Press

The National Exchange Hotel in the Media

Winter in Grass Valley and Nevada City: Gold Rush Lore, Modern Luxury + Old-Fashioned Holiday Fun

November 11, 2022 - By Amber Turpin

In a silver lining of the pandemic for this neck of the woods, Santa Barbara–based Acme Hospitality upped the game for accommodations with the refurbishment of two historic hotels, the National Exchange and, four miles away, the Holbrooke. While you can expect modern touches, rest easy knowing each property retains its individual identity and keeps true to history through meticulous restoration of the buildings, refurbished original antiques, and even some furnishings donated by locals as a way to preserve the character of these sites.

In Nevada City, the iconic National Exchange was built in the mid-1850s and is said to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in the state. A registered historical landmark, it's known locally as “the Nash.” After a three-year, floor-to-rafters renovation, you can laze around on a gold velvet sofa in the grand lounge while pondering the bold women who are said to have run a brothel here. The guest rooms blend Victorian-era touches like floral wallpaper and tufted furnishings with modern creature comforts such as sleek electric kettles and custom Mascioni Italian robes.

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11 magical California gold rush towns you should absolutely visit

November 10, 2022 - By SHARON BOORSTIN

Today, you can explore California Gold Country by meandering along State Highway 49, which runs north-south about an hour east of Sacramento, and points nearby. You’ll discover parks, hotels, saloons, restaurants, antique shops and more with an Old West ambiance. It’s a road trip — and a step back in time.

While Grass Valley was a town built by miners, Nevada City, four miles northeast, was a town built by mine owners. Stately Victorian homes and commercial buildings line streets shaded by evergreen trees. Like Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel, Nevada City’s National Exchange Hotel, built in 1856, recently underwent a top-to-bottom renovation that added modern amenities while preserving its historic charm. Request a “Haunted by History” candlelight hotel tour led by general manager Anthony Jones.

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Two Design-Driven Hotel Restorations Paint Historic California Gold Country In Technicolor

November 9, 2022 - By Kim Westerman

Two Wild West towns. Two historic hotels, both possibly haunted. And a big vision by Acme Hospitality Group to bring the history of these important places and spaces into the 21st century, while retaining their period vibe, right down to the cocktails.

When Sherry Villanueva, owner and managing partner of Acme Hospitality Group, decided to jump into the massive undertaking of restoring these two hotels —Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley and The National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City, one of her wisest decisions was to engage designers who could successfully bring these spaces to life for contemporary travelers, while retaining each property’s unique language of the past, often encoded in design details such as wallpaper, lighting, and balcony construction. Interior designers Bri Ingram, Anne L’Esperance, and Doug Washington brought it all home over the course of three years, which sounds like a long time until you go to consider the outcome, which is nothing short of genius.

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Socal Design

Gold Futures and Past

November 3, 2022 - By Jessica Ritz

With a duo of newly revitalized landmark hotels in grass valley and Nevada city, Nevada county gold country is your next historic California destination.

The National Exchange Hotel (211 Broad St.) has stood proudly on Nevada City’s main drag since 1856. Today its idiosyncratic character is layered with fresh interpretive flourishes. Lush floral wallpaper patterns originally designed or inspired by British decorative arts hero William Morris emblazon the interior walls, and original guest registers on display in the lobby stairwell. The 38 guest rooms are coordinated in a brighter palette that contrast with some of the National Exchange’s moodier corners. Largely female local historic figures—as well as traveling theater troupes who regularly passed through Nevada City and added to its flourishing bohemian culture—maintain a presence through the vintage photographs on display.

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Reborn Luxury Vacations in Nevada City, California

October 26th, 2022 - By Sierra Rec Magazine

Looking for your next Luxury getaway with all the charm of a hallmark movie? Head West. To the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Nevada City and get set to experience one of two stunning renovations to California’s history that have to be experienced. The National Exchange Hotel built in 1856, once considered the beacon for sophistication for western hotels, has been restored and reinvigorated with a few modern touches. Now providing visitors to Nevada City with an opulent hotel and dining experience that matches the spirited history of the streets and hills of Nevada City.

