Dell venture takes over Hualalai resort
Michael Dell's MSD Capital and Rockpoint Group have bought the luxury Four Seasons property
A joint venture including computer mogul Michael Dell has acquired the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island, setting the stage for a potential expansion of one of Hawaii's top resort properties.
The acquisition by Dell's MSD Capital LP and Rockpoint Group LLC is expected to be announced today, confirming repeated rumors about a potential sale by Tokyo-based Kajima Corp.
The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, gives the MSD-Rockpoint joint venture ownership of both the Four Seasons and an 865-acre, master-planned community, Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu. The property includes single-family homes, villas and undeveloped lots; two 18-hole golf courses and the AAA-rated Five Diamond Four Seasons resort, which has 243 rooms in one- and two-story detached bungalows. The community is located on the Kona-Kohala coast.
Sources familiar with the deal said the new owners envision some sort of expansion. One source said the owners have considered expanding the resort's spa and adding up to 120 new hotel rooms and as many as 200 new homes. Todd Fogarty, a spokesman for MSD Capital, declined to comment on expansion plans, saying the acquisition had just closed.
The new owners were clear, however, about one thing: They plan to maintain the standards of service that have made Hualalai one of the world's top vacation spots. Among other distinctions, the property has been selected for several years as Zagat Survey's No. 1 resort in the United States, as well as by Travel + Leisure magazine as the top hotel in Hawaii and top hotel spa in North America and the Caribbean.
"The buyer group has demonstrated a deep commitment to Hualalai and to preserving its legacy, and we are delighted this master-planned resort will be in such caring and capable hands going forward," said Eiji Iwahashi, president and chief executive of the Kajima affiliate that previously owned the resort.
The property is the second Four Seasons resort that Dell has acquired in Hawaii. MSD Capital's portfolio also includes the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.
"As we look to further enhance the reputation of Hualalai as one of the world's premier resorts, we will draw on our capabilities as long-term investors, our experience in Hawaii and our extensive familiarity with the resort itself," said Barry Sholem, head of MSD Capital's Real Estate Group.
Rockpoint, a global investment management firm, also affirmed its desire to "to maintain the resort's pre-eminence."
The transition to new ownership is to be seamless for guests, homeowners and employees.
"The buyer group has extended offers of employment to all employees, management and staff," Iwahashi said. "It was very important to Kajima that its loyal employees do not lose their jobs as a result of this sale. They are the heart of Hualalai."