The Crowd: Peeping out the newly re-opened Hotel Hanford

August 26, 2011

Donald Sodaro, one of Newport Beach's leading community philanthropists, revealed a most unique and creative side of his multi-faceted personality at the re-opening of The Hotel Hanford, Costa Mesa.

Sodaro and his wife DeeDee, of Lido Isle, have held a visible community profile for their involvement with Chapman University and organizations such as the Orange County Business Committee for the Arts. Along with partner William Caine, Sodaro created The Hotel Hanford, a high concept property that opened Wednesday evening, proving to be a theatrical triumph with a most unique marketing outreach.

Credit also belongs to Andre Filip, chief executive of ELA Advertising, hired by Sodaro and Caine to turn up the volume on what might have been a typical cocktail party-hotel opening. Instead, the event was pure adventure.


When guests arrived at the Bristol Street complex, notes were slipped into hands by unobtrusive models in black cocktail dresses, mingling in the crowd. Sarah Veitch, a Newport Beach resident and Irvine Co. staffer on hand for the opening, unfolded her note.

It read: "For an unexpected experience please come up to room 431."

Reluctantly, Miss Veitch headed for 431, arriving to discover that the door was ajar. Joining other guests that had been given a similar note, Veitch entered room 431 and discovered a beautiful young woman lying across a hotel bed attired in a fluffy white robe.

Beside her on the bed were two designer dresses and an assortment of high-end bags from luxury fashion outlets such as Versace, Tiffany & Co. and Yves St. Laurent, all of which she supposedly had collected during her shopping spree at South Coast Plaza, which neighbors The Hotel Hanford.

Ignoring the arriving group of voyeurs as if they were invisible, the woman in the white fluffy robe began carrying on a conversation with someone in the hotel room's bath which turned out to be a handsome male model in the shower. Veitch and the other guests were so shocked, they were too embarrassed to look and see if the man was totally naked in the shower.

It was all part of the creative and dramatic staging of The Hotel Hanford opening night. But that wasn't all. Down the hall in room 429, which was a suite, a family was playing Monopoly on the floor. Mom and Dad with children had ordered room service, and they were dining while trying to buy Park Place and escape the Monopoly jail.

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