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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Marriott sells Kaua'i resort, but will continue to manage it

Advertiser Staff

Marriott International Inc. sold the Kaua'i Marriott Resort & Beach Club but will continue to manage the Lihu'e property, which was known as the Westin Kaua'i before being heavily damaged in Hurricane Iniki.

Hospitality Properties Trust of Newton, Mass., said yesterday it bought four hotels from Marriott, including the 356-room Kaua'i Marriott, for $101.5 million. Hospitality Properties is a real estate investment trust which owns hotels but does not operate them. It works closely with Marriott and already had purchased 31 hotels from Marriott and leased them back to the company.

"Nothing changes," said Stan Brown, Marriott's vice president for the Pacific islands. "No change in name, no change in management. It is a seamless transaction." The 600 employees will remain, he added.

Marriott's strategy is to operate hotels but not own them, Brown said. Marriott paid a little over $50 million for the hotel in 1994. Brown said the Kaua'i Marriott was sold at a profit but would not give the specific price.

Marriott acquired the former Westin Kaua'i in 1994, two years after Hurricane Iniki forced the hotel to close. The Westin, built by developer Chris Hemmeter, was known for its two-acre reflecting pond, horse statues and fountains. Marriott gave the hotel a more Hawaiian theme replacing the French-style fountains with gardens, koi ponds and hardwood benches and by displaying a historic canoe, the "Princess," once surfed by Prince Jonah Kuhio, in the lobby.

Hemmeter's original development cost was said to be around $350 million.

Marriott converted the property into a 356-room hotel and a 232-unit timeshare operation, the Kaua'i Beach Club. The timeshare units sold out earlier this year, Brown said.

The three other hotels in the package deal are in California and Washington state.