According to two newspaper reports, The Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa, the United States' first LEED Gold hotel, will become a Doubletree hotel by the end of the year. The current owner of the hotel in American Canyon, Calif., is Butterfly Effect Hotels LLC. The transition to a branded hotel is an interesting turn of events for the property that was the vision of Wen-I Chang, who also launched the Gaia at Anderson hotel in Anderson, Calif. I had an opportunity to speak with Wen a number of times several years ago and he always emphasized how happy he was not to have a connection to a brand. As the economy changes, so too can attitudes toward branding.
According to a report in the Napa Valley Register, the ownership group is expected to raise rates at the 132-room hotel by $15 to $20 a night. The hotel is currently running a 65 percent occupancy. The hotel, managed by Marin Management Inc. of Sausalito, Calif., will maintain its green features during the transition. The hotel has a solar photovoltaic system on its roof and includes touches such as chemical-free landscaping, 100 percent recycled tile, a guest van that uses alternative fuel, waterless urinals, and plates on guestroom doors that include the name of a wild animal, bird or flower. Inside the lobby is a real-time display of how much energy the hotel is using and saving.
Frank Huang, a partner in Butterfly Effect Hotels, expects the Doubletree branding to bring in 25 percent more business.