Hawaii Tourism: Grand Wailea bought for 1.1 billion dollars

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It’s the most expensive single hotel transaction ever in Hawaii. It’s actually the second highest ever in the United States.

The 5-star Grand Wailea resort is changing ownership to the Blackstone Group for 1.1 billion US dollars.

New York-based Blackstone Group LP, a private equity firm, plans to purchase the Grand Wailea, according to a report in the Honolulu Advertiser.

The sale of the 776-room Grand Wailea, for the equivalent of $1.4 million per room, bodes well for the continued strength of the Hawaii hospitality investment market.

This purchase by Blackstone shows the confidence that these investors have in Hawaii. It’s great news for Hawaii. Not only are they spending top dollars to acquire the asset, but they’ll put money back into it to help increase the valuation for investment returns.

The Grand Wailea wants even higher-spending guests after the sale, and a major renovation is in the pipeline.

Blackstone acquired Turtle Bay Resort in October for roughly $330 million. In the past, the company has owned other Hawaii properties, including the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, Marriott Wailea Beach Resort Maui, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Resort, and Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.

The $1.1 billion price tag would make the Grand Wailea sale second only to the sale of Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion almost 3 years ago. China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. bought the Waldorf Astoria from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Blackstone will be buying the Grand Wailea from GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

STR forecasts that Hawaii would realize 4.5 percent hikes in average daily rate, the average price paid for a hotel room and in revenue per available room, or RevPar. Many in the hospitality industry identify RevPAR as the key performance measure for hotels since it’s the average price that a hotel realizes for each room in a property whether or not it’s occupied.

In comparison, STR forecasts that the U.S. ADR would grow 2.7 percent and U.S. RevPar would grow 2.5 percent.

And within Hawaii, Maui hotels are doing especially well.

HTA’s November hotel report, the most recent available, showed that Maui leads the islands in RevPAR. Maui’s RevPAR increased 6.5 percent year-over-year to $236.