Inland Buys Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel for $183M

Inland American Lodging Group made its first acquisition in Hawaii with the purchase of the 645-room Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu for $183 million.

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Inland American Lodging Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inland American Real Estate Trust, Inc., made its first acquisition in Hawaii with the purchase of the 645-room Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu for $183 million.

The name of the seller was not released by Inland. It will continue to be managed by Aston Hotels & Resorts.

The acquisition is part of Inland American’s repositioning into luxury and upper-upscale properties.

“This acquisition was a strategic fit with our lodging portfolio’s long-term business and investment strategy to invest in luxury, upper-upscale and urban-upscale properties in top 25 markets,” Marcel Verbaas, president & CEO of Inland American Lodging Advisor, Inc., told Commercial Property Executive. “A primary driver of this acquisition was its ideal positioning in a high barrier-to-entry market, providing the opportunity to achieve premium RevPAR growth. In addition, the opportunity to further diversify our portfolio was of particular appeal.”

He noted that Oahu continues to be the one of the top performing hotel markets in the United States.

“We have been evaluating and analyzing the Oahu market, and it’s been a market we wanted to get into when the timing and opportunity was right,” Verbaas said.

Asked if the REIT was looking to make more purchases in Hawaii, Verbaas said, “We will continue to look for the right assets to match our ongoing portfolio strategy to enhance our lodging portfolio in key strategic lodging markets, including the Hawaiian Islands.”

The 23-floor hotel is located on Waikiki Beach on Kalakaua Avenue. It has 42 suites, most of which have private balconies overlooking the beach. The hotel features 3,300 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the Coconut Club, which has an ocean-front terrace. The property has 19,400 square feet of retail space fully leased by retailers and restaurants including Wolfgang Puck’s Express and Tiki’s Bar & Grill.

Inland American Lodging Advisor, located in Orlando, Fla., currently oversees 102 hotels with 19,589 rooms under various Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt, Fairmont, Kimpton and IHG brands that are managed either by the brand managers or independent third-party management companies. The REIT had a particularly active second half of 2013, making at least 11 acquisitions since August, including the purchase of two Andaz hotels in California and Georgia for about $115 million. In November, Inland American continued its pursuit of luxury properties by picking up three Hotel Monaco assets from Kimpton for $189 million in Chicago, Denver and Salt Lake City. The firm started off 2014 by announcing it had formed two joint ventures with Kessler Enterprises for a total of $68.5 million to develop luxury boutique hotels in Charleston, S.C., and Mountain Brook, Ala.

Inland American isn’t the only firm eyeing hotels in the Hawaiian Islands. Last week, a partnership between Woodridge Capital Partners, L.L.C. and Colony Capital, L.L.C. acquired The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua Resort in Maui. The sales price wasn’t released, but the firms noted that the 22-year-old resort had undergone a $190 million renovation in 2007 and they expected to do more upgrades. The luxury resort is set on 54 oceanfront acres and has an AAA Five-Diamond rating.

The interest in Hawaiian hotels isn’t surprising as tourism has rebounded after the recession. The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported a record 8.2 million visitors to the islands in 2013 with expenditures reaching $14.2 billion. The tourism group said the 2013 total surpassed 2012’s record of 8,028,742 visitors by 2.6 percent.