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Business

Santa Barbara’s First Hyatt Replaces Hotel Mar Monte

80-year-old building gets an $8.9 million renovation that includes room makeovers

The 80-year-old Hotel Mar Monte has been transformed into the city’s first Hyatt — Hyatt Santa Barbara.

The historic hotel at 1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd. officially became Hyatt Santa Barbara on Wednesday, according to a news release. Hyatt acquired Hotel Mar Monte last year and began the $8.9 million renovation process in February, according to Hyatt Santa Barbara General Manager Barry Prescott.

“It was one of those laid-back hotels that was kind of forgotten, and when we went public it came into (Hyatt’s possession),” he said. “It sort of wasn’t up to par so we put $8.9 million to upgrading it.”

Hyatt has completed the makeover of 92 of its 171 rooms, lobby, landscaping, pool and added a new suite. The renovation of the remaining 79 rooms and function space will begin in October.

Santa Barbara Hotel Group managing partner Jeanette Webber said the renovations were needed.

“It’s such a perfect location, and the Mar Monte has been a very important hotel to the Santa Barbara shoreline for many years, but unfortunately it was let go and wasn’t renovated on a regular basis,” she said. “It seemed the owners were trying to save money and in the long run, guests don’t come back and it gets very run down because the revenue isn’t there. It’s a downward spiral.”

The hotel will maintain its Spanish architecture and rustic decor, Prescott added, and Hyatt will add modern conveniences.

All of the improved guest rooms will have a Hyatt Grand Bed, flat-screen HDTV and iHome Stereo. The facility will incorporate indoor/outdoor meeting areas into the 10,000-square-foot space. There will be a heated outdoor pool, fitness center, spa and business center. The hotel will also house the Bistro 1111 that boasts an oceanside view.

Other than the Mira Monte general manager, the entire staff has remained, Prescott said.

“I think it really will be a good fit. There’s always a benefit when hotels in Santa Barbara are refurbished because guests will come back,” said Webber, adding that Hyatt persevered through the economic recession through consistent customer service and quality facilities.

Renovations are expected to finish in March 2012. The new room rates will start at about $220 per night.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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