Major upgrades planned for Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
The new owners of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel say they are contemplating taking the Big Island property upscale.
CarVal Investors of Minnetonka, Minn., the majority owner, and Japan-based Capital Medica Co. Ltd. purchased the 286-room hotel in July for an undisclosed price. The seller, Tonichi Carlife Group Corp. of Japan, had owned the three-star hotel since 1991.
The hotel's 150 to 160 employees are being retained along with its existing operator, Castle Resorts & Hotels, said Capital Medica senior associate Hiroaki Kuroiwa in a phone interview from Japan.
Representatives from CarVal Investors couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
The new owners are planning major improvements to the property, built in 1975 and last renovated in 1993.
Details of the renovation haven't been determined, Kuroiwa said, adding that the new owners must first improve the parking lot, restaurant space, air conditioning system and a number of deferred maintenance items.
The new owners, who were attracted to the hotel because of its proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, hope to keep the property open during renovations.
"We're trying to maximize the value of the hotel," Kuroiwa said. "The hotel is very attractive for us because it's a three-star hotel and the hotel services are good. But there is more room for us to improve the services. Maybe if we renovate the hotel, it's going to be upgraded to a four or five star."
Rates for a standard room range from $145 to $185 per night, while the most luxurious, one-bedroom suite is priced at $385 to $435 per night.
So far, the new owners have done limited upgrades to the property including adding high-speed Internet access in each room.
CarVal Investors, founded in 1987, currently manages more than $13 billion in assets worldwide including loan portfolios, real estate, corporate securities and other diverse asset classes.
Capital Medica, created in 2002, invests in real estate, underperforming loans and hospitals that are in bankruptcy or near bankrupt. It also invests capital to rejuvenate distressed private companies primarily in Asia.
The Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is the Japan company's first U.S. purchase, though it is actively seeking to acquire more hotels in the islands, Kuroiwa said.