San Anselmo Inn Owner Draws Europeans To Ross Valley

San Anselmo Inn Proprietor Benedetto Cico said more young travelers are coming to the small downtown hotel, that many locals don't realize is in one of the oldest buildings in town.


Benedetto Cico is proprietor of San Anselmo Inn and has been featured in many Italian publications which has help to put San Anselmo on the map as a destination point for European visitors.  


San Anselmo - Fairfax Patch:  How long has the Inn been in business in San Anselmo? 

Benedetto Cico:   It has been under our ownership for two years now.


Patch:  Where are you from originally and what brought you to San Anselmo?

BC:    Italy, but we’ve been in the U.S. for over 30 years.  We moved to San Anselmo from New York City 14 years ago.  We have four children and really were attracted by the schools here, the outdoors and the great community.


P:  What else have you done in your career prior to taking over this business? 

BC:   I have always been involved in travel and hospitality.  We also own a 30-unit furnished apartment complex in NYC.


P:  What has your experience at the inn been like up to this point?

BC:   We have liked it a lot.  This is actually one of the oldest buildings in town.  It used to stand between two railroads that served the area.  It was also a pharmacy at one point.  It surprises us that allot of locals are not aware of the history of this building.


P:  What has been your experience like with the community since opening? 

BC:   Very good.  A lot of families stay with us, especially when people are having graduations, baptisms or family reunions. 


P:  What is the demographic of your customer base? 

BC:   We are getting allot of younger travelers these days that are finding us on mobile apps.  Right now we have a few parties from the U.K. and two from Australia. We’ve also been promoting our place locally as a great place for a couple to have a night on the town away from the kids.


P:  What sets your business apart from other inns in the area? 

BC:   Small inns like ours are more alike than they are different and we actually help each other out when rooms are full and we make referrals to each other.   We have a common clientele of folks looking to come to northern California destinations.  They typically are here for the outdoors and foods.  We see everything from mountain bikers to foodies looking to taste organic foods and local cheeses.


P:  What are some of your favorite things to do around town when you are not working? 

BC:   I can’t answer that, I don’t understand your question (laughing.)  I have four kids!  I am always working!  When we have time we like to surf and head out to Bolinas.


P:  If you could change one thing about this town what would it be?

BC:   That is a very hard question.  This is always a topic of conversation at the chamber of commerce.  I think the most important thing is that we keep a balance.   As a merchant I want to attract customers for business, but as a resident I don’t want to attract so much growth that the town looses its character.  Otherwise, we would not be San Anselmo any more.  That said, available parking always seems to be a topic of conversation.


P:  You’ve been profiled in many Italian magazines, what do they say about you?

BC:   Because of my travel background I’m often mentioned in trade and travel magazines in France and Italy.  But what I try to do is promote the destination first.  My intention is to try and get visitors to cross the bridge rather than stay in the wharf.  I let readers know that we are close to Napa and Sonoma and that we are just 25 minutes from the city.


P:  There is a rumor that an America’s Cup team will be staying here, what can you say about that?

BC:   Well no, we are getting some America’s Cup related business but these guys like to stay closer to their boats. 


P:  What are you listening to on your iPod these days?

BC:   No iPod, but I do have a Pandora account and I do like to listen to allot of different stuff.  But no earphones!  I don’t like to have those so close to my brain.


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Bob Hunter December 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Our town could give Benedetto a lot of support for what he's trying to accomplish. Taxing the "un official" B&Bs would improve fairness. Transportation to and from the Larkspur ferry would help our visitors as well as our residents. (Could be easily available/free passes on GGT.) Getting the downtown park completed will draw travelers. Promoting San Anselmo as the gateway to great hiking and biking and the gateway to sustainable agriculture and food and wine products. (Our version of agro-tourismo?) As well, our town and chamber can more actively promote weddings here. Hoping Benedetto will do something interesting with his restaurant space.
Bob Hunter December 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
How about a roster of local residents willing to invite young foreign travelers to dinner?
Bob Hunter December 26, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Could our local bike shops provide special bike rental rates to our out of town visitors? Could our local surfers be on call for guiding out of town surfer guests?
Bob Hunter December 26, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Guided hikes in other languages?
Connie Rodgers, President/CEO December 28, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Benedetto is an outstanding business leader and an asset for San Anselmo. He gets what makes business sense and implements best practices.


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