Businessmen bring home-town cordiality to Morgan Hill’s newest hotel
La Quinta Inn and Suites will help enhance tourism
Published in Morgan Hill October 12-25, 2016
By Marty Cheek
Andrew Firestone believes that one day the South Valley with its abundance of vineyards and world-class wineries might be known as “the Sonoma of the south.” That’s a big reason why he and his business partner, Jess Parker, recently opened the region’s newest hotel, La Quinta Inn and Suites.
Located on Condit Road between the Ford Store of Morgan Hill and the Holiday Inn Express, the 104-room, four-story hotel opened its doors to the public with a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 29. Firestone and Parker’s StonePark Capital business is based in Santa Barbara and focuses on not just developing hotel properties but serving as hoteliers who provide a quality experience for guests. The Morgan Hill La Quinta was designed to fit into the South Valley’s unique environment, Firestone said.
“The last couple of years, my partner Jess and I have been coming through this part of California, and something about Morgan Hill always drew us in,” he said. “We love the feel of downtown Morgan Hill. I come from wine country (in Santa Barbara), so I love the fact that Morgan Hill is a young and budding wine region for tourists, but it’s one that’s been around for a long time. We hoped with this property, we could promote wine tourism.”
La Quinta also hopes to be good partners with residents, promoting the high quality of life in the community, he said. That’s why StonePark focused on putting in the little details that make their Morgan Hill La Quinta Inn a special destination for the region and a point of pride for its residents.
“This hotel is a prototype,” Firestone said. “We were able to do some things that were a little unique to Morgan Hill. If you look around the lobby, the colors, the furniture are a little bit different. A lot of the details around the hotel are unique because Morgan Hill is a unique place.”
The new hotel is designed to be inviting to all types of demographics, whether businessmen and women finding a room for a Silicon Valley visit, tourists attending local events, or a couple looking for a romantic wine-tasting weekend get-away.
“We wanted to build a property that would be enjoyed by a lot of people, so we have indoor-outdoor pool, firepit, gathering areas, state of the art amenities for travelers from almost everywhere,” Firestone said. “I don’t think there’s one specific type of traveler that we want. We want to have our doors open and be welcoming to anyone coming to Morgan Hill.”
Firestone and Parker keep their business philosophy as home-grown cordial as the South Valley itself. Guests are treated as if they were close friends stopping by, he said.
“This is my living room, this is my house and so my philosophy for having guests here is that they’re guests in our home. And we want to make it as comfortable, as easy to use as possible and make it feel like it’s their homes as well,” he said. “From the kinds of breakfast items that we serve to the quality of the beds, the bathrooms — everything is what I would want my best friends to come and enjoy. Our philosophy is that our guests ,when they walk in, they’re family.”
The staff also share the guests-as-family philosophy, Firestone said. When guests arrive and walk through the lobby door, they’re greeted with a warm smile and a hearty welcome by the attendants at the front desk. The rooms are designed to be cozy and comfortable for a restful night’s stay.
Firestone is the great-grandson of industrialist Harvey Firestone, the legendary American industrialist who started Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio in 1900 and helped shape the 20th century by getting people on the road. He sees his ancestor’s success motivating him to succeed himself in his hotel enterprise — but he also believes in being realistic in his expectations.
“If I were to measure any success by that bar, that would be impossible. However, with the bar that I do use, I measure how happy I am doing what I’m doing and how successful am I for the goals I have set out for myself,” he said. “I don’t think I’m ever going to create another Firestone Tires, but if I’m able to run a business that is successful and have happy guests, that’s the bar that I’m setting myself against.”