An intriguing rumor has come in: Citing a “reliable source,” a reader says that Marriott has bought the Biltmore resort from Ty Warner and plans to turn the property into a St. Regis.
The rumor certainly passes the plausibility test—we’ve all been wondering why the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, as it’s officially known, is lying fallow during the summer season. And in my experience, the more specific a rumor is, the likelier it is to be true. As for the provenance, I don’t know who the original source is, but I do know the reader who passed it on.
Representatives for Marriott, St. Regis, and Four Seasons did not respond to my queries, which is hardly meaningful, because large companies tend to ignore small publications. I did manage to get a rep for Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts on the phone, who said, “I don’t have any comment on that.”
If the rumor is true, and Marriott has the desire—and the resources in this brutal economy—to treat the resort like the jewel it could be, I think a sale would be in the property’s best interest. The hotel needs fresh attention and funding; many of the rooms are tired, and the restaurant wants updating. But even with the Rosewood Miramar Beach as a formidable new competitor, the Biltmore’s only recent major improvement that I’m aware of, aside from debris-flow repairs, is the creation of a fancy suite to attract the rich and/or famous.
Will it happen? Time will tell… unless you tell first. Send tips to [email protected] or 917-209-6473. Anonymity is always guaranteed.
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