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Napa Valley’s Rancho Caymus Inn purchased by Chicago investment firm

Stonehouse Capital, a Chicago-based private equity real estate investment firm, has acquired Rancho Caymus Inn, a 26-room boutique hotel in Napa Valley, the investor announced in a press release Oct. 28, the day the transaction was finalized.

The firm purchased Rancho Caymus Inn from George Altamura Jr., said Jeff Broaden, CEO and managing partner at Stonehouse. In a call with the Business Journal, Broaden declined to disclose the transaction price but said the sale included an empty residence on the property, and that its use will be determined at a later date.

Altamura is a partner in the Napa family business founded more than 50 years ago by his father, George Altamura. The Altamuras are ubiquitous in Napa as owners and developers of a number of commercial real estate properties, including hotels. The family in 2017 sold Hotel Yountville for $96.5 million. The family also operates Altamura Vineyards and Winery.

The Rancho Caymus Inn acquisition marks the second in Napa Valley for the Chicago-based Broaden, who also was involved in the acquisition of Calistoga Ranch when he worked at AJ Capital Partners, also of Chicago. Broaden and Mark Harmon, the founder and former CEO of Auberge, led the Calistoga Ranch acquisition in 2013.

The Mill Valley-based Auberge Resorts Collection operates dozens of hotels across the U.S. and abroad, including two additional properties in Napa: Auberge Du Soleil and Solage.

“We’ve been looking for ways to get back in the Valley for a while now and when (Rancho Caymus Inn) came up, it kind of checked the boxes for us,” he said.

Broaden said Stonehouse gravitates toward investments in smaller hotels that have a charm to them and are distinctive in some way, such as historically, architecturally or located in a desirable location.

Rancho Caymus Inn fit the bill.

The property reopened in 2017 after being closed for two years to undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation, preserving much of the original building, details and design from the original owner, the late Mary Tilden Morton, of the Morton Salt and Berkeley’s Tilden Park families.

“George did an amazing job with the rehab,” Broaden said.

Three years later, however, the pandemic hit and wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry, including Rancho Caymus Inn, so Altamura put it up for sale, Broaden said.

“It sounds so generic, but we're really proud to be the new steward,” Broaden said. “It's a great little asset and we're excited to be back in the Napa market.”

Altamura Jr. could not be reached for comment. But the inn’s website still has a message that reads, “We’re open! As a family-owned business, we’ve been hit pretty hard and appreciate all the support. Please come stay!”

Stonehouse brought on New York-based Life House to manage Rancho Caymus Inn, Broaden said.

Among its properties across the U.S. and Mexico, Life House manages Casa Secoya in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, and Metro Hotel in San Francisco, according to Bryan Dunn, managing director. The company has additional properties under development, including two more in California: one in Los Angeles and another in Palm Springs.

“We are ecstatic to be part of the treasured Rancho Caymus Inn in the heart of Napa Valley,” Rami Zeidan, Life House's founder and CEO, stated in the press release. “We are grateful to work with Stonehouse Capital and very much appreciate their forward-thinking approach that will bring a wonderfully enhanced and authentic guest experience and optimal profitability through our management platform.”

Rancho Caymus Inn is located at 1140 Rutherford Road in Napa, near Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail.

Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and education. She previously worked for a Gannett daily newspaper in New Jersey and NJBIZ, the state’s business journal. Cheryl has freelanced for business journals in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Reach her at cheryl.sarfaty@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4259.

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