Lodging Let’s all welcome Sacramentos newest Citizen

Opening Sunday, 30 November, is Sacramentos newest hotel: the Citizen Hotel.

Ive been looking forward to this moment for a long time. With the debut of the Citizen Hotel, Sacramento now has a 198-room boutique hotel with character and style in the downtown city center.

The Citizen occupies what was built in 1925 as a high-rise office building but which over time had become a seedy relic. The developers (with help from the City of Sacramento) gutted the property and rebuilt it as a top-notch hotel.

Citizen Hotel - SMF.jpg

The property will be managed by San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre Hotels, whose mission is to operate a chain of California hotels that are not in the least bit chain-like. Each one has its own name and personality; the Citizen is no exception.

For instance.

In a story in todays Sacramento Bee, Chip Conley, the CEO of Joie de Vivre, is quoted as describing the red and black color scheme of the hotel lobby and mezzanine lounge (Scandal) as law library meets bordello. Now that just has to be fun.

Since Sacramento is a political town the theme of politics and government echo throughout the hotel dcor. Read the article in the Bee for the clever details. In addition to the previously mentioned Scandal lounge (decorated in part with a six-panel wall cartoon by the Bees political cartoonist Rex Babin), a bump-out atrium-style restaurant named Grange is a brand-new architectural addition to the property.

Grange will showcase the foods of northern California under the command of chef Michael Touhy. Making the local connection with our area, chef Tuohy mentions Oroville’s California Olive Ranch very favorably in his blog.

The Citizens location is across from Cesar Chavez Park at 10th and J, kitty corner from City Hall. Its an easy walk to the Capitol and the Convention Center, as well as to Sacramentos two big-name downtown hotels: the Sheraton Grand and the Hyatt Regency.

As befits a hotel that is aimed largely at business travelers, rates will be considerably lower for weekend stays. If youre interested in giving the Citizen a try, you might be able to take advantage of a Joie de Vivre winter discount (2nd night at 50% off) for stays between 1 December and 31 January. The website says that rooms must be booked by 15 November but the offer is still available maybe theyve extended it or forgotten to remove it. In any case thats a good deal as long as it lasts. FYI – room tax in Sacramento is 12.5% plus $1.50 per night.

Speaking of tax, Joie de Vivre Hotels has another promotion at all of its properties good through 15 April 2009 for California residents only: they absorb the hotel tax. Read about the details here.

Personally, I cant wait to take in the Citizen Hotel, its lounge, and its restaurant. Despite the teetering economy my guess is this property will be successful. Who knows, maybe this will become the place to people watch for famous lawmakers and observe high-stakes California political intrigue.

Useful links:

Citizen Hotel
Grange Restaurant & Bar
Sac Bee article
Sac Bee slideshow about the Citizen

Note to runners doing the California International Marathon on 7 December:

The Citizen Hotel is conveniently located for packet pick up (Convention Center), the shuttle to the race start (from the Sheraton) and the finish line (at the Capitol). As Im composing this post, the property is still available for race weekend at a CIM rate of $139 per night for three different room types (queen, king, double-double). To book, click here, then scroll down to the Citizen (ignore the sold out warning), and then click on the Reservations link. If youre staying for two nights then depending on the room type, the winter discount previously described may yield a lower total price.

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