Advertisement

One of Cali’s best inns reopens following $100M flip

Exterior of the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.
The Inn is roundin' up guests once again.

High drama and neighborhood squabbles are part and parcel of living in a HOA community, and the San Diego County village of Rancho Santa Fe is no exception.

One of Southern California’s most exclusive ZIP codes, the drama unfolded like the plot of an old Hollywood classic after Montecito-based developer and designer to the stars Steve Hermann purchased the town’s most prized asset, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (from $785 per night), for a reported $43 Million in 2022.

Just one year later, he flipped the inn for $100 million to a real estate investment company in Chicago.

The charming cottages start at just under $800 a night. Jessica Sample
The charming cottages start at just under $800 a night. Jessica Sample
Cabana poolside in style at the renovated property. Jessica Sample
Cabana poolside in style at the renovated property. Jessica Sample

“Things were … fraught,” one local revealed about the relationship between Hermann and the Rancho Santa Fe covenant charged with overseeing the historic preservation of the hotel’s multi-year renovation.

Opened in 1924, the inn has served as the backdrop for well-heeled locals and Hollywood elites the likes of Bing Crosby and Charlie Chaplin, who would come to escape the hustle and bustle of 1920s Hollywood. Beloved for its plum location in the heart of the village’s leafy historic district, the 85-key Spanish colonial boutique has finally reemerged from its multi-phase overhaul.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the inn’s history,” said Vikram Sood, managing director at the property. “We have some exciting plans in the works, and I think people, both locals and visitors, will be pleased with what they will experience here on their next visit.”

Along with the glamorous latticework and excellent local fare found at its restaurant Lillian’s (don’t miss the baked Alaska), there’s never been a more pleasant place to sit and enjoy a digestif than by the fire of the plush new Bing’s Bar, just off the main lobby.

Most of the cottages boast fireplaces. Jessica Sample
Most of the cottages boast fireplaces. Jessica Sample
Or you can enjoy some flames al fresco at the fire pit. Jessica Sample
Or you can enjoy some flames al fresco at the fire pit. Jessica Sample

Enlisting the help of interior design whiz Nina Chiappa, vintage pieces and handcrafted furniture are woven throughout the lobby, library and sitting areas, along with custom Murano crystal chandeliers in the lobby and other found pieces sourced from across Eastern and Western Europe.

Each of the hotel’s wallpaper-clad cottages and bungalows comes outfitted with Dyson hairdryers and Le Labo bath products, along with the real piece de resistance: Toto commodes for the ultimate hands-free experience. Most cottages even have their own fireplaces and private patios.

In January, the Mila Moursi Spa opened as one of the last remaining pieces of the renovation project.

“Hermann left his mark, and flare for beautiful details, that is for certain,” Sood said.