John Pritzker, whose San Francisco investment company purchased the 144-room Carmel (Calif.) Valley Ranch resort and golf course earlier this month, told the Monterey County Herald that he plans to make the resort a place that “integrates fun and learning,” with activities such as guided nature walks and lessons in cooking and photography.
“The ranch hasn’t been as family-friendly as we want it to be,” said Pritzker. “We want to be much more open to the locals, with activities for those who don’t stay overnight.”
Pritzker’s Geolo Capital bought the 400-acre property from Florida-based LXR Luxury Resorts, a division of Blackstone Group of New York, which owned the site for about four years for $18.5 million. The resort currently has nearly 200 employees, and Pritzker said about 95 percent of them have been retained. Some new managers will be brought in, according to the County Herald report.
For LXR, Carmel Valley Ranch was a small piece of the parent company. But for Geolo Capital, “This is our first direct hospitality holding,” said Pritzker, whose grandfather, the late A.N. Pritzker, was one of the founders of the Hyatt hotel chain.
“We’re going to be hands-on,” said John Pritzker, who spent 25 years in operations at Hyatt. He has plans for an extensive program of renovations and improvements, including putting in a spa and new pools as well as an organic garden, which could produce fruits and vegetables used at the ranch.
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