units that consultants and out of state contractors and engineers are so fond of. They should have just gone with the wild animal connection and called it "Menagerie".

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                Hmmmm, intriguing. K'ya and the Mist pool bar especially...
                Originally posted by All4dISNEY
                Words hurt.

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                • #9
                  Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                  Sounds cheap at $129/night.

                  But it does say, "starting at...".

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                  • #10
                    Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                    Seems like the reviews are mixed..

                    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...alifornia.html

                    Heck, the Motel 6 is rated higher than Hotel Menage....
                    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

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                    • #11
                      Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                      Interesting mix of reviews. It looks like they either love it or hate it.

                      I think they need another luxury hotel independent of what is offered directly on the DLR. Something to drive some of the tourist dollars away from the beach resorts. But what do I know?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                        Anyone that rates Menage lower than Motel 6 has stock in Motel 6 or is absolutly insane. This is one of the top 2 or 3 hotels in the area.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                          I visited when a friend stayed there earlier this year. The lobby and pool area are AWESOME as described in the official text. However, the rooms hadn't been touched one bit from the Holiday Inn 90's look. IOW, horrid. If in fact they have refurbished them since, then it's a great spot. The restaurant in the lobby was empty but looked great.
                          Please consider the environment before printing useless emails

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Trendy boutique hotel opens near Disneyland

                            Originally posted by symbolic View Post
                            Anyone that rates Menage lower than Motel 6 has stock in Motel 6 or is absolutly insane. This is one of the top 2 or 3 hotels in the area.
                            I wonder if that place will be crazy this weekend.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              http://www.myspace.com/misscarolinec

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