Travel | July 24, 2020 9:59 am

Five California Hotels That Will Let You Buy Out the Whole Property

Hell is other hotel guests, especially now

The pool at the Willows Palm Springs
The pool at the Willows Palm Springs
The Willows

In practice, hotel buyouts aren’t a newfangled response to a fast-changing world — just ask your richest friends, the ones who bought out the Amantaka for their destination wedding in Laos. Anyone with the cash can buy out a hotel, pandemic or not.

The difference is that the bar is likely lower than ever before. Buyouts are no longer the province of those about to be married or others celebrating a singular milestone, who want to be surrounded by their invitees and no one else — instead, they’re the only way to approximate what many perceive as a baseline level of personal safety during an exceptional public health crisis, away from home. (Disclaimer: Like literally all travel writers I know, your correspondent is staying home this year, even if it’s getting claustrophobic.) 

Here, a selection of the California hotels offering buyouts. We’d wager, though, that given the shambolic state of the travel industry, most independently owned establishments — and particularly those with under, say, a half-dozen rooms, like your favorite bed-and-breakfast — will be open to any creative strategy if it means staying afloat. Give that B&B you’ve had your eye on a call — we bet they’ll be amenable. 

SingleThread, Healdsburg


Rooms: 5
Features: The best hotel dining in … everywhere? The entire world? Take it from Michelin: “Exquisite barely begins to describe a meal at this Healdsburg jewel.” 
Singularly good deed: The kitchen has been producing 200 meals a day for Sonoma’s vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly, since the beginning of shelter-in-place.
What you would have been doing in February: In fact, you’d probably just be eating and relaxing — so little change here.

The Duchamp, Sonoma


Rooms: 6
Features: 50-foot pool
Possibly extraneous feature: “We feature a private oversize guest parking lot ensuring social distancing.”
What you would have been doing in February: Running between wine tastings across Sonoma and getting a mud bath at Dr. Wilkinson’s.

The Mansion at Casa Madrona, Sausalito


Rooms: 11
Features: Non-controversial opinion: Casa Madrona has the best staff of any hotel in California.
Viable option: Stay by yourself in the super-luxe, 600-square-foot Mansion Suite and roam the other 10 rooms like a malcontented billionaire.
What you would have been doing in February: Exploring Sausalito’s extremely walkable downtown; driving over to the Marin Headlands for hikes above the Pacific coastline.

Photo courtesy of The Mansion at Casa Madrona

The Willows Historic Inn, Palm Springs


Rooms: 17
Features: A break from Palm Springs’ non-stop midcentury vibe, with a gorgeous, Old World-leaning aesthetic. 
Historical Note: The hotel consists of two Italianate mansions; one is named for Roland Bishop, “the purveyor of the largest candy and cracker concern in Los Angeles.” 
Also: Einstein stayed here. 
What you would have been doing in February: Stopping by the excellent Palm Springs Art Museum for a look at the collection of Western art. 

Photo courtesy of The Willows Historic Inn

Malibu Beach Inn, Malibu

Rooms: 47
Features: Direct access to “Billionaire’s Beach.” 
Financial footnote: When David Geffen sold the inn in 2015, it went for $80M, or about $1.7M per room: “the highest valuation by this measure for any California hotel,” per the WSJ.
What you would have been doing in February: Like at SingleThread, mostly the same as you’ll be doing now: lying in the sun.

Photo courtesy of Malibu Beach Inn