Original text from The Hotel Monthly, November 1957.

(click cover to enlarge)
Villa Hotel Combines Glamour and Informality for Profit

Beauty, convenience, relaxation, glamour, service - a successful motor hotel isn't any one feature
but, rather, a combination of all of these.

Elegance and distinction in the luxurious Villa Hotel, San Mateo, Calif., is dramatically shown in the lounge off main lobby. Modern Swedish fireplace against a background of browns, golds, and blue symbolizes daytime informality and evening glamour.

"Villa Square" is the name applied to San Mateo's new hospitality area - which includes the Villa Hotel, Villa Chartier and The Lanai - on the San Francisco peninsula, south of that city's International Airport.According to Emerson Murfree, president of California Peninsula Hotels, Inc., the present group of dining and hotel accommodations is the natural outgrowth of the Villa Chartier restaurant which opened in 1925.Says Mr. Murfree, "The Villa Chartier, with a seating capacity of 90, was purchased by me in 1944. Since then we have continuously enlarged the restaurant until it now seats more than 750 persons.

"For a long time I had planned an authentic Hawaiian restaurant. Consequently, in 1950, The Lanai was built adjoining the Villa Chartier.

"Several years ago a group of us discussed the need for a beautiful, first-class hotel to serve the rapidly growing peninsula area. Shortly after we purchased the five acres adjacent to the Villa Chartier and The Lanai. We toured the U.S., looking at new hotels, searching for new ideas to serve guests better. We finally opened the Villa Hotel in August 1956 with 225 rooms, all air-conditioned, with radio, television and music.

"Our banquest facilities can take care of 1,100 persons in the Pacifica, Camino and Tiara rooms. There are 17 shops, a pool, a large lobby and lounge and all the services of a hotel."

Lobby features terrazzo floor inset with chenille rugs. Key rack (not shown) is made of stacked drain tiles.

Heated Rainbow Pool is 75' long, set in garden area.

The Villa was built at a cost of $4,000,000. Furnishing and decoration are by W. & J. Sloane, and furniture, lighting fixtures, floor and wall coverings were created especially by them for the hotel. Design of the structure was done by Robert M. Sherman.

The two-story hotel building is set in a four-acre site. Drive-in registration keynotes the informality provided for motoring guests; laundry, valet, travel bureau, barber and beauty shops provide complete hotel services.

Room tariffs range from $10 single to $42 for a two-room suite; studio lanais with balconies are $18 single and $20.50 double.

Simple design motifs, clear colors and rich textures highlight guest rooms. Variations of the colors of the Villa crest (blue, aqua and gold) are used in furnishings. Studio rooms feature Duo-Bed units.

The Villa is a member of the Master Hosts organization. Vernon E. Phillips, formerly catering manager at several San Francisco hotels, is manager.

Group business is cultivated by the Villa Hotel. Ford, General Motors, Lockheed, General Electric, Dalmo Victor and other companies have operations in the area, and meetings, banquets and business luncheons have provided much group business as a result.

The Pacifica is designed expressly for conventions, provides dinner space for 600 persons, meeting space for 750. The room may be divided into three smaller rooms with sliding partitions.

The Villa's Camino Room accommodates more than 200 persons for banquets, 300 for meetings and divides into two rooms. Closed circuit TV and a display elevator allow the hotel to accommodate a large variety of meetings and exhibitions.

Villa Chartier and The Lanai also accommodate parties in a number of private rooms. And both restaurants are within strolling distance of the hotel, offering guests a choice of different cuisine every night. Villa Chartier features Maine lobsters, prime rib of beef; The Lanai specializes in exotic foods of the Far East.

In all dining rooms at The Villa, access to outdoor areas is stressed. Both the Tiara Room and the Cabana Bar look out on and open on the pool area.

As might be expected, with years of food service experience behind them, management of the Villa operation placed great emphasis on the new kitchen and food areas of the Villa Hotel. Equipment and layout is designed to handle in the most efficient way food service for patrons in the dining room, coffee room and the seven banquet rooms. Sanitation and safety factors also have been given attention.

Food service was complicated by the fact that the largest single banquet room - the Pacifica Room - is a full floor below the main dining room level. This was solved by having an elevator at the rear of the kitchen to carry food (complete with food warmers) to the serving area on the lower level.

Every piece of equipment selected for the Villa kitchen and serving area was selected for efficiency, ease of maintenance and long-lasting quality. Tables and most equipment are stainless steel, completely smooth, with no surface seams. Tables are designed with rounded edges and corners for safety.

The kitchen and serving area is a U-shaped unit. As waiters enter the area, cold dishes, salads, etc., are immediately to their right; hot dishes are immediately to the left. The preparation areas are directly behind each section, making movement of the dishes to the waiters a one-step operation.

A Hobart dishwasher is to the left as waiters enter the kitchen with soiled dishes.

The cashier-checker is only 20' from the main dining room, making for a minimum of service delay.

Most hot food service for parties of two or more is done with carts - again making for faster service, reducing fatigue on the part of servers and reducing the possibility of spilled food or trays.

The refrigerated storage area for meats, fruits, vegetables, and the frozen storage area, are only a few feet from the preparation areas.

Huge warming ovens on the lower level keep food warm in case of a time lapse in the Pacifica Room during banquets. Complete dishwashing facilities also are located on this level.

The entire kitchen-serving area is planned to make maximum sanitation a continual condition, from floor to ceiling and in every piece of equipment. Floors are covered terrazzo. Walls are ceramic tile from floor to ceiling, and ceilings are white enamel.

Washrooms for employees are as spacious, clean and attractive as those for hotel guests. In addition to normal washroom facilities, showers are provided. Sanitary supplies are immediately available and are in the charge of the housekeeping department to assure full use of supplies without waste.

Pots and pans are washed in a fast steam washer.

Floors are covered in service pathways by one-piece corrugated rubber mats that stick firmly to the floors (no curling edges to trip over) - providing a surface that gives the ultimate in sure-footedness. In addition, the rubber treads virtually eliminate breakage of dishes dropped on their surface.

Doors are magic-eye opening - as waiters near the doors, the pressure of their step automatically opens the door, a time saver and accident reducer.

Flush lighting floods the area with light, another accident prevention help; and special accident prevention training is given to all employees by the steward, immediately on employment.

"If I were asked what constitutes the difference between a hotel and a motel," says Mr. Murfree, "I would say, first, the completeness of the service of a hotel. Room service, dining room, banquet facilities and shops are only found in hotels. Secondly, the type and permanency of the structure helps definition. Because the Villa has these features, it is definitely a hotel."

Typical guest room has walnut paneled walls, scenic wallpaper. Divider is also dresser-vanity-desk.

Luxury note appears in bathroom where marbleized Formica surrounds basins.

Coffee Shop provides breakfast and luncheon service from 6:30 a.m. It's adjacent to but can be separated from Tiara Room by means of circular sliding door that repeats grill design of Tiara Room's screens.

Tiara Room has cascading wall fountain on fieldstone wall (rear), back-lighted grilled screens. Dancing nightly is another attraction in the gold and aqua room.

Cabana Bar serves both pool and lounge. Glass panels in colorful shades (rear) help to create a cool and serene atmosphere.

Elevator carries automobiles to 600-seat Pacifica Room for exhibitions and sales meetings. When not used, elevator is hidden behind louvered screen.

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