Steve Aitchison, Senior Vice President of Capital Services at Pebble Beach Company, shares how a great resort is getting even better
You have an unusual title. What does a senior vice president of capital services do exactly?
Our team is responsible for implementing all aspects of our capital improvements program. We manage all major projects like Fairway One, resort guest room renovations, and new facilities like the Pebble Beach Golf Academy & Practice Facility. We also oversee all cyclical capital improvements from buying kitchen equipment and new furnishings to golf course improvements. We have a hand in all aspects of our business.
How did you end up working for Pebble Beach?
I had just moved back to the mainland from Maui, where I worked for the ownership group that was developing the Four Seasons Wailea and Grand Hyatt Wailea properties. The hotels had been completed and it was time to find something new. Shortly after landing in Seattle, I received a call from Tom Oliver, who at the time was president of Pebble Beach Company. I had met Tom on a vacation to Pebble Beach, and I joked with him that if he ever needed any help, I would be thrilled to be in Pebble Beach. As it turned out, he had a short-term project. I came on a 30-day consulting agreement, and that was 23 years ago. Life is crazy!
The new Fairway One at The Lodge debuted in August 2017. What were the greatest challenges with its construction?
Designing something that is new and fresh, but at the same time is true to The Lodge and feels like it fits in on the first fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. What we ultimately built is off to a terrific start. Our guest feedback at Fairway One indicates a terrific success!
How does Fairway One complement other Pebble Beach offerings?
It has let us introduce an entirely new product. In addition to 30 beautiful new guest rooms, we constructed two cottages. They complement the intimacy of Casa Palmero and the coziness that guests experience at The Inn at Spanish Bay. Each cottage features four bedrooms, a 1,000-square-foot living room with 17-foot ceilings, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, beautiful living and dining areas, a bar area, two 55-inch televisions, and a patio with a fire pit. The cottages are fantastic for a buddy golf trip, a romantic getaway, and other groups.
What additional expansions and upgrades are planned in the coming years?
We’ve been very busy these past five years with the addition of a number of new facilities. These include our great new Pebble Beach Golf Academy & Practice Facility. We are also constructing the most significant renovation we have ever done to every guest room at the resort—454 in all, excluding Fairway One—including expanded window walls and patios to highlight the views, exterior enhancements, rebuilding the bathrooms and installing beautiful new furnishings. We are also constructing a wonderful new Visitor Center which will tell the story of our company and the scenic surrounding area. All of this is, of course, in anticipation of our centennial in 2019.
What do you have planned to mark the centennial?
The Pebble Beach Centennial is a pretty incredible milestone—it doesn’t just pay homage to our storied past, but it also highlights our years of work preparing Pebble Beach Resorts for the next century, such as our guest room renovations and the addition of Fairway One. The 119th U.S. Open Championship will be played in June 2019 at Pebble Beach Golf Links, our sixth time hosting the event. While we are still planning other events, we look forward to introducing Pebble Beach Resorts to a new generation of guests, and re-introducing it to thousands of past visitors.
What is one thing that everyone who visits Pebble Beach should make sure to do while at the resorts?
There’s two things. For the golfer, most certainly enjoy three fantastic golf experiences. Pebble Beach Golf Links is a spectacular course, and host to major championships including the 2018 U.S. Amateur, 2019 U.S. Open and the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And it’s open for the public to play! It is the No. 1 public golf course in the country as named by the major golf publications. Spyglass Hill Golf Course is every bit the equal of Pebble Beach and is one of the toughest courses in the country, while The Links at Spanish Bay is a terrific links-style course with incredible views of the coastline. For the non-golfer, we have dozens of activities from 17-Mile Drive to The Spa, Equestrian Center, retail and dining—but the nightly bagpiper performance is unforgettable. There’s something magical about watching the bagpiper stroll up the first fairway of The Links at Spanish Bay as the sun is setting over the Pacific Ocean.
Beyond the Pebble Beach properties, what is one of your favorite things to do in the area?
I think we are very fortunate to live and work in this wonderful place. My family and I live in Carmel (adjacent to Pebble Beach) and we never get tired of wandering the streets of that beautiful town, finding a bite to eat with friends, and just truly enjoying how special it is here!
Learn more about Pebble Beach Resorts here.