Almanac

News - April 7, 2010

Rosewood hotel celebrates one year in business

by Sean Howell

A year since the Rosewood Sand Hill resort opened in Menlo Park, things couldn't be better, according to Managing Director Mike Casey.

Mr. Casey's interview with The Almanac was brief, but it was long on superlatives. "This has been the fastest year of my hotel life," he said. "It's been such a sensational success that every month is busier than the one before."

He declined to provide many specific details, but did say that hotel occupancy rates have improved each month since it opened. The resort began with 250 employees, and now boasts 350, he said.

While the city of Menlo Park does not disclose tax revenues generated by specific businesses, its hotel tax receipts increased by $140,000 in the first quarter after Rosewood opened, and by $256,000 in the third quarter.

As a point of reference, the latter number is more than the downtown area generated in sales tax in the same quarter.

A consultant hired by the city had estimated the hotel would produce $1.1 million in tax revenue in its first year of operation.

"It's met all of our expectations, and then some," Mr. Casey said, acknowledging that those expectations were informed by the regional and global economic picture.

The biggest surprise has been the hotel's ability to tap the "leisure" market, according to Mr. Casey. He quoted from a thank-you letter from an Atherton family that had just come across his desk. The family spent a weekend at the resort, saying they felt as if they had visited a faraway land.

"We have a product that is very accessible, people can get away without investing the time required to go elsewhere," he said. "You literally feel like you've gone somewhere, with very little time and effort required.

"We're delighted to be here, and we're looking forward to year two."

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