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The Best Hotels in the USA

October, 2022 - By Fiona Chandra

National Exchange Hotel is a 166-year-old historic landmark in the once-bustling gold rush town of Nevada City. Under new ownership, it recently underwent a meticulous three-year renovation project that brought back Victorian opulence and fused it with unobtrusive modern luxuries. Each of the 38 guest rooms has a distinctive character with William Morris’ naturalistic wallpapers and antique furnishing, some of which are original, and all come with the finest Italian linens and robes. As one of the first hotel ventures of culinary-focused Acme Hospitality Group, the hotel’s restaurant and bar are some of the region’s best. The main restaurant, Lola, serves a French-influenced menu served in a bright and elegant dining room. The centerpiece of the National Bar is the bar itself, partially built using the hotel’s old radiators that glow golden in the warm lighting. The hotel is conveniently situated at the edge of downtown Nevada City, a historic district that has preserved its charm with Gold Rush-era buildings that now house restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and boutique shops. National Exchange Hotel also partners with Kind Traveler, where travelers can unlock perks with a $10 donation that goes toward natural land preservation through Bear Yuba Land Trust.

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Sunset Magazine - The National Exchange Hotel

For Eye-Popping Leaf Peeping, Visit These Sierra Towns

September 22nd, 2022 - By Krista Simmons

Some of the Golden State’s best fall colors are found in the historic Gold Rush towns along the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway in the northern Sierra. Exhibit A: Nevada City. Walk down Nevada Street, dotted by Victorian homes, to see century-old sugar maples and American sweet gums turning a stoplight red. For hiking, it’s worth checking out the Cascade Canal trail, shaded by red-hued dogwoods and rich green Douglas firs. If you can’t make it this fall, the area is also magnificent for wildflower super blooms in the spring.

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Fodor's Travel

Quite Possibly the Most Haunted Hotels in America, and the Ghosts Who Haunt Them

August 31, 2022 - By Molly O'Brien

Nestled into the Sierra Nevada Foothills in California’s Gold Country are two exceptionally historic hotel properties with some seriously spirited stories: The Holbrooke Hotel and the National Exchange Hotel. The 28-room Holbrooke Hotel dates back to 1862 and feels like stepping back in time. It’s home to the Golden Gate Saloon, the longest continually running watering hole west of the Mississippi. Just down the road in Nevada City is the National Exchange Hotel, which dates back to 1856 with 38 guestrooms with an eccentric aesthetic that combines Victorian-era design with a mysterious gothic aura. For two special weekends in October 2022 (October 1st and 15th), those who book a two-night weekend stay at The National Exchange Hotel can gain exclusive access to a candlelight tour with the hotel’s resident history expert detailing the stories of past inhabitants rumored to haunt these fabled halls still.

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San Diego Magazine

Gold Country Booms Again

August 30, 2022 - By Jill Robinson

Even if you’re not a design fan, you may find yourself combing the entire property to view different styles of beautiful William Morris wallpaper, notable for its dense, Victorian-style prints inspired by nature. King suites with large windows that open to the balcony are optimal for guests seeking a more semi-private living space with fresh air and views of Nevada City’s Broad Street, which is basically its main drag. Walk-in showers and Mascioni robes ensure comfort while giving guests the feeling they’ve traveled in time — exactly how a vacation should be.

On the ground floor, the hotel’s restaurant Lola is named after Lola Montez, a woman of the new Western frontier whose unconventional, multi- hyphenate career titles included dancer, actress, courtesan, and author. The European-inspired menu consists of various dishes, from a half-grilled chicken with Blue Lake beans, chimichurri, and spring onion to a strip loin steak with truffle-braised mushrooms and fried Walla Walla onions. Sink into history while enjoying a craft cocktail at the National Bar, where gilded radiators from the historic hotel work together to support the bar counter.

