Ex-Vantage leader Bloss eyes cannabis-driven hotel plan
By Jeff Higley
Hotel News Now – March 20, 2019
Former Vantage Hospitality founder, President and CEO Roger Bloss is launching a new hotel venture aimed at building upon the ever-growing cannabis industry.
With California’s Coachella Valley as a launch point, Bloss and business partner Bernie Moyle will use their Alternative Hospitality platform to start 420 Stay, an ownership, development and management company. Two hotel brands are being envisioned for the company: CoachillInn and 420 Stay.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is widely known as an annual party-centric event that features popular music acts. 420 is a partier’s reference to marijuana.
“Everybody knows Coachella, so this gives us instant recognition,” Bloss said. “This tells you exactly where we are and what we do.”
The first project will be part of a master-planned industrial cultivation and ancillary canna-business park called Coachillin’. The group is in the permitting process now, and Bloss said during an interview at the recent Hotel Brokers International meeting that he expects construction to begin in the next three months.
“The concept primarily is to create an environment that is obviously very legal, very much part of a community,” said Bloss, who remains as a consultant for RLH Corporation, which acquired Vantage in 2016. “We’re not in the cannabis business; we’re in the health and wellness business.
“We’ll find attributes in the market that bring in the health and wellness aspect based on that location,” he added. “It’s got to be active. It’s got to be about health. It’s got to be fun.”
Each property will cost approximately $125,000 per key to build, not including land costs, Bloss said. Costs could be higher for conversion properties. He said the concept will fit into the upper-midscale segment.
The company is focusing its initial growth on states with legalized recreational marijuana, he said. It has eight projects under contract, including three in Las Vegas, three in the California desert, one in Michigan and one in Oklahoma.
“In the 10 states that it’s legal, we feel there’s an opportunity to engage with that new traveler—the one that wants experiences, the one that wants to be educated, the one that wants to do different things while they’re traveling,” Bloss said. “I believe cannabis will become federally legal in the next four to six years. Then what does a cannabis hotel really mean? I’m building a hotel that’s based on a great stay.”
Bloss said the model is strictly ownership—there are no franchising or other models available at this time. MJ Holdings, a Nevada-based company publicly traded under the symbol MJNE, will own 51% of any hotel that is brought into the system.
“If you want us to come to your property and build a cannabis-based, health-and-wellness hotel, you must put the land in the deal, and you stay in the deal as a partner,” he said.
Based on the land’s value, that partner could have a 5% to 10% stake in the hotel. A limited partnership put together by Alternative Hospitality would supply the rest of the capital for the project, Bloss said.
“There are a lot of wealthy people looking at the cannabis industry as an investment vehicle,” he said. “We’ll manage it, or the land owner can manage it if they are capable, if they are a hotelier. It’s a business in a box. We stay engaged in the ownership. … I’ll run it, you run it, it doesn’t really matter.”
The initial hotel will be located in a 160-acre development that is entirely focused on the cannabis industry. Its vision is “to revolutionize, standardize and bring complete transparency to a historically clandestine industry,” according to marketing material from Coachillin’ Holdings LLC.
“Our 160-acre park will have everything, starting with the germination of seeds all the way to sale,” Bloss said. “What we are doing is providing a cost of business that no one will be able to duplicate.”
The 150-room California project will provide its own water, utilities and security, which are the biggest costs associated with development in California, he said.
The CoachillInn hotel component will focus on Cannabidiol oil products—which do not contain Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis—as well as marijuana products that contain THC if the property obtains the necessary licensing, he said.
“In the hotel, it’s about health and wellness,” Bloss said.
There are CBD-based sleep aids that have no psychedelic ingredients that guests can obtain through legal means and with medical oversight, Bloss said.
“You’ll be able to talk to people of like minds and in a like environment,” Bloss said. “At the end of the day, it’s a great hotel—it’s going to be super clean; it’s going to have great food.”
The canna-business park provides the perfect location for the company’s first hotel, Bloss said. There are 133 days on which hotels in the Coachella Valley sell out, and the area needs more rooms.
“This area is going to grow tremendously,” he said. “There’s gaming; there’s concerts; there are outdoor activities. It’s a great recreation and convention area. … We expect somewhere around 3,000 people a day coming through this (canna-business park) facility.”
All CoachillInn properties must adhere to local smoking laws, which are quite clear-cut, Bloss said.
“Make no mistake about it—there’s no smoking in the public space or the rooms at the hotel,” Bloss said. “There will be areas where people can be comfortable doing it and with people that are comfortable in that environment.”
The interior-corridor property in the Coachella Valley will have balconies overlooking a lazy river and an amphitheater, he said.
“It is privately funded; it has zero debt on it,” Bloss said. “The builder is Eco Master. Their vision is to be the largest eco-Canna industry park in America.”