STAR-BULLETIN / FEBRUARY 2006
Managers and employees at the iconic Ilikai hotel in Waikiki learned yesterday that the property is being sold. The property, built in 1964, is expected to undergo significant renovations.
Deal closes for 700 Ilikai rooms
The buyer has said he is in discussions with operators including Hard Rock International
The local company Anekona Properties completed its purchase of some 700 rooms at the landmark Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki hotel yesterday afternoon.
The deal was announced to the hotel management and employees at an internal meeting yesterday afternoon, though no sales price was disclosed.
The Y-shaped property, which opened in 1964, is expected to undergo significant renovations.
Brian Anderson, president of Anekona Properties, confirmed the deal yesterday, but declined to give further details.
Anderson in recent years has acquired numerous hotels in Hawaii, including the Kauai Beach Resort and Islander on the Beach on Kauai, which were converted to condominium hotels.
He also owns the Regency on Beachwalk and the 51-room W Honolulu Diamond Head boutique hotel in Waikiki.
Anekona was planning to sell the W Honolulu to an unsolicited buyer earlier this summer, but the deal fell out of escrow. It will still undergo a million-dollar renovation.
The Ilikai, at 1777 Ala Moana Blvd., was sold by Forward One LLC of California, which is connected to the Zen family of Taiwan.
Previously, the Ilikai was operated under Japan Airlines' Nikko Hotels.
Anderson said last week he was in discussions with three or four operators, including Hard Rock International, to take over management of the Ilikai. Currently, the hotel operates under Marriott's Renaissance brand.
Alan Cambra, the Ilikai's general manager under Marriott, declined comment.
Some 580 units at the Renaissance Ilikai are fee-simple condominiums owned by members of its Association of Apartment Owners. Shell Vacations, a timeshare operator, owns about 80 rooms.
Joseph Toy, president of Hospitality Advisors LLC, said new investors taking ownership of the Ilikai would help rejuvenate the Ala Moana corridor alongside the redevelopment taking place in central Waikiki.
"We've already begun to see that with the redevelopment of the Waikikian and the Tahitian Lanai," he said. "I'm confident there will be a plan to renovate and reposition the (Ilikai) to take better advantage of the market."
The Ilikai, built by the late Chinn Ho, is popular among film crews and a range of celebrities. It was the site of shots ranging from the opening credits of "Hawaii 5-0" to Bruce Willis' "Tears of the Sun."
Unite Here Local 5, which represents between 450 and 500 employees at the Ilikai, was informed of the new ownership yesterday, but has yet to set up a formal meeting.
The new ownership presents uncertainty for some of the business owners at the hotel, particularly those located in the Yacht Harbor Tower overlooking the water.
One longtime business owner, who declined to give her name, said she was informed her operation did not blend in with new design plans.