Follow-Up File: Rebuilt Cambria Shores Inn keeps that old-time feel

Names: Kim Eady and Sean Wilkinson

Jobs: Owner and manager

Business: Cambria Shores Inn

What they said then: In February 2010, The Tribune featured Kim and Leslie Eady, who purchased the Cambria Shores Inn in 1999.

The couple moved from Bend, Ore., where they previously owned one hotel, plus another in California. After moving to Cayucos, they purchased Cambria Shores Inn.

In 2006, they began an extensive renovation. Leslie’s son Nicholas Wilkinson, who had established Grow Nursery in the town, oversaw landscaping.

What they say now: A sizable investment and two phases of construction converted an economy motor lodge into a high-end boutique hotel.

The property had been owned by Kim Eady’s aunt in the 1970s. She sold it in 1978, and it changed hands several times over the next two decades.

“We completely gutted it, went down to the studs,” Eady said. “We think we did the right thing at the right time. Considering what we’re going through now, the banks wouldn’t be loaning money.”

The hotel added limestone countertops. Local artist Brooks Lawrence carved tables and headboards from Monterey cypress.

Cambria Shores also added a guest room, for a total of 25.

“We were going to add 11 rooms,” Eady added. “We decided to keep the property the way it was and keep the 1960 motor lodge, ranch-style feeling.”

He preferred not to disclose the exact cost, but the renovation ran into the millions. The second phase was completed in May 2010.

Bookings have slowed about 20 percent since 2009, but the family has found its niche catering to dog lovers.

“It’s not like we’re just dog-tolerant,” said inn manager Sean Wilkinson, Eady’s stepson. “We really enjoy them, and we encourage them. Our best rooms are our dog rooms.”

Rates run from $165 in low season to $350 in the summer. Dogs cost $15 each per night.

Tapestry throws let furry friends lounge on the furniture without risking damage to bedding. They also get a basket of goodies upon check-in. It includes an issue of Fido Friendly magazine, a towel, flashlight, water dish and biscuits.

Humans get appetizers, cookies and brownies. In 2012, Wilkinson said the inn hopes to get a license to serve wine.

And while most hotels urge housekeepers to complete rooms in 30 minutes or less, the Cambria inn’s employees invest up to an hour or two scrubbing each one.

“Every time adog leaves, we do the carpets,” Eady said. “We want it to feel like no dog has been there.”

The inn advertises in Fido Friendly. It has benefited from reviews and word of mouth on sites like TripAdvisor.com  , as well as its monthly e-mail newsletter.

This December, the inn has revived its discounted Christmas gift certificates. It sold about 40 last year in values between $100 and $1,000.

In some cases, repeat customers — mostly from other parts of California — are making the certificates out to themselves to take advantage of the 10 percent to 20 percent discounts, depending on the amount.

“This is one way of increasing cash flow during the winter,” Eady said. “It’s turned out well so we’re probably going to be doing it every year.”