The Design Mind: Kimberly Walker, Founder & Creative Director

The Design Mind: Kimberly Walker, Founder & Creative Director

From mid-century motels to a storied saloon, Kimberly Walker directs the design and development for every Nomada project. Her love of travel and hospitality began with a one-way ticket to London and now, many countries later, she incorporates the treasures collected from her life’s adventures into each Central Coast hotel's eclectic aesthetic.

Kimberly's first venture into the hospitality industry began at a cozy wine bar and bistro housed within a historic brick building in downtown San Luis Obispo. She called the space 'Granada' because the original 'Hotel Granada' sign (circa 1922) still hung above it. Everything there was second hand. It only had four tables illuminated by candlelight. Wine was served in antique glassware and menus were pasted into vintage books.


Then and Now: The historic Granada Hotel & Bistro in downtown San Luis Obispo


The building was eventually slated to be demolished, but Kimberly and three friends had a crazy idea at 3am while gathered around a fire at Burning Man. They would purchase the building, restore it into its original use as a hotel, save the bistro they loved so much - and they'd called themselves the Lunacy Club.

They set out on a two-year, multi-million dollar renovation intent on maintaining the unique elements of the historic property while modernizing the design, plumbing, and electrical. 


Granada Hotel & Bistro Owner/Creative Director, Kimberly Walker

"We enlisted a fabulous designer to spearhead the interiors. As much as we loved his direction, it felt disingenuous to outsource that part of the process on a project we were so passionate about. So began the journey of learning, sourcing, and collaborating with artisans," Kimberly says.

"We picked out every piece of furniture, art, fabric, song, and book. It was a true labor of love and introduced me to what would become my main focus at Nomada Hotel Group."



The magic that happened at Granada Hotel & Bistro became the blueprint for Nomada's next six projects. With each property, comes a unique story that Kimberly crafts a design around - finding inspiration in the landscape, history, and culture from which they come. 


Nomada Hotel Group Team at Skyview Los Alamos


Whether it's finding fabrics in France or making her way through markets in Morocco, Kimberly works directly with artisans both globally and locally to bring her visions to life. The result: authentic hospitality experiences that are belovedly bespoke, carefully curated, and sourced with sincerity. 


Design Concept for Nomada Deco Realized


“The design journeys we embark on with every project are rooted in history, fueled by curiosity, and traversed with artists, craftsmen, and makers along the way. Knowing the source, the materials, and the artisans has become an important part of our process,” muses Kimberly.


Kimberly Walker and Partner Artisans in Marrakech, Morocco




It’s that philosophy and attention to detail that leave Nomada Hotel Group guests yearning to return year after year. As demand has grown, Kimberly has created signature capsule collections that allow coming home to feel as sweet as checking into your favorite boutique hotel. 


When she’s not traveling the world or calling the shots on a construction site, you can find Kimberly hiking the hills of San Luis Obispo with her dog (affectionately known as ‘Shugy’) or savoring sunset - and a glass of rosé - at her home in Edna Valley.


Kimberly Walker, Nomada Hotel Group

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