inn at Los GatosA decade ago, the Inn of Los Gatos — then known as the Los Gatos Motor Inn — was not a place you’d want to be seen checking in. Prostitution, drugs and general seediness were hallmarks of the motel on Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, right off Highway 17.

“The occupancy rate was 5 percent, maybe two rooms a night, and those weren’t the customers you wanted,” said Gavin McClements, general manager of the refurbished inn that now advertises itself with the catchphrase, “Affordable Luxury.” In 2006, McClements and his wife, Lilia, were hired by new owners who wanted the couple to help clean up the place. (Among the changes immediately made was requiring a credit card deposit, which quickly chased out the cash-only commerce.)

It’s been quite a turnaround for the former rundown motel, which originally opened in 1963 and underwent a nearly two-year renovation that was first approved by the town in 2008. It boasts 48 redecorated rooms that include touches like flat-screen TVs and ceiling fans. Enlarged reproductions of vintage postcards featuring Los Gatos line the lobby and its adjacent business conference room, something the old Motor Inn had no need for. A restaurant to be operated by Andrew Welch, owner of the Basin in Saratoga, is expected to open on the property next summer.

“It’s been a long process to get us to the point where we have something we’re really proud of,” McClements said.

By Sal Pizarro at Mercury News.