Hotel Online  Special Report

Hotel, Upscale Gym Planned at Summit Complex in
Aliso Viejo, California; a 175-room
Renaissance ClubSport
By Sandi Cain, July 2004 

Orange County’s youngest city is set to get its first hotel.

Construction on a 175-room Renaissance ClubSport in Aliso Viejo is expected to begin before the end of the year.

The hotel is expected to open in 2006.

The Renaissance ClubSport is part of the next phase of Parker Properties LLC’s Summit Office Campus development in Aliso Viejo, which was incorporated three years ago.

Two four-story, speculative buildings also are planned for the office complex. Work on a 140,000-square-foot building is expected to begin early next year, with the second office building coming a year later.

Shops and restaurants also are part of the development plans.

“We’ve done well attracting big tenants, but the missing ingredient they’re looking for is an affordable business hotel with conference facilities,” said Russ Parker, executive vice president of development and marketing for Parker Properties.

The Aliso Viejo Renaissance will be the first under the ClubSport name in Southern California and the second overall.

Rendering: Renaissance ClubSport in Aliso Viejo
The ClubSport concept—part spa, fitness center and sports complex—was developed by Pleasanton-based Leisure Sports Inc., a private developer and operator of high-end sports clubs and hotels in California, Nevada and Oregon.

Two years ago, Leisure Sports and Marriott International Inc. opened a $31 million hotel-fitness resort under the Renaissance ClubSport name in Walnut Creek.

Leisure Sports operates the club and the hotel as a franchisee of Renaissance Hotels & Resorts. Renaissance is a unit of Marriott.

Plans for the Aliso Viejo hotel call for a 67,300-square-foot sports club and 4,000 square feet of conference space, as well as a pool and aquatics center, NCAA-regulation gymnasium and childcare facility with youth programs.

Aliso Viejo Mayor William Phillips said he expects the hotel to draw more business to the city.

“It will provide a service that’s sorely needed and meeting space that’s lacking in South Orange County,” he said.

The hotel also will offer health club facilities that the city currently doesn’t have, Phillips said.

The Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek is part of an office development similar to the Summit, Parker said.

The aim is to develop a cross between a business hotel and a resort. Besides the fitness and sports facilities, the new hotel will have a fitness concierge, day spa services and “wellness” guestrooms with aromatherapy, music and yoga equipment.

Regular guest rooms will include oversized bathtubs, high-speed Internet access, work desk, two-line speakerphones and a cordless phone, hair dryer, iron, ironing board and coffee maker.

A bistro and lounge area will feature plasma screen TVs and wireless Internet access, while the restaurant will include an exhibition kitchen.

Excluding Orange County’s coastal cities, the closest business-style hotels to Aliso Viejo include an Ayres Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Inn in Laguna Hills, and the Doubletree Irvine.

While there are Comfort Inns, Fairfield Inns and other small hotels scattered around South County, none has a sports and fitness center on the scope planned for the Renaissance.

“That kind of facility in South Orange County should do well,” said Alan Reay, president of Costa Mesa-based market tracker Atlas Hospitality Group.

The Summit’s new office buildings could bring ClubSport members to the area, in the same way that Sports Club Irvine is a draw for people working in and visiting the John Wayne Airport area, Parker said. Summit tenants such as Fluor Corp. want more hotels in the area, he said.

“On surveys, these are the things the (tenant) companies have been asking for,” Parker said.

Leisure Sports expects to name a general contractor for the project in the next month, said Christina Dort, director of corporate communications.

The new hotel is expected to heat up competition for the business traveler in South County.

Whether the demand is there remains to be seen.

For the first five months of this year, South County’s occupancy was slightly below the county average of 70.4%. The average daily room rate in South OC in the period was $174.93—skewed in part by coastal resorts. Overall hotels with between 100 and 199 rooms in OC commanded a daily rate of $80.19 in the period.

Hotel building in the county is tepid, with just three openings this year. Newcomers in South County include a Courtyard by Marriott in Foothill Ranch and a Hilton Garden Inn in Lake Forest.

No other South County hotel is under construction.

Sandi Cain is a freelance writer and contributor to the Orange County Business Journal and meetings industry publications. She specializes in hospitality, tourism and travel. Cain holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Kent State University in Ohio, where she majored in social studies. A former high school teacher, she has written for niche-market sports publications in the U.S., England and Australia and formerly worked in both the printing and high-tech industries. A Cleveland, Ohio native, Cain hasbeen a resident of Laguna Beach since the late ’70s. She enjoys travel, gardening, reading and spoiling her three cats.


Sandi Cain
Laguna Beach CA

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