Calif. town fights wave pool resort, Humboldt cannabis tourism and more

Recent accommodations news includes a massive California resort project with a wave pool by famed surfer Kelly Slater that is hitting major opposition from neighbors; new Bay Area hotels are getting tech-y; Humboldt is making cannabis tourism mainstream.

Coachella Valley locals oppose massive resort with wave pool by famed surfer

The man widely considered one of the greatest surfers in the history of the sport, Kelly Slater, may have met his match with a distinct kind of NIMBY-ism. In this case, residents of the Coachella Valley town of La Quinta are fighting back against their desert town, which is more than 100 miles from the ocean, becoming California’s next surf destination. According to the Coachella Valley Independent newspaper, locals have raised some $66,000 to fight the development of Coral Mountain Resort, a massive 386-acre project with a 16-acre Slater-branded surfable wave pool as its unusual selling point.

The project, which the architects describe as a “low-key resort” with “a quintessential California surf vibe” would include both a 150-room hotel, some 600 multimillion-dollar homes, a market, a hiking-biking trail and more. But according to reporting by the Independent’s Cat Makino, the major cause for concern among community activists is the Kelly Slater Wave Company pool. The proposed wave pool, which would be among the largest of its kind in the world, is a half-mile long and contains 18 million gallons of water in the perennially parched Southern California desert.

The community group organized to fight the project, the La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development, is worried that the wave pool will create an “amusement-like theme park that operates from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., 365 days of the year.” If the group fails to stop the project, construction on the resort will begin in 2022.

Everything’s coming up tech

Despite an early July report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association that showed San Francisco’s hotels have been hit harder than any major city in the country, new hotels are still opening in the Bay Area. Among them, there’s a notable embrace of all things tech – from gimmicks to genuine innovation.

The newly opened Ameswell Hotel in Mountain View talks up its proximity to Google and Apple’s headquarters and celebrates the history of the nearby Moffett Field and NASA’s Ames Research Center in hotel art. But the novelty of the 11-acre “resort-like” hotel is its is its restaurants with self-driving robot staff, who haul empty dishes away.

In San Francisco, Union Square will be getting a new boutique hotel in October after two decades of starts and stops at the Ellis Street location. The project, by Amsterdam-based citizenM (which stands for “mobile citizens”), will have self-serve kiosks for what they say is a one-minute check-in, iPad room controls and a smartphone app that does everything from unlock your room to “gamify” your visit, according to the San Francisco Business Journal.

Meanwhile in Las Vegas, the new Resorts World complex has enlisted Grubhub to let guests order restaurant meals through the delivery app, charge food to their hotel bill and have it dropped directly at their room or, more novel still, at the hotel pool. Poolside delivery will be made to special food lockers that can be opened with a touchless QR code. The verdict is out on whether, after a year-and-a-half-long pandemic, hotel guests on vacation really want to spend more of their leisure time online and have even less contact with other human beings.

Humboldt hotels cashing in on cannabis tourism

Up in Northern California’s famed Emerald Triangle, decades of illegal cannabis cultivation have given the region cachet among pot-lovers around the world. Now that the crop has been decriminalized in more than half of U.S. states, Humboldt County is capitalizing on its reputation for quality weed and a gorgeous landscape to build a cannabis-centered tourism economy in the footsteps of California’s wine industry.

In February, award-winning cannabis journalist Jackie Bryant reported for SFGATE on the state’s first pot farm to get a tourism license in order to host visitors for tastings and glamping. Now Forbes is reporting on two new 420-friendly (they prefer “normalizing”) hotels, the Humboldt Bay Social Club in Samoa, just across the bay from downtown Eureka, and the Avenue of the Giants’ Scotia Lodge, both of which have opened in just the past few months by the same company that runs the pot dispensary, lounge, restaurant and spa Papa & Barkley Social.

Freda Moon