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North America

Hilton to Create Largest EV Charging Network in Hospitality Sector

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
September 7th, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT

Skift Take

  • Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on Hilton Grand Vacations with a Buy rating and a $59 price target, citing compelling stock levels.
  • Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian observed a return to offices in big cities, indicating potential growth in business transient travel.
  • Hilton plans to install up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors at 2,000 hotels in North America, creating the largest EV charging network in the hospitality industry.

The DJIA was up 58 points, but the Nasdaq was down 124, the S&P 500 fell 14 points, and the 10-year treasury yield was down .03 to 4.26%. Lodging stocks were lower on the day, but you can just stick a fork in the lodging SPAC stocks. VCSA, on the reverse split news we all knew was coming, fell another -7% to another all-time low. SLNA plunged -16% and SOND fell -10%.

Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on Hilton Grand Vacations with a Buy rating and a $59 price target. D.B. said that while they know the Street has long taken a measured view on timeshare stocks and that is not likely to change soon, they believe the group, and HGV especially, trades at levels too compelling to ignore.

Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian spoke at the Bank of America Conferencetoday and confirmed some of what was in the Truist report yesterday. He said they are picking up on signs that more people in big cities are returning to offices, which he feels will lead to more business transient travel. Hyatt’s hotels in N.Y. are seeing increased levels of local traffic, which means people are back in the office, a clear difference between now and the beginning of the year.

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. provided an update regarding the impact of the Maui wildfires and other recent weather events on its hotels and the communities where they operate. To date, there has not been any reported property damage to the company’s hotels or golf courses on Maui, and all its hotels remained open and operational through the wildfires. The company’s hotels provide food and shelter for employees, their families, and emergency response teams while remaining open to guests. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa remains open to first responders and expects to begin welcoming guests back in mid-October. The company estimates that net income and hotel EBITDA from its three Maui hotels were impacted by approximately $5 million in August. The company is not otherwise updating or reaffirming its full-year 2023 guidance, and it is too early in the quarter to provide a comprehensive update or estimated full-year impact to future periods due to the rapidly evolving nature of demand trends on the island. The company’s risk management team is engaged with its insurers about potential business interruption coverage. The company does not expect a delay in completing the comprehensive renovation at the Fairmont Kea Lani, which remains on track to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023. In the second half of 2023, the company expects to begin recognizing business interruption gains related to Hurricane Ian, which impacted The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, and Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa. With respect to Hurricane Hilary in Southern California and Hurricane Idalia on the Gulf Coast of Florida, the company’s hotels did not experience any material property damage or business interruption.

It was just a matter of time before Vacasa, Inc. finally dropped the bomb on their upcoming reverse split. To get the stock above $1 and regain compliance with Nasdaq, their board of directors approved a 1 for 20 reverse split, effective October 2. It is extremely rare that a reverse split works out well for existing shareholders.

STR reported U.S. lodging data for the week ended 9/2/U.S. hotel RevPAR rose 2% year over year.

Through an expanded agreement with Tesla, Hilton announced that beginning in early 2024, up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors will be installed at 2,000 hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, making Hilton’s planned E.V. charging network the largest of any hospitality company. 

Waramaug Hospitality announced the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton Lansing, located in Lansing, Michigan. The 256-room property underwent a complete renovation, including all guestrooms and guest corridors, the lobby, Made Market, restaurants and bar, and over 10,000 square feet of meeting and function space. Additional amenities include a fitness center and a two-story indoor pool. The property’s second floor connects to the Lansing Center, the city-owned 125,000-square-foot convention center. 

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Miramar Beach, Florida, announced a $35M property refresh. Comprised of three separate phases, the renovations kicked off with a complete redesign of the property’s 590 rooms and suites, set to be completed and available for bookings later this year. The hotel’s full property-wide renovation is set to conclude before spring break of 2024. A revamping of the six onsite dining outlets, three pools, beachfront deck space, Serenity by the Sea Spa, main public spaces, and more will occur in the resort’s renovations’ second and third phases. 

