The following article appeared in the Silicon Valley Business Journal on March 4, 2016:
Downtown Los Altos, among the Peninsula’s most charming and upscale downtowns, has somehow gone more than a hundred years without a hotel to grace its tree-lined streets. Abigail Ahrens changed all that.
Last January, she opened her Enchanté Boutique Hotel, a 19-room property designed in a French chateau style that took years to plan and develop. At the community open house, 500 people showed up to welcome it to town.
“It was like an Apple Store on steroids,” she said.
Ahrens, who has designed and built more than 100 homes in the community, considers the project her crowning achievement. It integrates many passions: Design, dogs, entertaining, France — and, of course, the city of Los Altos. “I’ll never be able to write a huge check like Mrs. Packard,” she said on a recent visit. “However, this hotel will write a check for a couple hundred thousand dollars each year.” (in the form of sales and occupancy taxes).
Unfailingly gracious, Ahrens greets a reporter she has never met like an old friend, offering coffee and homemade breakfast in the sun-drenched dining room. When the visitor mispronounces the hotel’s name “in-CHAN-tay,” she is considerate enough not to correct, and instead drops a cool “awn-shawn-TAY” in conversation. A few minutes later, her two impeccably coiffed yorkies — Fleur de Lis and Paris France — arrive with their handler.
Ahrens is a legend in Los Altos and a pioneer in real estate who started doing development in Morgan Hill decades ago. “There were no women in real estate,” she said. “But I learned how to subdivide and build. Learned the easements and water agreements and so forth.”
Inside Enchanté, there’s a story for just about everything, and Ahrens is happy to explain it all: The Napoleon-style hat she found at a French flea market, the enormous vaisselier that came from a antiquing trip in southeastern France, and the sturdy wood breakfast table that came from her own home.
Read the entire article by Nathan Donato-Weinstein – Real Estate Reporter at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.