El Capitan | Guest Room | Nicole Hollis

El Capitan to Debut

Nicole Hollis redesigns 19th century California hotel

Boutique Design

Housed in a former 19th century hotel by the same name, the new 114-room El Capitan from Joie de Vivre Hotels is being reimagined by San Francisco-based interior design studio Nicole Hollis.

Set to open late next year, the four-story hotel located in Northern California’s San Joaquin Valley will feature a historically persevered wing and a new-construction extension with a courtyard. Guestrooms are designed with a nod to the frontier of early California and the American West. The valley’s golden tone can be seen throughout the rooms and public spaces with the use of natural, hand-crafted materials and textures that help to bring the outside in.

Much of the original hotel will be preserved throughout, including its original signage, terracotta flooring, beadboard wall paneling and heritage-style lighting. Art deco and Spanish Revival influences will play a major design role at the property. Architectural elements inspired by a 19th century train depot give emphasis to the history of Merced as a transportation hub. Additionally, artwork will observe the agricultural and cultural traditions of the region.

The property will have an all-day, 30-seat café and a 66-seat restaurant. Three dedicated meeting and event spaces, including a ballroom, total over 2,000 sq. ft., while a 2,500-sq.-ft. courtyard offers an outside option. Joie de Vivre Hotels is also restoring the nearby historic Mainzer Theater that dates back to the 1920s. That building will retain a movie cinema and offer a performance and events venue, in addition to a new restaurant, bar and gaming area.

Photo: Joie de Vivre Hotels