The Casa Madrona Hotel has been through a lot of ups and downs over the last few years. The old owners guided a successful expansion into a neighboring building and the resulting remodel, luring a top restaurateur to anchor the ground floor. Like so many other entrepreneurs they went bankrupt when the econiomy nosedived and the hotel was sold off in February, 2010.
The new owners had disputes with key partners, and it took years for the aging Victorian wing to get through several waves of remodels that the hotel needed to remain competitive.
A Major Remodel
It's understandable that the work was necessary. In the case of Casa Madrona, "Victorian" literally means that Queen Victoria was on the throne of England when it was built. The Mansion was built in 1885 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its first role in Sausalito was as the home of William Barrett, an executive with the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company.
After the biggest remodel yet, the modern version of the old house is an 11-room Boutique-Hotel-within-a-Boutique Hotel they call "The Mansion," and features the 5,000 square-foot Alexandrite Suite (shown in the video above) and 1,700 square feet of meeting and event space.
This remodel also modernized the hotel's seven 19th century upper hillside cottages, which were both architectural highlights and visitor disappointments of the hotel in recent years. They remain a trek to get to, but have now been restored to beautiful and modern condition.
Hotel guests can rent the entire Mansion, or a subset of its rooms and meeting space. A secret door hides a stairway and is disguised as a mirrored wall, and connects the two main floors of the mansion.
Well, I guess it was secret until they told us all about it in the press release!
Well-heeled travelers can also add options such as chartering a yacht, access to a Mercedes limo with driver and a separate concierge and staff who attend solely to guests of the Mansion. The full Mansion package can cost you as little as $25,000 per night and can accomodate up to 24 people.
Although these big numbers are being used to drum up publicity for the hotel, the practical reality is that these kinds of facilities are not typically booked by rap stars, wandering sheiks and partying billionaires. They're most often rented by companies for training and team-building events, for new product introductions and for client receptions during San Francisco conventions.
Which explains why the Alexandrite Suite has been the centerpiece of the hotel's promotion of the new space. The suite has 3,500 square feet of indoor space, a 1,500 square foot outdoor deck, fold-away floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a a nine-panel media wall where marketing messages — or Giants games — can be displayed. This formula is ideal for the corporate events that will be the backbone of this part of the hotel.
Of course, now that I've written about how these suites are mostly used for business events, Beyonce and Jay-Z will show up tomorrow, to be followed by Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears and Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie in successive weeks!