Business & Real Estate

Sacramento’s most expensive hotel to open in a month, overlooking Golden 1 Center

The Kings' unfinished hotel and condo tower adjacent to Golden 1 Center has been rocked by lawsuits and lien fights.
The Kings' unfinished hotel and condo tower adjacent to Golden 1 Center has been rocked by lawsuits and lien fights. rpench@sacbee.com

Two years in the making, Sacramento’s most expensive hotel, the Kimpton Sawyer, has begun taking reservations for an early October opening, just days before the Sacramento Kings launch their new basketball season at the Golden 1 Center next door.

Kimpton, an upscale boutique hotel chain, is advertising the opening date as Oct. 15, but the hotel’s website and online booking companies are offering rooms as early as Oct. 10, the night before international pop star The Weeknd performs at Golden 1 Center. The cheapest rooms that night are going for $269, the highest rate in the city.

The rates go even higher – to $369 – on Oct. 18, the night of the Sacramento Kings’ regular season opener against the Houston Rockets. The lowest rate listed in the first two months is $159 a night near Thanksgiving.

Kimpton representatives say they will make an official opening announcement later this week. But with a pool deck and lounge overlooking Golden 1 Center and the surrounding entertainment district, hotel officials are already promoting the 250-room Sawyer as the place to be in the heart of downtown for business and leisure visitors, as well as arena event attendees. Visiting NBA teams and musical acts performing at the arena are expected to stay at the hotel.

Hotel general manager Brent Larkin said Wednesday morning that Kimpton has gotten its initial occupancy permit from the city and the four-star hotel is nearly ready to go, except for finishing touches.

“The heavy lifting is done,” he said. “We’re literally putting sheets on the beds, soap in the showers, and hangers and robes are up in the closet.”

The hotel opening marks a significant step for the Sacramento Kings’ efforts to turn the area surrounding Golden 1 Center – called Downtown Commons or DoCo – into a lifestyle and entertainment center on the former Downtown Plaza site.

The hotel takes up the bulk of a 16-story tower, built by the Kings and development partners, that will include 45 condominiums, restaurants and an entertainment venue.

Sacramento Kings business operations president John Rinehart called the opening of the hotel and other recent changes “a great marker of how downtown has changed and will continue to grow.”

“Now that the tower has hit another milestone and received its temporary certificate of occupancy, the final elements of preparation can begin before the tower opens to the public in the coming weeks,” he said.

Mike Testa, president and CEO of tourism and convention agency Visit Sacramento, said the Sawyer will draw new visitors to Sacramento.

“Brands like Kimpton absolutely have a following and to have that following in Sacramento will attract people who have never been here before,” he said. “People have loyalties to brands.”

The Hyatt, Sheraton and boutique Citizen Hotel are considered the premiere hotels downtown, but Testa said the central city has room for another four-star hotel. The average hotel room occupancy rate in that area is 84 percent, suggesting adequate demand for another 250 rooms.

“It’s a new product and a high-end product,” Testa said.

The hotel tower will include Punch Bowl Social, an entertainment venue on the first and second floors of the tower, and Echo and Rig, a steakhouse in the hotel tower ground floor facing the arena plaza. Both of those companies have obtained their occupancy certificates and are on site making final tenant improvements, Kings officials said, with tentative opening dates set for sometime this fall.

The Kings, who will move their team headquarters into the entire fourth floor, with glass walls, are expected to move in this fall as well.

Estelle’s Patisserie and Häagen-Dazs are expected to open at small sites a few feet from the hotel within the next two months.

The condominiums, controlled by the Kings and situated in the top section of the tower, are expected to open at the end of the year. Kings officials say they have signed contracts already for a number of the condos, but declined to comment on how sales are going. The county assessor’s office showed no sales deeds had been filed as of early last month.

Construction work on retail spaces and a multiplex cinema continues on the west side of DoCo, near Macy’s, with no set opening date.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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