2017-09-01 / Business

Renovations underway at 2 hotels

One to be a Marriott, the other a Holiday Inn
By Ian Bradley
Special to the Acorn


ROOM SERVICE—The Central Inn and Suites, above, on Central Avenue is undergoing a $5-million renovation that will bring a Marriott-brand hotel to the western side of the city. The Camarillo Executive Inn and Suites—less than a half-mile away on Del Norte Road—is also undergoing a remodel in preparation for being rebranded as a Holiday Inn and Suites. 
IAN BRADLEY/Acorn Newspapers ROOM SERVICE—The Central Inn and Suites, above, on Central Avenue is undergoing a $5-million renovation that will bring a Marriott-brand hotel to the western side of the city. The Camarillo Executive Inn and Suites—less than a half-mile away on Del Norte Road—is also undergoing a remodel in preparation for being rebranded as a Holiday Inn and Suites. IAN BRADLEY/Acorn Newspapers The longtime Holiday Inn Express on Central Avenue is in the midst of a $5-million renovation that’ll bring a Marriott-brand hotel to the western side of the city.

It’s one of two hotels on the city’s west side under construction.

Suresh Jhunjhnuwala, 60, bought the 105-room hotel at 4444 Central Ave. in 2004. It’s the largest renovation to the property since it was built in the 1980s.

“Once it’s ready, I feel like we’ll be a market leader in the area,” Jhunjhnuwala said. “It’s a good project, and the city is happy we’ll be bringing more revenue to Camarillo.”

His Irvine-based company Plantation Bay Hotels bought it as a Holiday Inn Express 13 years ago and at the time renewed the franchise agreement through 2016.

Jhunjhnuwala said he bought in Ventura County because it was more affordable than hotels in Orange County. What’s more, he said, he liked that the pool was visible from the lobby, a relatively unique feature among hotels.

He planned to reopen the property under a new name when the contract expired.

Jhunjhnuwala signed a deal with Marriott Hotels in 2014 to turn the property into a Fairfield Inn & Suites, one of its brands. He cited the multinational company’s strong reputation as a deciding factor in changing hotel brands.

Marriott has stylistic guidelines franchisees must follow, which required Jhunjhnuwala to invest in the remodel.

As Marriott and the city signed off on the renovation plans, Jhunjhnuwala’s contract with Holiday Inn expired, leading him to operate the site as an independent hotel.

He changed the hotel’s name to Central Inn and Suites in April 2016 and operated under that name for less than a year while the plans awaited approval.

“( The city) wanted it to have a certain look, a heritage design,” Jhunjhnuwala said. “Nothing too modern. They wanted something sort of Spanish colonial, in keeping with Camarillo’s architecture.”

The renovations began in February.

Joe Vacca, head of Camarillo’s community development department, said the city is looking forward to the final product.

“It’s going to be great for the city,” he said. “It’s going to look like a whole new hotel, and that will encourage people to stay there.”

Construction is expected to last through the year, but Jhunjhnuwala said it might take longer depending on any unforeseen circumstances during the remodel.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed. We’re gutting the whole place, and you don’t know what you’ll find once you start tearing it down,” he said.

But Camarillo won’t be without the Holiday Inn brand.

The 97-room Camarillo Executive Inn and Suites—less than a half-mile west of Central Inn and Suites on Del Norte Road— is undergoing a remodel and will be rebranded as a Holiday Inn and Suites.

Omar Benson, who has worked at the hotel’s front desk for three years, said despite the construction, business has been on the upswing.

He said the remodel, which started in February, is scheduled to be completed by December.

The exterior will remain the same, as construction is limited to the guest rooms. The work is being done floor-by-floor to allow for guests.

“There have been complaints about the noise, but we’re seeing a higher demand for rooms,” Benson said. “Prices have gone up. This time of year is always good for us because the county fair brings in business.”

Heritage Hotel Group, the Northern California-based company which manages the Camarillo Executive Inn and Suites, oversees 32 other properties throughout California, according to its website.

Calls made to Vishal Mirpuri, Heritage Hotel Group’s director, were not returned as of press time.

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