So What’s The Trend With Our Local Hotels?

Back on track and up up and away
BY: CONNIE HILTON

14 months ago we took a bad hit from hurricane Odile. Cabo came through it pretty bedraggled, but San Jose was simply devastated. Every hotel along the ocean suffered severe damage, causing the entire town to suffer terribly. Many restaurants didn’t make it, and even the art district which is inland and pretty safe, suffered because there were no tourists in San Jose last winter.

Now all but three of the hotels are back on line, they’re already nearly filled to capacity, and it shows in town, with the streets clogged with tourists. Downtown San Jose has more than a dozen new restaurants, some ice cream shops, taco shops, gourmet coffee houses, new galleries, and many new trinket shops. Everyone is not just hopeful, but already happy with business.

Adding to the excitement is what is hopefully a new trend set by the rebuilt Hilton on the corridor. It reopened not as an all inclusive, but features the European plan. When people don’t pay for all their meals and drinks upfront, they are more inclined to go into town to eat. That of course includes spending money on taxis, car rentals, and shopping. Even more vital to our economy is they get to know us and what’s not to like? They fall in love and start looking at real estate. If they buy here, then they’re going to open a bank account and bring in cash, buy furniture for their new home, maybe buy a car to keep here, and above all, return more frequently. 

The trend towards all inclusive that got a foot hold here about 10 years ago was almost as devastating as the worst hurricane, because all the money spent here stays in the hotel, they are nearly all owned by rich Mexicans from the mainland, and all that money gets shipped out of our town. (Yes, even the hotels that sound American, like the Hilton and Sheraton, are owned by Mexicans. They just partner with the big names for the name identification and reservation system). Restaurants and other shops in town just didn’t stand a chance with this system so prevalent.

But with the Hilton going the other way now, possibly the pendulum is swinging back, and our precious tourists are coming out of the resorts and looking around.

Another good trend is all the building that’s going on the corridor. These new hotels and residential developments are Villa Valencia, LeBlanc, Solaz, Maravilla, Vievage, and the Park Hyatt.

Out on the other side of San Jose the JW Marriott is coming along and looks almost as big as the next door Secrets that just opened.