HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA—The resurgence of hoteldevelopment indicates that people are traveling again, andthey want their amenities, Bob Olson, founder and CEO of R.D. OlsonDevelopment tells As reported last week, PacificHospitality Group and R.D. Olson havebroken ground on Paséa Hotel & Spa, aneight-story, 250-room luxury hotel to beintegrated with the 191,000-square-foot PacificCity retail andentertainment center also under development hereby DJM Capital Partners. We caught up with Olsonto discuss the new hotel, what makes it special and what'shappening in the hotel development arena.

| What makes Paséa Hotel& Spa unique?


Olson: It's an oceanfront hotel, andit's one of the last remaining oceanfront sites in California. It'salso on the most famous surf beach in the US and possibly in theworld. It will have tremendous ocean views—the rooms are 100% oceanview, looking up and down the coast and straight out. It's really alifestyle boutique hotel. I know that term is probably overused andquestionable here since it's a 250-room hotel, but it feels likeyou're truly at the beach. It's a beach atmosphere with a surfculture—not a dominant surf culture, but a playful one.


The oceanfront meeting rooms will be used for a multitude ofpurposes. One will be a sports bar and another will be a clubatmosphere for after the main ballroom breaks up for a nighttimelounge-club event, a private-party music event or a celebrity-chefdinner. All the meeting rooms have fire pits out on the verandawith an ocean backdrop. It's an unbelievably beautiful spot, unlikeany other meeting room space available.


The restaurant will be a single-floor space designed in New Yorkmeat-packing-district style, but we're going to bring it to humanscale, so the entry exterior will carry that theme, but as you cometo the restaurant from the outside, it appears as its own building.It will have its own chef, food-and-beverage and it will be its ownstand-alone restaurant. We're breaking the idea that the restaurantis connected to the hotel. It will have its own name that's uniqueand celebrates the theme. There will also be an incredible rooftopbar and lounge. Room service and banquet service will be handledform a separate kitchen, so the creativity can really flowregarding the food for our guests and the public.

| This is your first joint venture withPacific Hospitality Group. How did that come about, and how is itworking out?


Olson: We'd always talked about doingsomething together. About 15 years ago, Tim Buschand I were close to doing a joint venture, but it didn't cometogether. When this opportunity came up, given the location and theunique opportunity, we felt it was important to have a group thatcould think outside the box, be creative and deliver a guestexperience unlike any other in Southern California. PHG has a goodtrack record, and they're ramping up. They have good people in theorganization, they've honed their skill set and proven themselvesable to go with an unbranded hotel and succeed customers'expectations. It's the perfect project.

| Hotel development in Orange County ishot right now. What's next for this market?


Olson: We're seeing, not just inOrange County, but in the whole industry, that there's more focuson customization and what the guest really needs and wants. When wedevelop hotels, we try to anticipate what they want that they maynot be telling us. This is the challenge of being a hoteldeveloper: to be the most unique lodging choice that delivers whatthey want.


The consumer is done being in a recession. We read so manystudies about what Millennials want, but that's really what alltravelers want. I think it's a recognition of design trends. Welook at how we are enabling our customers technologically via smartTVs and heavy bandwidth on our WiFi. They want what's current todaythat's also timeless. For example, this New Yorkmeat-packing-district architecture is 150 years old. It's goingback to what is timeless, but it gives us a sense ofcreativity.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.