My journey to The Canyon Villa began with a bachelor’s degree in air commerce (aeronautics) from the Florida Institute of Technology. Upon my graduation, I returned to my home in Connecticut, where my dad told me I needed to get a job – one that I would like. His words resonated with me, and gave me the freedom to follow my passion. Instead of pursuing something in aeronautics, I became an apprentice with a master French chef for two years. Having learned valuable skills, in 1980, I moved to California, where I became a chef in Malibu.
After four years, I was looking for a new challenge, so I responded to a blind LA Times advertisement for an executive chef position. When I went for my interview, I learned that I was applying for the executive chef/food & beverage director for the Playboy Mansion. The position was a great fit, so well in fact, that for nearly 30 years I remained in this position. Playboy offered tuition reimbursement, so I went to UCLA and earned a degree in hospitality management and more recently, a certification in enology studies (the study of wine) from University of California-Davis.
Although I enjoyed my time with Playboy, I sensed a change coming in 2014 and decided to move on to pursue other interests. Kath, my wife, and I looked into opening a restaurant, but realized that we had always profited from real estate interests. My hospitality education would be more engaged by opening a boutique inn. We vacationed with our boys in Paso Robles wine country in 1993, and loved it so much, we found ourselves returning year after year.
It made sense to look for our business opportunity here. But we first needed to obtain funding. Our financial representatives introduced us to Benetrends Financial in 2015, and after a couple of conversations, we knew we were in good hands. Benetrends has been facilitating the dreams for many people for many years. We found the staff listened to our needs and understood that we were prepared and anxious to move forward. They were transparent and worked for us with a sense of urgency, propelling us to get our money in a couple of weeks. Because it is an out of the box funding solution, our CPA has taken classes to better understand the Rainmaker Plan® process, which will ultimately benefit our business as it continues to grow.
The Canyon Villa is set upon a promontory on 11.5 acres, serenely overlooking three highly regarded estate vineyards/wineries and an orchard producing estate olive oils, in the acclaimed Paso Robles, California wine region. Our internationally-recognized five-star boutique B&B offers four guest rooms, Italian architecture, landscaped grounds, panoramic views, world-class cuisine, award-winning service and opulent amenities. While the guests prefer discretion (and we like it that way), our Villa has been host to many notable people, from journalists to tech industry giants to military officers, and everyone in between. One of the favorite events is our Sunday Supper. For guests who stay three nights, including a Sunday, we hold an upscale buffet, complete with a wine hour prior to the dinner, hosted by a local winemaker. We also host private catered events. You can learn more about our services at thecanyonvilla.com. We are also on Twitter and Facebook .
As the proprietors of The Canyon Villa we have received Sunset Magazine's Best of the Best in the West Bed & Breakfast 2016, USA Today's 10Best.com Wine Country Hotel 2016 (#3 out of 21), TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award 2017 ranking #5 in the USA and #14 in the world. Additionally, we have maintained the #1 TripAdvisor ranking for the Central Coast of California since Labor Day 2015. Quite a feat for a business that’s only been open for two years!
I have also been an occasional guest on Grape Encounters Radio (America’s Number One Wine Broadcast!)
Our advice to others who are considering opening their own business, we say, “Be prepared to fully commit to your business . . .both feet in as there are no dress rehearsals.” Staying vigilante and motivated to tackle the obstacles as they arise is critical in order to be successful. Our success is determined by our willingness to adapt to any guest or any situation 24/7/365. Create unique/internal KPI's (Key Performance Index's) to assist with your business. Create a board of advisors from different industry segments to provide ongoing advice and reassurance that your business is moving in the right direction. And, most importantly, you must be passionate about your business; we love what we do. Our goal is to “strive for perfection every day…and nail it in every way.”
Dave L., from Dallas Texas, recently posted a review on TripAdvisor that gives insight into the success of The Canyon Villa: “Calling The Canyon Villa a B&B is akin to calling Tesla a passenger car--technically accurate, but wholly inadequate. The Canyon Villa's suites are roomy, bright and very comfortable. The Villa itself is modern and spotlessly clean. The location is convenient to all of Paso, yet out of the way in the rolling hills. The food is SPECTACULAR and the hospitality of Chef Wills and Katherine is unmatched. Wait a minute, let me take that all back--I'm afraid I'll never be able to find an open date again once the world catches on to what a fabulous place this is!”
Read more Stories of Success on our website.