By Donna Polizzi
I love good food and recently found a new place that will be a regular stop when I travel between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.
The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, located in Buellton California, was recently remodeled and let me tell you…It is impressive.
The Santa Ynez Valley is 31 miles North of Santa Barbara and 33 miles South of Santa Maria, just east of Highway 101.
I’m always happy when I find a new place where I can have a delicious meal in a relaxed environment. If you’re like me and you like to work outside of the office…. you’re in luck. The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is the spot. To the rear of the main lobby is a beautiful, long bar with two big flat screen tv’s and a huge, stone wood fire pizza oven. It is adjacent to an enormous great room with several comfortable seating areas with couches, and a beautiful fireplace.
I ordered the Chicken Mole` Flat Bread Pizza. The grilled chicken, with a house, made mole` sauce, Oaxaca cheese, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro, baked to perfection in their new brick pizza oven, was wonderfully tasty. They make all of their dishes from fresh local ingredients. I highly recommend it… you will love it!
You’ve got to try some of the new signature cocktails, like their Rancho San Carlos Blackberry Margarita: Don Julio Tequila Blanco, Cointreau, fresh Santa Barbara blackberries, lime juice, and a touch of soda water.
Do you ever find that the backstory makes you like a place or person even better? The history of the Marriott is fascinating. It’s a love story and the epitome of an American dream success story.
Chatting with Cynthia Guerrero, Director of Sales and Marketing, was enlightening. Cynthia shared “I enjoy working for a corporation with such a rich history. The philosophy and corporate culture make the Marriott a great place to work. Working here makes me feel like I’m a part of the family. It’s pretty cool that young newlyweds worked together and went on to build a massive empire.”
Seemingly, John Willard Marriott was born an entrepreneur. In 1913, at age 13, he decided to grow lettuce on the family farm. At the end of the summer, he had earned $2000.
At age 27, in 1927 he completed a missionary trip through DC and thought that the hot, muggy city could use a root beer stand. He and his business partner, Hugh Colton, bought an A & W Root Beer Franchise in Washington DC. on May 20. Two weeks later, he went back to Salt Lake City Utah, to his sweetheart and married Alice Sheets, the girl of his dreams on June 9, 1927.
Alice was a strong partner and she was very involved and quite instrumental in the growth of the family business.
Can you believe that they started with a modest nine-stool root beer stand? It grew into the Hot Shoppes Restaurant chain and ultimately evolved into Marriott International Hotel Company.
The Marriott’s were the first to add hot food items to the
A & W menu. That is how the name “Hot Shoppes” came to be. They were the first people to open a drive-in restaurant on the East coast, and began an extended-stay, lodging business. They were also the first to provide boxed lunches for the airlines.
The success continues. In September 2016, the Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts. This acquisition creates the world’s largest hotel company, with over 5700 properties, 1.1 million rooms and a portfolio of 30 brands, in well over 100 countries. Many people don’t know that the Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis and W Hotel chains are included.
Personally, I really like the Santa Ynez Valley and go there frequently. There are plenty of scenic hiking spots and nearby wineries. New tasting rooms, breweries, restaurants, and other great places are springing up all over the valley adding even more to Buellton’s charm.
I forgot to ask…Does the Marriott serve root beer?