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Hotel's Mansion Caters to Execs in High-Tech High Style

September 03, 1997|NANCY RIVERA BROOKS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel has come up with an unusual way to make executives holding meetings at the famed Pasadena hotel feel at home by providing, well, a home, or at least a house, on hotel grounds.

The Ritz-Carlton Huntington has renovated a 1930s Spanish-style mansion on the edge of hotel property into an executive retreat that it's calling Clara Vista Cottage.

For $5,000 a night, corporations or individuals get four bedrooms, a 16-seat boardroom and lots of moneyed Old Pasadena-ish atmosphere hiding state-of-the-art electronics for videoconferencing, faxing or messaging via modem back to the home office and theater-quality audiovisual presentations.

There are yards and yards of marble and limestone and gleaming wood, a dramatic staircase, a wood-burning fireplace, living rooms with plush sofas and carpets, six bathrooms, a kitchen and wet bars, a baby grand piano, a terrace, a private garage and the 5,500-square-foot mansion's closet-size original elevator.

The Ritz-Carlton Huntington opened Clara Vista Cottage in June because of increasing requests to use the hotel's suites for corporate meetings, said Michelle Bolton, a spokeswoman for the hotel. The mansion allows executives to stay, meet and party in one location with the option of housing other employees in the hotel.

"It's like going to the CEO's house without actually having to use the CEO's house," Bolton said.

The hotel provides twice-daily room service, an on-site conference manager to handle all the pesky details of the day's activities, an on-call audiovisual technician and the ministrations of the hotel chef.

In November, the Ritz-Carlton Huntington will open a 12,000-square-foot spa with a fitness center, beauty salon and retail store in the Carriage House near the entrance to the 387-room hotel.

The hotel opened in 1907 as the Hotel Wentworth and was renamed the Huntington Hotel when railroad tycoon Henry Huntington bought it in 1911. The hotel was declared an earthquake hazard and closed in 1985. It was partly torn down and rebuilt, reopening in 1991.

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