Changes Ahead at Capitola Hotel

Santa Cruz Sentinel
09/06/15

Changes Ahead at Capitola Hotel
By Jondi Gumz

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/20150906/changes-ahead-at-capitola-hotel

A new owner is bringing Southern hospitality to the Capitola Hotel and contemplating how to update the 10-room lodging tucked into the beachfront village at 210 Esplanade.

“I get asked all the time, ‘Do you know where it is?’” said Corrie Sid, 45, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama and a mother of two, who took over at the end of July.

The hotel was built in 1946.

Sid’s goal is to “make the hotel what we think it should be.”

She’s already begun talks with designers about the pineapple logo and with architects at Fuse down the street about potential room reconfigurations, trying to align everything for the hotel’s success.

“She has so much energy,” said Wendy Melrose of Lina’s Floral, impressed she is “a woman in business trying to do it all,” wearing a matching ensemble and full makeup and sharing her ideas to upscale the property.

“She introduced herself to all her neighbors,” Melrose said. “A lot of times, people don’t do that any more.”

Sid put her psychology major to work in the corporate world in the San Francisco Bay Area, training employees, improving business practices, enhancing the customer experience and boosting revenues.

When the hotel opportunity arose, she welcomed the chance to switch gears but she faced competition from another buyer.

She wrote the seller acknowledging she hadn’t worked in the hotel industry but pointed out she had a wealth of experience from managing long-term rentals and from entertaining at home in Palo Alto.

She and her husband, tech executive Jeffrey Sid, have two children, Zoe, 14, and Bry, 12, and she’s PTA president at Jordan Middle School but in six years, she said, they will be empty nesters.

The hotel purchase closed at the end of July for $2.8 million, about $280,000 per room, in line with other “high end” boutique hotels, according to Alan X. Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the industry.

Since then, Sid has made the drive to Capitola after her children are in school and then returning before they get home.

“We have learned when to come,” she said, referring to Highway 17 traffic.

She switched from peppermints in the rooms to taffy from Carousel Taffy in the Mercantile across the street.

She talked to folks at Armida Winery around the corner about a wine service for guests.

She joined the Capitola Village and Wharf Improvement Association and hopes to host gatherings at the hotel.

“My whole thing is local,” she said.

Her new computer system lets her log in at night and make rate changes if needed to attract more guests.

“August was really, really busy,” she said. “Now is my challenge, to establish the draw for the winter.”

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