When Unity Village’s third Airbnb property, Hummingbird Chateau, opened in the fall of 2022, I was eager to see it because the house has always held special meaning for me. It was my home for three years while I was a seminary student, beginning in 2006. I have many fond memories of study groups in the garden and communal meals in the kitchen of what we called the student hotel—a popular hub of student life.
My long, narrow room back then was half of a large second-floor sunroom that had been divided. Its big windows gave me a view of the golf course and Unity Tower. For many decades, ministerial students like me made it their home.
While the great views and the English Cotswold-style exterior are the same today, the interior has changed dramatically with the renovation. The main floor now features a bright, modern kitchen, a large sunken living room (with the original stone fireplace converted to electric), and one bedroom with a king-size bed. Upstairs are two bedrooms with two queen-size beds in each and a third bedroom with one queen bed plus a pullout sofa—for a maximum capacity of 14 guests. The three and a half bathrooms rival anything you’d find in a luxury hotel.
The house was built in 1925 for Laura Radcliffe McMahon, an early follower of Unity School of Christianity. This is the only private residence ever built on the Unity Village campus. Litigation over the property followed McMahon’s death in 1926. After the court found in favor of Unity, a policy followed that all campus residences from then on would be owned by Unity. The building was first known as the McMahon Hotel and later as Casa de los Amigos and sometimes simply “the hotel” (before the Unity Hotel and Conference Center was built in 2006).
I recently took a tour with my friend Rev. Ken Daigle, who also lived in the house as a ministerial student and is now the senior minister of Unity San Francisco, California, as well as a member of the Unity World Headquarters Board of Directors.
As a student resident, Daigle created a vision board imagining what the house could look like if renovated. He also had a passion for gardening. “When I lived here,” he told me, “it was my practice to garden as I meditated. The renovation is amazing, in part because the house has two spacious patios surrounded by nature and gardens.” One patio features a large gas firepit.
“I spent a lot of my time restoring the gardens here,” Daigle recalled, “but it was always my vision to see the whole house restored.” Once plans were set to renovate the building, his church donated significantly to make the project happen, using a windfall from the sale of a church-owned property.
“It was the logical choice,” he said. “Now many people can enjoy the beauty of this home, the lush gardens, and the serenity and peace of Unity Village.”
To reserve Hummingbird Chateau or either of the other two Airbnb properties on campus (Fillmore Manor and Hummingbird Vista), visit airbnb.com.
This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.