‘We are ready’: National Exchange Hotel to officially open Thursday | TheUnion.com

‘We are ready’: National Exchange Hotel to officially open Thursday

The National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City has completed the remodel of the 165-year-old historic downtown building and has started giving tours in advance of Thursday’s opening. City officials and dignitaries were given the first tours following a land recognition by members of the Nisenan.
Photo: Elias Funez

The National Exchange Hotel will officially open Thursday.

“We are ready,” said Sherry Villanueva, managing partner with Acme Hospitality, which owns and operates the National, on the team’s certainty of the opening date.

She added, however, that the hotel’s team continued to work on final details this week in preparation.

Villanueva emphasized that it was important to those working on the renovation, which went on for over two years, to “dig into the ethos of the local community” as they did so, as well as try to keep “every corner” that they could from the original building.

Ernie Kehn — longtime bartender and partner of Tom Coleman, the former owner of the hotel — was the guest of honor during Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony and was first to enter the remodeled hotel.
Photo: Elias Funez

This theme carried into the planning for the hotel’s new restaurant, Lola, according to Villanueva.

She said the restaurant’s executive chef, Tom Bevitori, “was very, very committed to utilizing as much local product as he could, and really sourcing from local farms, local ranchers, wineries — anywhere we could reach out to try to bring a local influence and create a menu that was uniquely representative of Nevada City and the surrounding environment.”

In a list of over 100 parties — including designers, craftspeople, and contractors — acknowledged by the hotel as having played a part in the renovation process, a large portion is made up of western Nevada County businesses.

The new dining area inside of The National Exchange Hotel in downtown Nevada City awaits its new customers.
Photo: Elias Funez

“I feel really proud that we were able to participate in the local economy and the local community that way, because I think it’s what’s going to make the hotel even more special,” said Villanueva.

Acme Hospitality also owns and operates the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.

People take the first tours of The National Exchange Hotel Friday afternoon following a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Photo: Elias Funez

Villanueva said each hotel was designed with its own unique character in mind. Of the themes which drove many of the design details for the National, she said, “We wanted it to be more feminine, more playful, a little more wild and fun, really.”


The hotel announced through social media earlier this week that it would be hosting tours beginning today, with limited space.

People mill around the back patio of The National Exchange Hotel in downtown Nevada City, which will officially reopen Thursday.
Photo: Elias Funez

According to Villanueva, the decision to host these community open houses today, Sunday, and Monday came from a desire “to allow locals, particularly, a chance to get a sneak peek inside the hotel and be able to take a tour and see many of the rooms and the public areas.”

Free tickets for these tours were made available through Resy — a hospitality app and website which facilitates reservations — and were unavailable as of Friday.


Around 50 people gathered in front of the National Exchange Hotel Friday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony, kicking off the final weekend before the hotel officially opens.

People enjoy drinks from the rear cupola of The National Exchange Hotel following Friday’s tour of the historic building.
Photo: Elias Funez

Nevada City Mayor Erin Minett spoke at the event, calling the occasion “an amazing time for Nevada City,” adding that the 165-year-old hotel is one of only two downtown Nevada City buildings continuing to operate in its original purpose.

“This grand project to update and fully rejuvenate one of our historic treasures has been grandly and carefully executed, with local labor and craftsmen,“ said Minett.

Villanueva addressed the crowd as well, concluding a speech about the hotel’s lengthy renovation process saying, “Thank you for trusting us, and we give this hotel back to you.”

People tour the interior of The National Friday.
Photo: Elias Funez

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

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