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Discover the National Exchange Hotel's Haunting History

August 24, 2022 - By Alysia Gray Painter

Peek around the vibrant and vintage building, a Nevada City landmark, and learn tales of its ghostly past... and present.

You'll need to book a two-night stay at the hotel to enjoy the complimentary peek-around, flickering fun which will take you into the various nooks and crannies of the atmospheric inn. Your guide? That role will be filled by the hotel's general manager, Anthony Jones, who will arrive with numerous tales to tell. The Haunted by History tours aren't the only treats on the hotel's calendar; look also for A Phantom of the Opera Dining Experience, which will mask-up for a meal of marvels at the National Bar near the end of the month (Oct. 26, to be precise). That's a gorgeous time to visit the foliage-lush town, which is famous for its brilliant red, gold, and orange trees as Halloween grows closer. For everything happening this autumn at the National Exchange Hotel, haunt this site now or ring the hotel for more information.

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A Pair of California Hotels Mine History for a New Chapter

August 17th 2022: Jessica Ritz

Restoring two of California’s oldest, most storied hotels was not technically an adaptive reuse project, but the scope of the undertaking was no less daunting. “It was instantly both exciting and terrifying,” says Acme Hospitality managing partner and owner Sherry Villanueva, recalling her initial 2018 visit to the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, California and the National Exchange Hotel in nearby Nevada City. The landmarked properties were built during the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, and are located four miles apart in the Sierra Nevada foothills—approximately an hour drive from Sacramento.

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Westward Whoa: 6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations in the West

July 18th 2022: Leilani Marie Labong

Nevada City, California: For a Gold Country weekend, check in to the historic National Exchange Hotel, an old Victorian building painstakingly renovated by Acme Hospitality and newly bedecked in the luxuriant floral patterns of vintage William Morris wallpaper and storied furniture. (One refurbished love seat in bordello-burgundy velvet is from the set of the original Psycho.) At the on-site restaurant named after eccentric old-school burlesque dancer Lola Montez, who famously walked around Nevada City with her pet bear on a leash, feast on fried artichoke hearts, roasted bone marrow, and smoked salmon chowder before catching a sultry lounge act next door at the National Bar.

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Diablo Magazine
One Fine Weekend in California Gold Country

June 17th 2022

Built in 1856, the National Exchange Hotel is arguably the grand dame of the neighborhood; even if you’re not staying here, you’ll want to spend some time dining at its French-inspired restaurant, Lola, or enjoying the ambience of the National Bar. Dedicated to the women of the Wild West, the bar is decorated with personality-laden historic photographs.

In the late 1800s, the National was Nevada City’s social center—boasting a saloon, a bank, a post office, and the companies that would later become Pacific Gas and Electric, in addition to lodging. A contemporary hot topic at the National is its wallpaper, as vivid William Morris paper artfully covers what seems like every room in the recently renovated property. History buffs will want to book room 313, where President Herbert Hoover lived long before making the move to Washington, D.C.

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Relive California’s past with 5 reimagined hotels

June 11th 2022

The pandemic spurred an even greater love for far-flung destinations away from city life. These areas breathe air/life back into your soul and quite frankly, they may not have been on your radar until the pandemic. Lovingly renovated by a team of locally skilled artisans, designers, and craftspeople, this 38-room property originally opened in 1856 in Nevada City, California, and now is re-created as an intentional unique experience celebrating the past. The sophisticated National Exchange Hotel tells a story through its décor and design – some original artifacts from 1800 and some sourced, donated, or reimagined. The hotel is a national landmark located near Tahoe and about 45 minutes from Truckee. Once a Gold Rush refuge, the area continues to be a thriving hub for creatives.

