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The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe joins Marriott International brand

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is at the heart of the Rancho Santa Fe village.
(Karen Billing)

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe has recently become a member of the Tribute Portfolio brand of Marriott International. The change was announced on May 1 and made The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe the third California hotel in the Tribute Portfolio.

The Inn General Manager Jerome Strack said The Inn is thrilled to join the Tribute Portfolio and sees “tremendous value” in the opportunity to introduce Rancho Santa Fe to Marriott International’s guests without compromising the history of the hotel.

“The hotel can join that brand without having to change anything,” said Strack, noting they will not have to become a Sheraton or Marriott. “You keep your own identity.”

The outdoor patio of the Spa at the Inn.

“We’re the heart of the community, we’ve always been and we always will be,” Strack asserted. “That’s not going to change.”

Owners in the portfolio can maintain their hotel’s individuality while gaining access to the global operator’s sales and marketing and the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program — SPG guests can now earn points or redeem points staying at The Inn.

“With its independent spirit and vibrant social spaces, the hotel was a natural choice for Tribute Portfolio, and we look forward to bringing the brand’s core values of imagination, community and spontaneity to life amid the rich history of this community,” said Julius Robinson, vice president of Tribute Portfolio in a release.

The original La Morada (The Inn) opened back in 1923 and current owner JMI Realty is only the third owner in its long history. When JMI purchased The Inn in 2012, it launched a $12 million upgrade that included a complete renovation of the guest rooms, restaurant, main lobby, entrance area and pool deck, and added the day spa.

The Inn recently went through more “significant” improvements of the property, Strack said all of the buildings were re-painted and outfitted with an improved security system.

Within the next two months, the restaurant Morada will again be getting a new look. The refresh will bring the restaurant back to the Ranch’s roots with a more equestrian feel, shades of blue and provide a more intimate setting with new booth seating. New Executive Chef Casey Thompson of “Top Chef” fame, who joined The Inn late last year, has also infused the menu with new tastes while keeping some of the traditional Inn favorites.

Toward the end of the year, The Inn will also renovate its 21 Garden Cottages, built in 2003 and not touched by the renovations of 2012. Strack expects the Garden Cottages’ renovations to be complete by early 2018.

The Inn is gearing up to host Thrive in the Ranch events throughout the summer on the lawn, including a movie under the stars on June 2 and Pizza Picnics on the last Wednesday of every month June through August.

“We’re more than happy to partner with Thrive in the Ranch, the first event in March was a success,” said Strack of the first Pizza Picnic. “We want to continue the community atmosphere of the Village Vibe.”

The Inn has undergone several renovations and updates since 2012.

Starting in July, The Inn will also be the site of one of the Breeders’ Cup Painted Ponies, more than 20 full-sized fiberglass horse sculptures painted by local artists that will be distributed throughout the San Diego area. The horses are reproductions of the Torrie Horse used on the Breeders’ Cup trophies and will be auctioned off for charity.

“The Breeders’ Cup coming to Del Mar is going to bring huge cachet to the area,” Strack said of the Nov. 3-4 event.

The Inn owns a total of 35 buildings in the Rancho Santa Fe village, collectively known as The Residences at The Inn, and the residences in the various pods have historically been available for rent.

Currently, the residential pod known as The Grove is up for sale, listed at $4.7 million. The parcel, located on the southwest edge of the property along La Gracia Village, currently consists of two buildings representing three dwelling units.

JMI Realty has developed potential projects for each of the residential pods they own, designing distinct new housing products for the village such as step-down housing. Its plans for The Grove included creating five dwelling units, with four new and one existing building.

Due to some confusion in the submittal and approval process in 2014, last year the Rancho Santa Fe Association board recreated the submittal process for condo subdivisions for The Grove and La Gracia after it was discovered that the review of the project had not been processed as the Association’s documents require.

Both were approved but as the changes to the parcels would require Covenant modifications and approval from two-thirds of the neighbors, JMI chose not to proceed at that time.

“It has always been JMI Realty’s intent to sell the residences with the intent of keeping and expanding the linkage between the hotel and residential components by offering hotel services and amenities to our residents,” Strack said.


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