As of this Saturday afternoon, at least four West Hollywood hotels and one motel have closed or have announced they will be closing soon, another impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the city’s tourist economy.
The hotels that WEHOville has confirmed are now closed are the Andaz and Le Parc Suite. The Mondrian is closed as of tomorrow as is the Chamberlain West Hollywood, which will be closed through June 1. The Holloway Motel is closed with plans to re-open in three weeks.
The hotel and motel closings are the result of a major decline in tourists and travelers because of the COVID-19 epidemic. As of yesterday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced there were 292 confirmed infections in Los Angeles County, with 15 of those in West Hollywood.
STR, a firm that researches the hospitality industry, this week reported that hotel room occupancy rates across the country during the week ending March 14 averaged 53%, a 24% decline from the week before. Revenue per available room, a standard industry measure, fell by 33% to $63.74.
The hotel room occupancy tax is the largest single source of revenue for the city’s General Fund, which finances most of the city’s programs and services (revenue from other sources is dedicated to specific purposes.) As of June 6, the city’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget anticipates $29 million from the hotel room tax, which is 37% of the $110 million General Fund.
In an email to WEHOville on March 11, West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo acknowledged the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on hotels in West Hollywood and said he anticipated there would be some negative impact on the fiscal year 2020 budget, which City Hall is now working on. However, citing the city’s sound financial standing, Arevalo was optimistic about the future.
“While the health and welfare of our community is our number one concern, we have also been tracking the potential financial impacts to both the city’s general fund and to the many impacted businesses and non-profits in our community,” Arevalo said in an email message to WEHOville. “Specific to your inquiry, we have been in contact with a number of the hotels and as anticipated they are being impacted by this public health emergency.
“As we dive into our next budget process, we anticipate our current projections and early fiscal year 2020 projections will be negatively impacted. Once these revised numbers are available, we will share them with the City Council and the community. The City of West Hollywood maintains comprehensive policies that have built resiliency and the city has consistently received high marks for sound general and fiscal management protocols.
Arevalo expressed optimism about the future in that interview. “I am confident that the city will fiscally weather this storm, allowing us to focus on the health and welfare of our community and secondly, help our businesses and non-profit partners that may be negatively impacted by this challenge.”
Hotels and motels that WEHOville has confirmed remain open as of today are Alta Cienega Motel, Best Western Sunset Plaza, Hotel 850 SVB, La Peer Hotel, Montrose West Hollywood, Petit Ermitage, Ramada Plaza Hotel & Suites, the Sunset Marquis, the Sunset Tower Hotel, The London West Hollywood, and The Standard Hollywood. WEHOville was unable to reach the rest of the city’s 21 hotels to confirm their status.