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Holbrooke Hotel on track for a September reopening, National to follow

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer

After over a year of renovation, Grass Valley’s historic Holbrooke Hotel is on track for a September reopening, with the National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City following later this year.

A more specific timeline of reopening has not yet been announced for the National Exchange Hotel, which first opened its doors in 1856 and has been under renovation since 2018.

Both hotels will be managed by Acme Hospitality, a Santa Barbara-based company with experience running several spots in Santa Barbara’s arts and entertainment district.

The Holbrooke Hotel has stood on Grass Valley’s Main Street since 1862 and will be reopening its 28 rooms to visitors with several major changes to its interior.

In a press release, the hotel’s renovation was described as including brickwork refinishing, freshly painted walls, and a restored bar space. Guest rooms were also redecorated to feature an updated design theme while maintaining some original elements, such as the property’s original claw-foot tubs in bathrooms.

“The last two years of construction at the Holbrooke and National hotels have been spent on upgrading the plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural systems in the hotel,” said Sherry Villanueva, managing partner at Acme Hospitality. “We are now focused on completing the finish work, which includes paint, wallpaper, floors, cabinetry and fixtures. Landscaping will be the last thing to be installed.”

The Holbrooke will also be home to the Golden Gate Saloon — constructed the same year as the hotel — and a speakeasy called the Iron Door.

According to Villanueva, an outdoor dining plan is in the works for the Golden Gate Saloon so that it can open alongside the hotel amid current COVID-19 restrictions, but the Iron Door will be postponing its opening date.

“Maintaining a healthy and safe environment for our team and our guests is our highest priority, so we will reassess the COVID-19 recommendations from the CDC and the state of California at the time we are ready to open the hotel,” said Villanueva.

In the release, Holbrooke general manager Michael Barber said, “This historic landmark has been a central part of the Grass Valley community for more than a century and a half, and we cannot wait to welcome guests with a new, elevated experience throughout the hotel.”

The hotel’s renovation was a challenging process for Acme Hospitality as well as a project team led by designer Anne L’Esperance.

“The restoration of this 160-year-old property was a complex undertaking, and extreme care had to be taken to preserve the unique, historic elements of the hotel while bringing it up to current health and safety building codes,” said Villanueva.

She said the project team primarily brought on local contractors, artists, and designers whenever possible, allowing the hotels’ new management company to better learn the history represented by the two historic structures.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


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