Two new Carmel Valley hotels in development

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board reviewed two new Carmel Valley hotels at its Sept. 28 meeting, approving one. The board approved the five-story, 127-room all-suite Hyatt Place Hotel from the Excel Hotel Group, which will replace the existing Tio Leo’s. They also reviewed a six-story hotel and office development proposed in the adjacent lot.

The two hotels aim to join the corner that currently includes Hampton Inn, Residence Inn and San Diego Marriott Del Mar on El Camino Real and Valley Centre Drive.

The planning board unanimously approved the plans for Hyatt Place Hotel but asked that they make a commitment toward working with the proposed neighboring hotel to create some connectivity or community benefit, be it with a landscaped median or an enhanced pedestrian promenade.

“I’m very disappointed that the two common developers did not work closely together on getting something that’s a little bit more plaza or campus-oriented between the two buildings versus just parking,” said Chair Frisco White.

The applicants agreed to the condition and said they saw some potential to improve on the mainly concrete space between them now.

“We’ll work together,” said Neil Patel of Excel Hotel Group.

Stephen Jones of Jones Ballard Architects said the original proposal for the Hyatt Place Hotel was 75 feet in height and they have reduced it to 60 feet. The building will feature stone and glass elements, smooth stucco with stainless steel reveals breaking up the massing, large glass windows in the lobby space and accentuating details such as lighting, wood, trellises and rough cut stone to add interest.

The Excel Group’s hotel is close to approval with the city and expects to be approved within the next month.

Father-son developers Fred and Hunter Oliver, who also built the neighboring Residence Inn, are proposing the hotel development next door. In the space between Hampton Inn and the new project, they are proposing a six-story, 123-room hotel, a four-story office building with a 5,400-square-foot restaurant and a subterranean parking garage.

Since they were last before the planning board, the Olivers have brought on a new architect, Darrel Fullbright of Gensler, which has resulted in a more modern approach to the architecture with elements of stone and glass. They have also reduced the heights down from the originally proposed 95 feet, preserving the views of the bluffs.

Despite the reduction in height, the Olivers will still be requesting a height variance as the office building is proposed at 72 feet and the hotel at 76 feet — the maximum allowed in the zone is 60 feet.

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