After nearly two years of construction — and months of planning before that — Lompoc’s newest hotel and restaurant are finally open for business.

The Hilton Garden Inn at 1201 North H St., near the Barton Avenue intersection, officially opened its doors to guests on Oct. 27 and the independent on-site Valle Eatery and Bar began serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks shortly after.

Gilda Cordova, the director of operations for Lompoc Land Holdings, which owns the property, said that seeing the new hotel finally welcoming guests was a “dream come true.”

“You envision it and then you’re putting together the plans and working with the architects and you’re seeing it kind of erected, and you’re really imagining what the final outcome is gonna look like,” she said Friday from a table in the hotel’s main lobby. “So to see it open and to see the finished product, it is very exciting and very rewarding in itself to know that this is Lompoc. We feel like this property paints a very good picture of what Lompoc has and what we have to offer in our community.”

The hotel has added 156 rooms to the Lompoc market. Of those, 27 are suites, including three master suites.

The property, which first began construction in March 2016, aims to cater especially to government and military travelers, as well as other professionals who conduct business at nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Cordova said that the ownership group had identified an increased need for rooms in Lompoc that meet the specific standards of those particular travelers, and had set out to fill that void. Some of the features that meet that demand, she noted, are wired Internet connections — in addition to the wireless Internet — in every room, technologically advanced meeting rooms and an on-site restaurant — essentially a “one-stop shop.”

In another nod to the base, and the space industry in particular, the three master suites are named Delta, Atlas and Falcon — the names of three popular rocket models.

“It’s very exciting to have something like this in our community,” Cordova said, noting that VAFB-related travelers have often passed over Lompoc to stay in rooms in Santa Maria and the Santa Ynez Valley. “We feel like it’s gonna be able to bring back to our community a lot of the business that a lot of times bleeds out.”

The hotel also aims to establish a strong connection to the Lompoc Valley.

From the Spanish mission-style architecture, which breaks from the typical Hilton Garden Inn aesthetic, to the featured artwork on the walls — primarily photographs from throughout the Lompoc Valley, including shots from Surf and Jalama beaches, La Purisima Mission and the colorful Cypress Avenue — there are a lot of local hallmarks.

“Everything has been depicted to kind of bring in that history and everything that Lompoc has to offer,” Cordova said.

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The restaurant, in another element that breaks from the typical Hilton Garden Inn setup, is independent of the hotel itself. Valle Eatery and Bar is led by chef Conrad Gonzales, of Valle Fresh.

The restaurant, which boasts an outdoor wood-fired oven, features California cuisine and offers separate menus for breakfast (served from 6 to 10 a.m. daily), lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and dinner (5 to 10 p.m.). Additionally, the bar/lounge, which is open daily from about 4 to 11 p.m., offers several local wines and craft beers.

Monica Bristow, the director of sales and marketing for the hotel, said feedback to the restaurant has been positive so far.

“It’s not your typical Hilton Garden Inn restaurant that you would see at other hotels around the country and around the world,” she said. “We’ve had a great response to the menu items, and we’ve had a great turnout and a great reception to that. We’re adding a new element to Lompoc that had been missing.”

Among other offerings at the hotel is a shuttle to locations around the Lompoc Valley and year-round discount rates for government travelers.

Bristow, who was hired to the Hilton team in November 2016, echoed Cordova’s sentiments in finally seeing the 108,000-square-foot building up and running.

“There’s been a lot of excitement and definitely anticipation to get to this stage,” she said, “so we’re excited to get here and to finally be open and able to offer our hotel to travelers in the area and our restaurant to the community.”

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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