A new hotel with only 130 rooms might not be a big deal in a big city, but in Redding, population 100,000, the January opening of the Sheraton Redding Hotel at Sundial Bridge was headline news.
The smallest Sheraton in North America (and Redding’s first four-star hotel) stands out not just for its boutique size, but also for its unique location as an integrated part of Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a 300-acre, indoor-outdoor natural history museum, arboretum and botanical gardens on the banks of the Sacramento River. Steps away, the Sundial Bridge, a graceful pedestrian span designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is a regional icon that has been pulling travelers off Interstate 5 since its completion in 2005.
An on-site hotel was long a part of the Turtle Bay vision, says Debi Chimenti, the Sheraton’s national sales manager. Voters got behind the concept in 2014, passing a measure that facilitated a financing deal. Construction involved tying park and hotel together via elevated boardwalks and repurposing parts of the existing museum into the new structure. Planners can take advantage of venues on both sides of the bridge, as well as at the base of the Sundial Bridge. “For example,” Chimenti notes, “they might have a reception in the museum or a presentation by the bridge followed by dinner at the hotel.”
In all, 80,000 square feet of event space is available. The Sheraton proper houses a 4,000 square-foot divisible ballroom, a 1,000 square-foot boardroom, two dining rooms and a chef’s table in the Mosaic restaurant, and an outdoor lawn venue with fire pits that can accommodate 500. Across the boardwalk, receptions and dinners can be staged inside the museum or in an open-air pavilion.
The hotel proved an immediate hit, says General Manager Lindsay Myers. “We’re starting to get a buzz outside the region, too, as people learn we exist. We’re finding lots of interest in groups wanting to bring their members to a part of Northern California they may not have experienced before.”