A few days ago, Joelyn Caprine gathered up informational materials about the Hyatt Regency Valencia and an assortment of swag embellished with the hotel’s logo.
She packed everything into purple bags – again, adorned with the hotel’s name – and set out about Santa Clarita. The frosted sugar cookie was an especially nice touch. The real treat, though, wasn’t in the bag: It was Caprine’s message of change.
“We’re warm and welcoming now,” Caprine told The Signal. “We want people to want to come here, not come here because they have to.”
After years of stagnancy tarnished the image of what was once the Santa Clarita Valley’s go-to place for large-scale events, Hyatt officials have embarked on a massive renovation project to recharge one of the city’s most prominent venues, a $7 million-plus venture that is scheduled to culminate in October with a grand re-opening party.
The top-to-bottom facelift will not only refresh each of the 244 guest rooms and suites but is designed to renew the property’s commitment to the local business community through updates to the ballrooms and other public spaces.
The planned upgrades to the hotel’s 16,000-plus square feet of event space are due for completion in April. The enhancements include new wall coverings, ceilings and airwalls, plus augmented lighting.
“Our owners and management company are committed to providing the best in hospitality leadership for the property,” said Caprine, who joined the Hyatt as senior sales manager in February. “We are focused on the future and it is exciting. We are proud to be a part the City of Santa Clarita and look forward to becoming a stronger partner within our community.”
The Hyatt’s reputation had been one of dingy carpeting and rubber chicken for more than the past few years, and some organizations had elected to take their events to other venues for a fresh look.
The latest example: The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, for the first time, shifted its marquee annual event from the Hyatt on Town Center Drive to a temporary outdoor structure at then-TPC Valencia.
The change garnered a stinging critique of the Hyatt from Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who told the assembled crowd of some 400 business leaders: “I was used to going to the Hyatt. This is actually a far better venue. Sorry. It just is.”
The Hyatt’s refurbishing effort has already produced a victory. The SCV Marketing Group announced this week that it was moving its May 10 wine tasting event, a benefit for Operation Gratitude, from the former TPC Valencia to the Hyatt.
“We are excited to show off all of our improvements,” said Jennifer Peterson, the Hyatt’s interim event sales manager.
The Vines Restaurant & Bar, the Hyatt’s on-site eatery, also received an overhaul that includes new flooring, furniture and a “fresh, vibrant look” that appeals to locals and guests, said Noel Pavia, the hotel’s interim general manager.
The restaurant reopened earlier this month, though renovations are ongoing.
All guest rooms and suites are being updated with new carpeting, furniture, wall treatments, televisions, bathrooms and high-tech built-ins, according to Jerry Cumplido, the hotel’s chief engineer. The per-room tab is about $18,000.
“We want to be the first choice when it comes to luxury and lifestyle overnight stays as well as small to medium to large meetings and events in the community. A best choice for social events and weddings,” said Bob Geller, the hotel’s interim director of sales.
Echoing Caprine, Geller said, “We’re going to be warm and welcoming.”