Maui resortA luxury resort owner affiliated with billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has acquired the 450-unit Kea Lani Hotel on Maui.
sold to firm linked
to Saudi prince
The Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea
will be Hawaii's first under the
growing Fairmont brand
By Rick Daysog
Canadian Pacific Ltd., which owns the Fairmont hotel chain with Alwaleed, has acquired a majority stake in the award-winning Wailea oceanfront hotel from Kea Lani L.P. The price was not disclosed, but under terms of the deal, several Kea Lani L.P. investors will retain a minority interest in the 22-acre property.
None of Kea Lani's 600 employees will be affected by the deal, a hotel spokeswoman said.
Calgary-based Canadian Pacific said the hotel will be operated by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts starting in the second quarter. The hotel will be the first in Hawaii under the fast-growing Fairmont brand, which operates hotels throughout North America and the Caribbean.
Alwaleed, nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and one of the world's wealthiest investors, with a net worth estimated at about $20 billion, owns a 16 percent interest in Fairmont.
"Fairmont has been looking at Hawaii for quite some time," said Joseph Toy, president and chief executive officer of Hospitality Advisors L.L.C., a local consulting firm. "This fits nicely with their high-end portfolio of resorts."
The Kea Lani previously was managed by Landmark Hotels, which is headed by Chuck Sweeney, who developed the Kea Lani. Sweeney also is a co-founder of Trinity Investment Trust L.L.C., which is one of Kea Lani L.P.'s investors.
Other partners in Kea Lani L.P. include Goldman Sachs Group's Whitehall Street Fund and Wall Street dealmaker Leon Black's Apollo Real Estate Advisors L.P.
The Kea Lani is the latest in a string of luxury Hawaii hotels to change hands over the past year. For example, the Blackstone Group, led by former U.S. Commerce Secretary and former Lehman Bros. honcho Peter Pearson, is acquiring the 803-room Hyatt Regency Maui. Marriott International Inc. acquired the 1,304-room Hawaiian Regent Hotel in Waikiki for $125.5 million in November.
The Kea Lani, well known for its Mediterranean motifs, was designed by architect Jose Luis Esquerra, who designed the Las Hadas resort in Mexico.
The Maui resort, which opened in 1991, has enjoyed a relatively high occupancy rate of about 80 percent.
Canadian Pacific owns a 67 percent interest in Fairmont, which is one of the world's largest operators of luxury hotels, with 38 properties throughout the United States, Canada, Barbados and Mexico.