Montecito hotel undergoes updates and deferred maintenance before reopening next year
While closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is using its time without guests to repair and revamp the hotel.
According to Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts project development manager Bill Medel, these changes will largely consist of deferred maintenance and updates that will help the hotel prevent the spread of COVID-19 when it does reopen.
In a statement, Biltmore owner Ty Warner said his team has been working with Four Seasons since April to understand the implications COVID-19 has on the health and safety of Biltmore guests. Mr. Warner’s team expressed “a lack of confidence” with reopening protocols that Four Seasons put forth and will spend the remodel exploring more thorough protocols, including state-of-the-art decontamination technologies.
“I will not put the staff, our guests, or the hotel’s reputation at risk in a rush to reopen,” Mr. Warner said.
During the revamp, The Biltmore will get the boilers of its HVAC systems replaced, the decks and tiles of its bungalow cottages repaired, and cracks on its brick pathways fixed. It will also undergo landscape maintenance and get dead trees replaced.
According to the information provided by Mr. Medel, the hotel’s rooms will be upgraded with new furniture, fixtures, and equipment to address COVID-19. In addition to new paint, lighting, and ceiling fans, the rooms’ carpeting will be replaced with wood flooring and their draperies with wood shutters.
The hotel’s Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club will also be revamped with deferred maintenance repairs around its pool, main hallway, locker rooms, showers and steam room. Its fitness room will get new fitness equipment, ceiling fans, lightning, and painting, the Cabana new painting, carpets, awnings, and chaise lounges, and the Coral Café will receive new paint, heaters, ceiling fans, lighting, and speakers.
While some of Mr. Warner’s other properties such as San Ysidro Ranch are open, the hotelier said The Biltmore is a different kind of hotel that must remain closed until the best possible protocols are implemented.
“Unlike my San Ysidro Ranch property, The Biltmore is a high indoor-capacity hotel with added risk for person-to-person contact and aerosolized/droplet exposure that in my opinion has not yet been adequately mitigated,” he said.
In May, Mr. Warner and his team submitted a letter to Four Seasons describing its plans for equipping the hotel so it can safely accommodate guests. Under this plan, Mr. Warner is targeting a reopening for early or mid-2021.
While The Biltmore is closed, its employees remain on furlough.
Mr. Warner stated, “I hope that, together, we can endure these unprecedented times (like we did with the Montecito debris flow) and come back to a hotel experience that is better and safer than ever.”