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Mining Memories in Nevada City

June 6th 2022

It’s an eight-hour trek by car from our parts to Nevada City, but if you love history, historic hotels with a hip edge, and mountain scenery, it’s worth the miles. Located approximately 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, Nevada City was once a booming mining town – and they play off their past. A recently restored historic hotel – one of the oldest continuing lodgings west of the Rockies – has undergone a major facelift and is a mix of 21st century style and comfort with a huge nod to the past. All this is thanks to Santa Barbara’s talented Sherry Villanueva of Acme Hospitality Group, who seems to like historic venues and menus (think La Paloma restaurant, formerly the Paradise Café). BY LESLIE WESTBROOK

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The National Exchange Hotel in Eater San Francisco
10 Destination Restaurants in Nevada City and Grass Valley

May 26th 2022

LOLA: The renovated National Exchange hotel, the younger sister property to the neighboring Holbrooke, is filled with design eye candy and hosts the city’s newest fine dining restaurant. Lola has a French-Californian vibe — think cheesy onion soup and steak tartare served with a baguette — and a classy atmosphere accented by tufted velvet booths and intimate lighting. For brunch, a croque-madame or a quiche, paired with the day’s newspaper, will deliver proper vacation vibes.

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FOOD FINDS: Standout spots for your road trip off the beaten path.

May June 2022:

Built in 1856, The National Exchange is a historic Nevada City landmark at the base of the Sierra foothills, with easy walking access to saloons, restaurants, shops, and a bucolic hike down to the Yuba River suspension bridge. The Vic- torian-style hotel has many fascinating nooks and crannies amid the William Morris wallpaper, but you’ll want to base yourself in THE NATIONAL BAR or at French restaurant LOLA, which could hold its own next to Bouchon in Napa or Bicyclette in L.A. With executive chef Tom Bevitori at the helm, you’ll enjoy standouts like French onion soup, wal- nut pâté, steak frites, and chocolate pudding cake. And this is one time in your life you should definitely not skip breakfast or brunch—with spinach quiche, croque madamd, and mushroom tartine on offer.

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Travel + Leisure Magazine
After the Gold Rush

Hotels Issue - May 2022:

With the revival of a historic hotel, a former mining town in California kicks off the dust-and discovers some hidden gems. By Eleni N. Gage

THE FIRST TIME I saw Nevada City, California, I turned to my sister, Marina, and said, "I can't believe there's a place that still looks like this."

What really stunned me was Broad Street, the main drag. 11 looked like a film set for a western, dominated by two prime examples of the Mother Lode style of architecture: the 1865 Nevada Theatre -one of the oldest in California, where Mark Twain once spoke-and the 1856 National Exchange Hotel, where Twain, and any other bigwigs who came to town, slept...

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Sactown Magazine
US Presidents

May June 2022:

It's no surprise that two Northern California landmarks-the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley and The National Exchange located 4 miles away in Nevada City, sister lodgings built post-Gold Rush have hosted their fair share of American historical figures, given the region's literal gilded past. U.S. President Herbert Hoover stayed at The National, while oral history suggests that commanders-in-chief like Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, James Garfield and Benjamin Harrison visited the Holbrooke.

Other notable guests at The National have included U.S. Senator George Hearst along with his suffragette wife, National PTA founder Phoebe, and their media-magnate in-the-making son William Randolph -- and Mark Twain, then a regular lecturer at the Nevada Theatre. Modern-day visitors can walk the same hallowed halls and snag some shut-eye in the same fabled rooms as these American legends.

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805 Living Magazine
PROSPECTOR’S PARADISE

The Travel Issue - May 2022:

Sister hotels in historic Nevada County celebrate the spirit of long-ago visitors who came in search of the mother lode.

The National Exchange’s second floor, known as the Grand Lounge, used to be the main entrance. Today, the ballroom-sized space is the heart of the hotel, framed by an expansive, u-shaped, golden-yellow couch and crowned with six round chandeliers, each with 150 bulbs and beveled mirrors that send light dancing around the ceiling. “We knew this hotel was leaning feminine, and it had to be grand,” says Doug Washington, one of the designers on the team. “You don’t get much grander than a tufted couch that’s 100 feet long and moves around a whole room.”

