When Ruby Montana packed her bags and left Seattle in 2000, it was front page news.
The Seattle Times ran a story about Ruby’s big move, and the fact that she was closing the vintage store she operated for nearly 18 years. “They ran a funny headline,” she said. “‘Montana Leaves Washington for California.'”
The same quirky treasures that filled the shelves in her store are now on display at Ruby Montana’s Coral Sands Inn, a pink, whimsy place to rest your head. As an added bonus, guests are welcome to purchase any of the collectibles on display.
“I’m more of a kitschy experience, as opposed to pure hospitality or pure mid-century,” Ruby said. “I think the Coral Sands has a sense of humor that is built-in as a result of some of that. It’s a precious little jewel of a place tucked into Las Palmas.”
The Coral Sands was built for the L.A. Rams in 1952, and has six rooms, a nine-foot pool, and a “warm, kind of embracing” atmosphere. Ruby also has small rescue dogs, and several guests have fallen in love with the dogs during their stays and after building relationships, end up adopting them.
“I love everything about this property,” Ruby said. “My favorite room is the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. It was built with stone and redwood beams; it’s like a lodge. When I stepped foot on the property, I knew immediately I wanted to be part of it. It’s a phenomenal property and works well with my nostalgia; it feels like your grandmother’s lakeside property, on a pool.”
Ruby’s fans from Seattle continue to flock to her hotel, as do return guests from Los Angeles and other environs. She loves having a “fully-integrated life,” where all she has to do is wake up and be where you need to be. “You don’t have to put on a suit and go downtown in a commute,” she said. “My commute is to the kitchen.”
Ruby also loves being around her guests. “It’s required you be a person who enjoys people, and doesn’t have a lot of boundaries,” she said. “I live at my hotel, and my friends tease me that I live in a fishbowl, because you can see in the picture window. My mother used to always say to me, ‘Honey, sometimes I wish you were a little more discerning, is there anyone you don’t like?’ Basically, not many.”
The hotel is seriously special, Ruby says, a “vortex for really incredible things happening.” It’s not unusual for guests to run into people they know, as “coincidences happen here. There’s a certain force that people feel — it’s a very magical place.”