The elegant Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley will get a little more so with a planned redevelopment effort that will nearly double the value of the property.
Fred Unger, owner of the 35-room boutique hotel, said real estate investor Art Cunningham has become a 50-50 partner, and the two will spend at least $20 million to upgrade the place.
Plans include adding 14 rooms and a luxury spa, making over the lobby to “create a grand entrance,” expanding the bar and Lon’s restaurant, and adding new landscaping, Unger said.
Existing rooms and suites also will get major makeovers, including the addition of outdoor pools and showers on the private patios, Cunningham said.
The resort will close in summer and reopen a year later to complete the re-do, Unger said.
But Lon’s will remain open serving gourmet grub throughout the renovations, he said.
While upping its luxury level, Unger said Hermosa Inn will retain its Southwestern cowboy image and its homage to artist Lon Megargee, who originally built the place as his home in the 1930s.
Unger bought the then-hotel in 1992 from the Resolution Trust Corporation, the government entity that rescued insolvent properties during the savings and loan debacle. A previous succession of owners left Hermosa languishing, partially burned and renting rooms for an astonishing $60 a night despite the posh Paradise Valley setting, Unger said.
He completed major makeovers in 1992 and 2002, but Unger said with nearly all of Paradise Valley’s old hotels undergoing or just completing renovations, and several new resorts proposed, in progress or soon-to-be, Hermosa Inn now needs new amenities to keep up.
“For 15 years we have loved this property, but people have said, ‘It would be great if you had a spa,’” Unger said. “It’s about time. We should have a spa and a few more rooms.”
Cunningham, who has been Unger’s friend and neighbor for two decades, jumped on board, enticed by the unique and historical property, he said.
The partners said they plan to redevelop, manage and retain ownership in the hotel.
“We have no intention of selling this place. We see this as a legacy,” Unger said.
The old hotel, which is tucked into a quiet residential street far from the town’s resort row on busy Lincoln Drive, attracts a different kind of customer than the typical Scottsdale visitor, said Rachel Sacco, president of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The resort is unique and exactly what many of our high-end customers are looking for,” Sacco said. “The Hermosa Inn has been extremely successful in attracting the customer who is looking for a unique and authentic Southwestern experience that combines luxury, great food, beautiful ambiance, great service and attention to detail. The fact that they are expanding and adding a spa will help them secure their foothold in this high-end market and attract new customers.”
Unger describes the typical Hermosa Inn guests as the “same clientele that would travel to France and look for a historical property with tremendous food.”