Is it stupid to buy a rundown circa 1950’s lodge with 31 units in beautiful Carmel Valley just minutes away from the famed Monterey Peninsula, a year around tourist destination, in California? When we asked ourselves that question, we all answered “Not stupid at all, the location is fantastic, what can go wrong?”
Fast forward just 15 months and we’re still sane but, we are completely exhausted, our piggy bank has a slow leak, not unlike the one we had somewhere in our water line, and the local authorities were giddy with glee in finding someone new to torture and hold hostage for the less than stellar, un-permitted, and un-disclosed improvements made by previous owners, none of which were health and safety violations should you be wondering.
On our first visit to this gem of a property for sale, the sun was shining, we’d just passed through fog just 8 short miles west in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and there were rainbows, butterflies, and birds & bees, honest! We were like new parents seeing their newborn for the first time. Every flaw, every imperfection, and every landmine, was completely hidden through our rose-colored glasses. We saw only the quaint, charming buildings, how they were layed out on the slightly sloping 3 acres, the beautiful old Carmel Stone and old Adobe walls, and the treasure trove of mature, unusual trees, plants and flowers. Ok, the flowers were mostly dead and the Ivy had taken over, but we could fix all that easily enough. Best of all this lodge is only a 5-minute walk to Carmel Valley Village with fabulous restaurants, art galleries, and 29 wine tasting rooms of some of California’s most prestigious wineries.
We took ownership on a beautiful, 81 degrees, Thursday morning in late June, 2018. On Friday, we had a full-house and our cash register was ringing. We greeted our guests with smiles, showed them to their rooms, and we felt like the luckiest family in the world. Saturday morning came with more sunshine, butterflies and bees and we all looked like we were auditioning for a toothpaste commercial.
At 10am we got a call from a guest who said they had no water. 1 minute later, a neighbor popped his head in to say there was a geyser in front of the Lodge and it was shooting 25 feet into the air. The room phones began ringing and the smiles were wiped right off our faces when we realized we had a water main break. And oh yes, it was on our side of the meter. We, spent the rest of the weekend apologizing and refunding.
We’ve had a few, no, many more just as dramatic mishaps over the past 15 months associated with aged infrastructure, and as we repaired and rebuilt, we came to believe that the Lodge, like a petulant abandoned child, was testing us and our resolve to continue loving it and healing its many old wounds. We’ve met each and every temper tantrum with patience, grace, dignity, lots of bad words, and money. We’ve also made tremendous improvements to those things a guest can actually see and experience as well. It’s the Guest Experience improvements that we’re focusing on now, since we’re pretty certain that the Lodge is finally trusting us and responding to our commitment to its full restoration.
On October 26, we will be inaugurating our Sans Souci Event Center in a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 12:45pm. It’s our dream the Sans Souci will host the parties, celebrations, reunions, get-togethers, and meetings of your dreams. Our new name, Sans Souci, means carefree, without care or concern. Join us on the 26th or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your next carefree party or reunion.