The Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea celebrates 75 years of family heritage


Seaside respite for Californian travelers

Carmel, California – In 2022, Hofsas House will celebrate its 75th anniversary of rest and respite for travelers in Carmel-by-the-Sea, but it also celebrates 75 years of continuing a family legacy established by visionary co-founder Donna Hofsas.

“We are continuing the tradition established by my grandmother Donna Hofsas in 1947,” said Carrie Theis, President and CEO of Hotel Carmel. “It’s the celebration of a family that takes care of travelers’ needs, introduces them to Carmel and enjoys the things we enjoy every day. It really is a family celebration as well as a hotel.

The circle is complete

Theis ‘father, Jack, Donna Hofsas’ only son, succeeded his mother, who died in 1981. Then his wife and Carrie’s mother, Doris, and her brother Scott, took over in 1996 when Jack passed away. , managing the hotel until 2000, when Carrie became the General Manager.

For Theis, becoming CEO was a loop moment, something almost destined.

Telling the past

“My summer job was falling and helping my grandmother at the hotel, we were very close,” she says, recounting her days as a young child behind the reception desk and guiding the guests. in their rooms, among other responsibilities helping her grandmother. “That’s when I got really interested in the hotel, it’s a great company. You meet people from all over the world. I knew that one day I would run the hotel.

Not only have his father, mother and brother been involved in the management of the hotel over the years, but his son Caelan helps in the marketing of the hotel, is on the board of directors and has also spent time in reception when he was young.

Family owned and operated

“When I say we’re a family business, I really mean it,” she says. “Doris and I are there all the time, so it is with great pride that we carry on the tradition.

Her grandmother and husband Fred, who was an accountant, moved from Los Angeles to Carmel in the late 1940s. While Fred was busy going about her business, Donna looked after four cottages in Carmel that the couple had bought – living in one and renting out the other three, which provided the seed that grew in the 37-room Hofsas house.

In 1957, they took the big step by building the main hotel, adding 25 rooms and a swimming pool, taking their business to the next level. After their divorce, Donna kept the Hofsas House, and in the mid-1960s, she added the North Wing and a meeting room.

Building a legacy

At this time, she also built her house, which was designed by Robert Stean and required bitter battles with the Carmel Planning Commission for approval, as it was atypical for the village. The chalet she and Fred had occupied became the family suite, Room 9/10, which is still available to guests today, as are the other three original chalets on the property.

Donna didn’t want the hotel to be just another cookie cutter hotel for tourists, so she added lots of personal touches and decorated each room differently. She asked her friend, artist Maxine Albro, to paint the Bavarian-themed welcome mural, and three of Albro’s paintings hang in the lobby. The mosaic coat of arms, which serves as the hotel’s identifying mark, was created by Fred, who was also an artist and photographer. The Latin slogan on the coat of arms, “Otium Cum Dignitate” means “Leisure with dignity”.

“She was a woman ahead of her time, she had a great work ethic and the drive to succeed. She knew what she wanted and worked hard to get it, ”Theis says of her grandmother. “We were very close, so it’s really in my heart to continue his legacy.”

Part of this legacy is getting involved and investing in the local community and supporting other local businesses. Not only have the hotel and family run fundraising events for organizations like Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, the Carmel Public Library Foundation, and the Monterey County Food Bank, Theis has served on Carmel City Council for nine years. And, the hotel serves Carmel Valley Roasting Company coffee and Lula chocolates, and they support local wineries and village wine tasting rooms.

And in keeping with his grandmother’s support for the arts community, Theis commissioned Folk artist Carmel Marie-Clare Treseder Gorham to touch up Albro’s mural during the pandemic. This prompted her to institute the Artist-in-Residence program which led to the creation of a custom headboard for Room 36 and the painting of a brand new mural by the pool by Gorham, of which the distinctive aesthetic incorporates medieval themes and iconography, rooted in the ethics of the California Arts & Crafts movement.

The Artist in Residence for 2022 will be Phillip “Rags” Rosenberg, a songwriter and poet who explores the mysteries of love and family, and offers ironic reflections on philosophical questions of life through his folk songs. mythopoetic and its poetry.

To look forward

One of the legacies Theis definitely wants to carry on is the hotel as a destination and refuge for families, which was her grandmother’s vision, one of the reasons she built large family suites in two bedrooms and two bathrooms at the hotel.

When asked what she envisions for the next 75 years, she replied, “We are still working on it. Just keep it fresh and up to date. People are looking for something different (when they visit Carmel) so we stand out with lots of color, we are a family business, we add to the artistic and European theme of Carmel, we have our own parking lot, we are only one of the six hotels with pools in Carmel, we are three blocks from Ocean Avenue and eight blocks from Carmel Beach.

Hofsas House Hotel

North of Fourth Avenue on San Carlos Street
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921
(831) 624-2745


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