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11 Reasons to Drive to Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District

March 24th 2022:

Grass Valley and Nevada City are home to two historic hotels that recently underwent major renovations under new ownership, outfitting them with modern comforts while bringing back the architectural and design details of the Gold Rush era. The Victorian-style National Exchange Hotel first opened in 1856 and holds the designation of being one of the oldest continuously run hotels west of the Rockies—outside of a fire that briefly shut the hotel down in 1863—as well as being recognized in the National Register of Historic Places and as a California Historical Landmark.

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Waking Up the Wild West

March 1st 2022:

Santa Barbara’s very own Acme Hospitality recently undertook an authentic remodel of its two historic boutique hotels, the Holbrooke and National Exchange, respectively located in Grass Valley and Nevada City, California.

“Acme’s three-year remodel has Produced an environment more Authentic to the ethos of the era Than perhaps the era itself.”

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The National Exchange Hotel Vs. Holbrooke Hotel in Northern California

February 17th 2022:

Emerging from an extensive, multi-year restoration, a pair of California’s oldest hotels — The National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City and the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley — are giving guests a new way to strike travel gold. Built during the Gold Rush, both hotels offer the romance and intrigue that guests crave, but with an upscale and modern experience that this stretch of Gold Country has never seen before, thanks to massive renovations undertaken by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Acme Hospitality.

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Old Glory

December 2021:

The National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City and Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley feature refined elegance and historic charm, along with delectable food and drink. Unwind from the grind and take a trip to the captivating Gold Rush towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley, just an hour and a half from Reno. Better yet, treat yourself to a stay at The National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City or Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.

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Sacramento Magazine
Sacramento Magazine: Wild West luxury

November 2021:
Nevada City, the National Exchange Hotel reopened this past spring after a three-year closure for renovation. The results: fabulous. The hotel, which opened in 1856, began as a gathering spot and communication hub - the stage coach stopped right outside its barroom doors, and it housed the first telegraph office in Northern California in the late 1800s and later, till 1942, a post office...

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Lonely Planet logo on image of Lake Tahoe
Lonely Planet: See mining towns and mountain tops on these Lake Tahoe road trips

Aug 27 2021:
Next, you’ll arrive in Nevada City, where you must stop at The National Exchange Hotel – a destination itself, originally built during the Gold Rush in 1856. The building’s architecture reflects the style of its Victorian-era roots. Here, guests can check out the 38 unique rooms, the 400 pieces of art or dine at the new restaurant, Lola.

Smithsonian Magazine article about Nevada City, CA
The 15 Best Small Towns To Visit In 2021

June 07 2021:
The National Exchange Hotel, an 1856 Victorian brick property that’s also one of the oldest continuously operating hotels west of the Rockies, underwent a massive renovation. Now reopened, this historic 38-guest-room treasure pairs vintage furnishings with modern amenities (think electric kettles and Italian linens).

Edge Media Network
A Gay Goldrush of a Good Time in Nevada City, California

June 01 2021:
Roaring back to life (which began even before the pandemic) after hibernation, Nevada City's crown jewel, the historic National Exchange Hotel, had just reopened, its vintage splendor rejuvenated in a top-to-bottom three-year overhaul.

NBC Los Angeles
NBC Los Angeles: Admire a Gold Country Hotel's Elegant, Ye Olde Renovation

May 21 2021:
...if you had to select a single stately structure that stands tall on Broad, you'd surely look to the grand National Exchange Hotel, with its sizable second-story balcony, pressed ceilings, ornate details, picturesque stairs, and cinematic air.

Sacramento Magazine
Sacramento Magazine: Small Towns: Nevada City

April 21 2021:
Here’s one from our series on small towns in the foothills, with some highlights from our visits. This picturesque foothill town has preserved its historic downtown to such charming proportions that it’s impossible not to walk a little slower as you wander along the wooden sidewalks.

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