In January, Kautilya Columbus Hotel LLC purchased the old Hampton Innon Mediterranean Avenue in Columbus, OH, for $3 million. The company is converting the hotel into a Candlewood Suites with 102 units. The company said it should be open in December.

Highgate has been selected by Continental Assets Management to manage the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay, marking Highgate’s first property on Kauai and its 12th property in Hawaii. The beachfront hotel boasts 216 rooms, two pools, two restaurants, a poolside bar, and over 7,400 square feet of event space including an ocean view wedding gazebo, a business center, and a gym.

Los Angeles city officials officially halted Gary Safady’s efforts to build a luxury resort on a Benedict Canyon mountainside. The city revoked its approval for Safady to pursue a 58-room hotel, marking a dramatic end to Safady’s quest to build Bulgari Resort Los Angeles. 

MCR acquired the four-story Courtyard by Marriott North Charleston in North CharlestonSouth Carolina. The hotel was purchased with acquisition financing in place and is MCR’s fourth hotel in The Palmetto State. The Courtyard Marriott North Charleston features 138 rooms and suites, The Bistro, a grab-and-go market, an outdoor pool and fire pit, a fitness center, a business center, and 1,184 square feet of meeting space. 

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation announced the grand opening of Sonesta Essential Plainfield in Plainfield, Indiana. The 67-room hotel is the second Sonesta Essential to open since the brand was introduced in January.

IHG’s newest brand, Garneran IHG Hotel, is now on sale in the U.S.Designed for value-driven travelers seeking reliable, relaxed, and consistent experiences, Garner will offer an affordable price point along with amenities and services most valued by guests, including a sound night’s sleep, complimentary hot breakfast, and pet-friendly accessories and designated areas. Garner also marks IHG’s efforts to capitalize on a growing U.S. midscale market projected to reach $18 billion in value by 2030. IHG expects the brand to grow rapidly and reach an estimate of more than 500 U.S. hotels during the next decade and 1,000 U.S. hotels during the next 20 years.

Ty Warner, the owner of the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, shuttered the hotel in March 2020 in a dispute over fees and profit margins with the hotel company. According to The Post, the famed 52-story hotel has yet to hold contract talks with the New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council about the fate of laid-off staffers after announcing it will reopen next year. Warner, the founder of Beanie Babies, stated that at this point, only an agreement with the union is still required to open Four Seasons New York, which he feels is coming soon. The hotel has been under renovation for several years and will have renovated rooms, restaurants, and public areas.  

The 90-room Cambria Hotel Napa Valley, which opened in 2021, has been officially lost to foreclosure. The developer, Stratus Development, no longer owns the Soscol Avenue property. That foreclosure also includes a Cambria hotel in Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, CA. Both Cambria hotels now belong to the lenders who financed the project, MRC Ca Lender V, an affiliate of Madison Realty Capital. A total of $80 million was owned to lenders. However, according to the company that hosted the foreclosure sale on August 25, the properties were “sold” back to the lenders for $59 million. According to David Wood from Stratus, the default was due to several factors. First, commercial real estate interest rates have more than doubled, going from 6% to 14%. Second, the heavy North Bay rains over the winter led to lower occupancy at the Cambria Hotel. This led the group to request a loan modification. The lender is working with them, but to do that, they require a notice of default filing until negotiations are complete, which could take several months. 

Hilco Real Estate, LLC, announced the September 27, 2023, qualified bid deadline for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy sale of the 56-room Hudson River Hotel. The sale is being conducted by Order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Eastern New York, In re: 36th Street Property, Inc., and is subject to court approval.

