Greg Alden brings a second generation perspective to the Woodside Hotel Group
Many residents are undoubtedly familiar with the Stanford Park Hotel. What may surprise them is that the hotel is one of 10 independent luxury hotels owned and/or managed by the Woodside Hotel Group, which was founded locally 46 years ago.
Today, the Menlo Park-based company is run by Greg Alden, whose parents first got into the hospitality business when they bought the Bodega Bay Lodge in 1972, during a time they lived in Woodside.
“My parents were about creating distinct physical spaces,” said Greg. “My leanings are more about the experience. The common thread is that all of our properties are closely tied to their local communities.”
Built in 1984, the Stanford Park is known for its spacious rooms and its many private spaces. Currently, it’s undergoing a $15 million renovation; its restaurant will re-open in January as the Menlo Tavern.
“The commonality of all our properties is their unique sense of place,” said Greg. “The physical aspects of our properties — the distinctive architecture — put us on the map. As we’ve seen branding evolve in our business, we’ve focused on capturing the independent spirit of each property.”
While guests might experience well-mannered staff at other luxury hotels, by design, those they encounter at Woodside Hotel Group properties follow no script. “We want our associates to be generous,” said Greg, who is also a Menlo Park resident. “They are always encouraged to do the right thing for a guest.”
The Stanford Park Hotel is ranked the number one hotel in Menlo Park on TripAdvisor, and Greg said he and the management staff at the various properties watch reviews on that website closely. “All in all, TripAdvisor has been a positive development for independent hotels as it has leveled the playing field. A person looking to book a stay in Menlo Park might not have known about us without TripAdvisor.”
The company is on a slow growth path. “Some of the properties we manage come to us via word of mouth,” Greg said. “We’re currently the largest operator of independent hotels in northern California. Our geographic focus directly correlates to our hands-on approach. Call it part of our secret sauce.”
In addition to the Stanford Park, Woodside Hotel Group properties include the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (Monterey), Hotel Drisco (San Francisco), Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa (Lafayette), Bodega Bay Lodge (Bodega Bay), Napa Valley Lodge (Yountville), Bernardus Lodge & Spa (Carmel Valley), Dream Inn (Santa Cruz), Indian Springs Calistoga (Calistoga) and Harvest Inn (St. Helena).
Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2018