SAN JOSE — A major downtown San Jose hotel that has been closed for nearly a year moved closer Friday to reopening in weeks with the unveiling of a management team and the disclosure that it is now taking reservations .
Signia by Hilton, known for decades as Fairmont San Jose, is now accepting reservations for April 25 of this year or later, the lodging titan announced Friday.
“Taking reservations means they’re opening soon,” said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks California’s lodging industry. “It doesn’t surprise me that they are about to reopen.”
Setting an April 25 date for booking reservations indicates the hotel should officially reopen on or around March 25, according to hospitality industry experts familiar with the Bay Area market.
Hilton also announced members of the hotel’s management team.
Jimmy Sarfraz is the Managing Director, Catherine Hendricks is the Sales and Marketing Director, Nicole Kent is the Revenue Management Director and Hans Lentz is the Executive Chef.
Sarfraz has over 15 years in the hospitality industry and most recently served as General Manager of Hilton San Jose and Juniper Hotel Cupertino, which is a Hilton brand.
Hendricks has over two decades of experience in the Northern California hotel market, including stays at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pleasanton and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Modesto.
Kent, with a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, has held revenue management positions at hotels in New York and Southern California.
Chef Lentz joins Signia by Hilton San Jose as Executive Chef with over 20 years of experience in global cuisine in Hawaii, Dubai, East Africa, Chicago, Istanbul and Miami. Most recently, he was the Executive Chef of the Halekulani & Halepuna Hotel, a luxury hotel in Oahu, Hawaii.
The 805-room, two-tower hotel, an iconic downtown San Jose landmark, filed for bankruptcy and closed in March 2021. But Hilton believes a true renaissance is underway at the Signia Hotel.
“The hotel’s North Tower is undergoing a complete bathroom renovation that will include marble vanities and showers with residential-style fixtures as well as a separate makeup vanity,” Hilton said in an email. that the company sent to this news agency.
The full renovation of all rooms in the two towers is expected to be completed in early 2023.
“It will help improve the guest experience,” Hilton said.
The upcoming reopening of the Signia by Hilton in late March could provide a welcome counterpoint to the coronavirus woes in downtown San Jose.
Following the bankruptcy, the hotel group, led by Bay Area business executive Sam Hirbod, was able to terminate its management contract with Accor Management US to pave the way for Signia Hilton to become the new Hotel manager and operator.
During the bankruptcy proceedings, the hotel owner and the Accor group reached an agreement which removed the main obstacle to a financial overhaul of the hotel.
Signia Hilton has agreed to provide a $15 million payment to strengthen hotel assets and facilities. In addition, JPMorgan Chase grants a loan of 25 million dollars to strengthen the operations of the hotel.
Separately, lender CLNC Fair San Jose Finance, which is affiliated with BrightSpire Capital, provided a $185 million loan to the hotel, according to documents filed with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office. BrightSpire Capital is the primary lender to the hotel, which is located at 170 S. Market St. in downtown San Jose.
“It is in Hilton’s interest to commission the hotel and open it as soon as possible,” Reay said.