Kauai Beach Resort turning from Hilton to Aqua
Looks like more change is afoot at one of Kauai’s east side luxury resorts and condo-tel properties, the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort. Aqua Hotels and Resorts took over management of the property a couple of months ago and was negotiating with the Hilton franchise for the continuation of using the Hilton moniker. According to the reports of several owners at the resort, Hilton had a list of improvements they were requesting including redoing the bathrooms in each unit. The upgrades would have created additional costs for the owners. After a couple months of conversation, word came out this week that effective Jan. 1, the hotel would no longer be a Hilton.
The Kauaâ€˜i Beach Resort will operate with a new, Hawaiâ€˜i-based identity beginning on Jan.1, 2010Â The hotel, which completed a full renovation in 2006, will continue to offer its full dining and entertainment amenities. This change will allow the Kauaâ€˜i Beach Resort to establish a more local and unique image, promoting its 350 deluxe hotel guestrooms, four pools/spas and waterslide and Kauaiâ€™s longest strolling stretch of white sand beach.
The stability of the Kauaâ€˜i Beach Resort was made possible in July when the commercial real estate finance company iStar Financial acquired the commercial and many hotel units at the Resort through foreclosure and appointed the highly regarded Aqua Hotels & Resorts to manage the property under the direction of iStarâ€™s local company, SFI Kauaâ€˜i Owner LLC. iStar Financial currently owns 145 hotel units and 16 commercial units at the Kauai Beach Resort as well including the lounge, restaurants and ballrooms. Occupancy for the resort has been around 65% this fall which is extremely good for the current tourism climate. It’s hard to tell whether iStar actually provided the loans for the original developer so iStar could wind up in the hotel business, or it’s more profitable for iStar to hold onto the rooms and rent them rather than selling into a distressed market.
While the loss of the Hilton brand may possibly effect revenues (like travelers who come to Kauai on their Hilton points) for the owners, Aqua is an excellent brand, with a commitment to make this resort one of the finest in the islands. Aqua manages a number of hotels on Oahu and their reputation is stellar. From what i hear, the condotel owners have been impressed and pleased with changes to the resort in Aqua’s short time of managing the property.
Most of the units currently available for purchase at the resort are Kauai short sales or Kauai REO (bank-owned) units.Â At the sub $100,000 pricing, these units are some of the most affordable oceanfront units available on the entire island of Kauai and in the state of Hawaii.