Nick Patel has filed a request to convert the Dermon Building in Memphis, Tennessee, into a 150-room Holiday Inn Express hotel. The project, from Patel’s Dermon Building OZ LLC, is estimated to cost $22.3 million. The building is to be known as The Dermon Building by Holiday Inn Express, and the historic façade would be restored, complete with era-accurate ground-floor retail. Patel hopes to break ground in Q1 2024, with completion slated for Q1 2025.

LivAway Suites broke ground on two more properties in Richland, Washington, and Missoula, Montana. Both locations are expected to open in 2024. This year, Richland and Missoula are the third and fourth groundbreakings in the brand’s rapidly growing portfolio. Keystone National Group provided construction financing for both the Washington and Montana locations and plans to continue providing a financing platform for LivAway Suites hotels nationally. 

The Hotel Chalet at The Choo Choo in Chattanooga, Tennessee, began accepting reservations for check-ins starting on October 31, 2023, following a $19 million preservation and renovation effort. Set on the campus of The Chattanooga Choo Choo, an iconic train station, hotel, and entertainment complex, the hotel has retained its storied past while embracing a new chapter of luxury hospitality. Notable features and amenities include 127 guestrooms, including 25 of these in restored 1920s and 1960s-era Pullman train carriages; indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, including the hotel’s lush courtyard, fire pits, and an alpine pool; a fitness center and a restaurant.

A long-anticipated new hotel project near the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita, Kansas, now appears closer to reality. According to city-county records, a new commercial building permit was issued for developer Mitesh Patel’s four-story, 156-room hotel, including convention space and a restaurant. Patel’s Airport Hotel LLC plans to break ground next week and is targeting December 1, 2024, for completion. The hotel will be a dual-branded Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn property. 

Blue Water Development announced the grand opening of Shore Point Cottages, located in the heart of Ocean City, Maryland. Guests can choose from one-bedroom or two-bedroom cottages featuring a private porch, expansive living rooms, fully equipped kitchens, bunk beds, and queen-sized beds. The resort includes an exclusive private pool for guests.

Blue Mountain Resort is gearing up for a major expansion that will add new hotel property, condos, retail, and public spaces to Ontario’s largest ski resortFreed Hotels & Resorts filed plans for the massive expansion with the City of Blue Mountains in February 2023. Freed is proposing to up approvals from the agreed-upon five-story cap up to a group of three buildings rising seven stories and increase the number of residential units permitted on the three development sites. A total of 682 units are proposed in the larger complex, with an additional 370 planned in the third building. Units within the development are to be sold as residential condos and entered into a rental management program in a condo/hotel model. The complex will have back-of-house hotel areas and hotel-style amenities, including a Great Room and a second-floor spa with an outdoor deck and a heated pool. In addition to hotel/condo space, Freed’s plans also call for more than doubling commercial space within the ski resort village from 9,300 square meters to 21,000 square meters.

Personnel Moves

KSL Resorts announced the appointment of Patrick Smith as its new vice president of information technology. In this role, Smith heads up KSL Resorts’ information technology department, designing, developing, and managing the company’s technological infrastructure and process to achieve key corporate goals. Smith previously worked as an information technology consultant for KSL Resorts and Outrigger Hospitality Group. 

Kempinski Hotels appointed Jad Mouhkheiber as Chief Legal Officer and Member of the Management Board. In this role, he will lead the luxury hotel group’s overall legal function, overseeing all areas of Legal, Compliance, Risk Management, and Corporate Governance and providing legal counsel to all stakeholders. Jad Mouhkheiber was recently associated with Banader Hotels Company BSC, Bahrain, as General Manager.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
September 7th, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT

Companies: Candlewood Suites, Four Seasons, Garner, Highgate, Hilton, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corporation, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski Hotels, KSL Capital Partners, LivAway Suites, Marriott Hotels, Marriott International, MCR, Sonesta Hotels & Resorts, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, Vacasa, Waramaug Hospitality

Locations: California, Charleston, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Los Angeles, Maryland, Maui, Memphis, Michigan, Montana, New York, New York City, Ohio, Ontario, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Washington State

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