COSTA MESA — Hotelier Donald Sodaro ran a successful Holiday Inn in the South Coast Metro area for 10 years before deciding that the market deserved more than just another chain hotel.
So he took a risk just as the economy started to decline. In 2008, he discontinued his contract with the franchise hotel chain and launched plans to reopen the facility as an upscale "boutique" hotel.
The Hotel Hanford, on Bristol Street near the southbound San Diego Freeway offramp, has 228 rooms and markets itself as an "unexpected boutique experience." It officially debuts this month.
"We knew it was going to be bad, but we had no idea how bad it would get," Sodaro said of launching the upscale brand during the economic downturn. "But, there's a very strong market here and it's responded very well."
While the hotel has had a soft opening since renovations were mostly completed in September, many were not aware of the remade hotel at first. Though reservations began picking up earlier this year and occupancy is full, thanks in part to the Orange County Fair.