Utah, USA (Torrey 84109)
Dave Christenson and his wife Amber, owners of Red Sands Hotel in Torrey, Utah, had always been interested in owning their own hotel because of the balance it offered between art, science, business and creativity. Combining Dave’s background in real estate and Amber’s in running a successful salon, they set out looking for a hotel of their own.
“There were a lot of options in 2009 thanks to the recession,” Dave said. “We found a bank-owned hotel in Torrey, Utah which is the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park.” After over a year of negotiation, the Christensons took over ownership of the Red Sands Hotel. “They handed over the keys and I took a position at the front desk trying to figure out how to check-in a guest,” Dave remembers. “We have learned a lot since then. Our mission at Red Sands Hotel is to be world famous for best guest experience in Utah.”
Dave and Amber pride themselves on listening to guests and how far they’ve come since that first day on the job. “People are looking for unique and fresh experiences,” Dave said. “I think we are moving away from the more traditional hotel model into a mixed-use hotel model where guests are encouraged to meet, eat and socialize in and around hotel common spaces.” Dave also points to the technology and information available to guests before they arrive as an asset for small independents like Red Sands Hotel.
When asked what the most interesting part of being a hotel owner is, Dave had no shortage of stories: “I was going to say we have had a couple of movie crews stay at hotel,” he said, “but the staff believes the most interesting thing is when there was once a couple of guests who obviously wanted to be movie stars themselves.”
“They came into our pool room after hours and adjusted the pool room security camera so it was squarely focused on them in the hot tub and they proceeded do some strange drunk naked-people dance around the edge of hot tub. The whole staff watched the playback of the video and got quite a bit of entertainment value from that — until they had to go drain the hot tub and thoroughly clean it.”
Scandalous stories aside, the most rewarding part for Dave has been “building and landscape design.” He enjoys the fact that owning a property allows him to share the results of their hard work and vision with thousands of other people. The next time you’re looking to stay local in Utah, check out Red Sands Hotel and see the Christenson’s vision for yourself.