HFF Closes Sale of Beach Resort in Naples, Fla.

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has made its first acquisition in Naples, Fla.
La Playa Beach Resort 2015 Email

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has made its first acquisition in Naples, Fla., and its third in the state with the purchase of the LaPlaya Beach Resort, a 189-key, luxury boutique resort on the Gulf of Mexico for $185.5 million.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. marketed the property on behalf of the seller, a partnership between affiliates of Halstatt and Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. Pebblebrook said the property will continue to be managed by Noble House under a new operating agreement.

The purchase price includes the waterfront luxury resort, LaPlaya Beach Club, a private members club, and the leasehold interest in a 23-slip marina on the Vanderbilt Bay side of the property. The six-acre, full-service resort has 600 feet of frontage on Vanderbilt Beach. Built in 1968, it underwent a $54 million renovation in 2002. The hotel’s meeting facilities have a combined 11,620 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Other features include the Baleen restaurant and SpaTerre, a 4,500-square-foot spa.  The LaPlaya Golf Course was not included in the sale but it will continue to serve hotel guests and Club members.

“The resort is uniquely located on the beach and within one of the most affluent coastal resort communities in the country, offering a full array of best-in-class amenities, dining and shopping venues and dozens of world-renowned golf courses,” Jon Bortz, chairman & CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based Pebblebrook, said in a news release.

Bortz stated the Noble House management has a “great understanding of, and excellent experience with operating unique, world-class, casual luxury, boutique resorts.”

Noble House Founder & Chairman Patrick Colee added in the release, “We believe that LaPlaya offers tremendous growth potential, and we are eager to create additional value at this exceptional property.”

The resort was “aggressively pursued by both public and private companies,” HFF managing director Max Comess said in a release from HFF.

The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing director and head of HFF’s hotel group Daniel Peek, Comess, director Chris Drew and real estate analysts Alexandra Lalos and Maxx Carney.

“The purchase and sale of LaPlaya is significant and underlines the continued strong recovery of the resort sector nationwide and the broad institutional appeal of this segment,” Peek said in the HFF statement. “There has never been greater demand for this asset class in the global real estate capital markets than today.”

Comess said investors’ interest was fueled by the “exceptionally strong performance of the hotel, its best-in-class management team, pristine physical condition and high barriers against competition.”

Lalos said in the release that Naples has emerged in recent years “as one of the most exciting and strongest growth markets in the U.S. across all real estate classes.”

The Naples hotel market has been growing rapidly and had record tourism last year, including international visitation and investor interest. Citing statistics from Smith Travel Research, HFF said the Naples market had an aggregate average room rate of $202.38 and revenue per available hotel room of $136.10 in 2014. Peek said those numbers are on par with Miami and exceed the performance of other cities like Boston and Los Angeles.

LaPlaya isn’t the only Naples resort the HFF’s Hotel Group has been involved with in recent years. In October 2013, HFF marketed the Waldorf Astoria Naples on behalf of a Blackstone affiliate. The 474-key luxury resort hotel and Naples Grande Golf Course sold for $200 million to an affiliate of Northwood Investors.

The acquisition gives Pebblebrook, a REIT that targets upper-upscale, full-service hotels in major gateway cities, 36 properties in its portfolio. In Florida, it also owns the Viceroy Miami and The Westin Colonnade Coral Gables, which it purchased for $59.4 million in November. In December, the REIT made two acquisitions, including the Union Station Hotel in Nashville for $52.3 million. It also bought the Revere Hotel Boston Common, along with a parking garage and nearby vacant parcel, for $260.4 million.