Hawaii Hotel Fetches $200M

Continuing its portfolio upgrade, Xenia Hotels & Resorts sold its leasehold interest in the 693-key Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu, four years after acquiring the property for $183 million.

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, Honolulu
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, Honolulu

As part of its portfolio transformation, Xenia Hotels & Resorts Inc. has let go of the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, a premier property in Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The lodging REIT sold its leasehold interest in the 693-key hotel in a $200 million transaction with an unidentified buyer.

The change in ownership of the Aston Waikiki comes four years after Xenia—then a subsidiary of Inland American Lodging Group Inc.—acquired the Hawaii hotel for $183 million. It’s an asset that’s hard to ignore. Sited along Waikiki Beach at 2570 Kalakaua Ave., the 23-story hotel tower is also home to 3,300 square feet of meeting space, and more than 19,000 square feet of retail offerings. Despite the prime location and alluring amenities, however, the hotel no longer meets Xenia’s criteria. But there’s a method to what may be seen by some as madness.

“Although Oahu is a market with limited supply growth, this Two Diamond hotel became less of a fit for our company as we have upgraded our portfolio and further refined our strategic focus,” Marcel Verbaas, CEO of Xenia Hotels & Resorts Inc., said in a prepared statement. “The hotel’s competitive position has weakened as the competition has significantly improved its product over the past two years. With less than 40 years remaining on the ground lease and considerable capital required to position the hotel more competitively in the market, the opportunity to take advantage of significant investment interest in Hawaii was too compelling to pass up.”

With the goal of creating a portfolio of luxury and upper upscale hotels in the country’s 25 leading lodging markets and leisure destinations, Xenia will continue to facilitate the disposition of the remaining 5 percent of its holdings that doesn’t dovetail with its portfolio strategy. The company plans to use the proceeds from the sale of the Aston Waikiki for general corporate purposes, which may include new acquisitions.

Hot in Hawaii

Hawaii’s lodging market has moved up on investors’ radar—way up. In 2017, Hawaii surpassed New York as the state with the highest volume of single-asset transactions, recording $1.7 billion in sales, according to a report by commercial real estate services firm JLL.

Big-ticket transactions in 2017 included a deal stemming from Trinity Investments and Oaktree Capital Management’s formation of a $3 billion hotel joint venture focused on certain core markets, including Hawaii. The partners paid $317 million for the 759-key Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali. Blackstone turned heads with the $332.5 million purchase of the 452-key Turtle Bay Resort Kahuku – Oahu, and the global asset management firm attracted more attention in January 2018 with reports that it will acquire the 776-key Grand Wailea in a whopping $1.1 billion transaction. Per the JLL report, “Investors’ focus on resort markets is expected to hold strong in 2018.”

 Image courtesy of Xenia Hotels & Resorts