After surviving two near-death experiences, veteran hotel executive Roger Bloss became a believer in the healing powers of medical marijuana. Now he's planning a chain of 420-friendly hotels featuring a dispensary and wellness goods and services in each to educate global guests about the health-enhancing aspects of cannabis.
Bloss, president of the hospitality division of Las Vegas-based MJ Holdings, Inc., is leading his company's plan to break ground soon on the 120-room Coachill Inn in Desert Hot Springs, California. It's scheduled to open in late 2019. Three additional hotels in Colorado, California, and Las Vegas are expected to follow, then an international expansion is planned.
The Coachill Inn is named after and will sit within the Coachillin' Canna-Business Park in Desert Hot Springs. Covering 160 acres, the 3-million-square-foot business park is a cannabis incubator where companies can operate and dispense. Along with its own sustainable cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, processing, laboratory testing, distribution, and education facilities, Coachillin' Holdings LLC is selling parcels and leasing building facilities.
Renderings on the website show plans not only for growing and testing cannabis, but also for a tourism center, a brewery, education and art installations. Outdoor recreation will include a lazy-river pool that taps into the area's natural hot springs and an amphitheater for live entertainment. The site derives its vibe from the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival in nearby Indio.
The wellness hotels will supplement their in-house dispensaries with cannabis concierges, restaurants offering cannabis-infused food and drinks, as well as hemp-based linens, robes, and other boutique-worthy amenities. The Las Vegas hotel concept includes a gym.
Bloss' plan to create cannabis hotels comes after four decades as a hotel operator. As the former CEO of Vantage Hospitality Group, Bloss franchised more than 1,000 hotels under brands such as America's Best Value Inns and Country Inns & Suites before selling the company to Red Lion Hotels in 2016.
Bloss led a hard-charging executive's life before nearly dying a decade ago from a “widowmaker” heart attack. Months later, he survived driving his vehicle off a cliff in California, a horrific crash that severely injured his back and badly bruised his ribs and shoulder.
“I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything,” Bloss said.
Although he initially took narcotic medication to relieve the pain and stress as he recovered, he wanted an alternative: “I know myself — I didn't want to be addicted to opioids.”
He sought to be healthy as he recovered, starting with giving up his intense business traveling routine.
“I literally laid on the floor with a speakerphone and ran the company from there,” Bloss said. “I couldn't sit in an airplane seat.”
Medical marijuana was legal in California, so Bloss got an authorization to use it. After much trial and error, he found the right balance that eased his symptoms without impairing his mental function.
“Now I use a topical cream and that makes it easy to travel with and it works for me without all of the side effects of opioids,” Bloss said. He attributes his recovery to the healing powers of cannabis and a lifestyle change.
Bloss first considered a cannabis business when a potential franchisee sold his hotels to invest in a cannabis company and asked him to invest, too. His attorney found a better option: MJ Holdings Inc., which had purchased a company with a grow license in Nevada.
MJ Holdings develops desktop and mobile social, meetup, and wellness apps, and educational materials for licensed medical professionals. The company also matches patients with medical professionals knowledgeable about the therapeutic effects and uses of cannabinoids.
Bloss expects the hotels will serve travelers who come to the Coachella Valley for business, tourism and the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals. The U-shaped building will feature rooms with balconies where guests can smoke since smoking isn't allowed indoors.
In Las Vegas, the hotel will emphasize “agritourism,” leaving the entertainment to Vegas casinos. MJ Holdings has a 37-acre site for growing marijuana and hemp.
Although MJ Holding's two other planned hotels in California and Colorado may be marketed under the Coachill Inn brand, Bloss said the company has copyrighted another name that may be used on the Las Vegas hotel: 420 Stay. There, experts would inform guests of the many methods of consuming cannabis, as well as the properties of each strain.
March 5, 2019 - This story was updated to correct credit information for renderings, which were created by David L. Wallace Architects.