Davidson and Amstar Plan $23 mil Renovation of the Hyatt Regency Newport

. October 14, 2008

NEWPORT, RI, September 26, 2006. Amstar Group and Davidson Hotel Company today announced the acquisition of the Hyatt Regency Newport in Rhode Island from H.E. Newport Equities, LLC, an affiliate of Global Hyatt Corporation for an undisclosed amount. The 264-room hotel is uniquely located on Goat Island in the midst of beautiful Newport Harbor.

Davidson Hotel Company, one of the nation's largest hotel management companies, and Amstar Group, a leading real estate private equity firm, plan to spend $23 million to renovate the hotel. The renovation will incorporate the heritage of Newport as a world class Oceanside yachting destination and take advantage of the outstanding water vistas the hotel has to offer. Key elements of the renovation plan will include a major upgrade of the entrance to the hotel, a spectacular new lobby, a new signature restaurant, an exciting new bar and lounge concept, and an enhancement to all guest rooms. The hotel's conference center and meeting space will be re-configured and upgraded, providing a total of 25,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space and an additional 40,000 square feet of outdoor space overlooking the Newport marina. In addition, the full-service, Stillwater Spa will undergo a complete renovation, rounding out the transformation of one of the finest spa facilities in the Northeast U.S. The comprehensive renovation, coupled with the implementation of Davidson's proprietary management and marketing systems and Hyatt's continued brand recognition among its customers, are expected to transform the Hyatt Regency Newport into one of the leading destination resorts in New England.

"The Hyatt Regency Newport is in an irreplaceable location in a strong resort market, within easy driving distance of more than 22 million people," said Gabe L. Finke, chief executive officer and general partner of Amstar Group. "With strategic capital and the right execution, Davidson and Amstar will make this property realize its full potential."

"We expect the improvement project to begin during fall 2007 and last eight months, after which the Hyatt Regency will be the premier hospitality offering in Newport and one of the best in New England," said Phil Hutchins, vice president at Amstar, a Denver-based real estate private equity firm. "Luxurious rooms, modern spa facilities, fine and casual dining options, well-appointed meeting and event rooms and inspiring service, combined with the unparalleled location, will make for superlative guest experiences."

"This is our third joint venture and our fifth management assignment with Amstar," said John A. Belden, Davidson's president and chief executive officer. "Collectively, we have added significant value to every asset that we have worked on together. We will continue to aggressively seek first-class, full-service hotels in markets with barriers to new competition."

"We appreciated working with Davidson and Amstar on this transaction," said Steven R. Goldman, executive vice president of development at Global Hyatt Corporation. "They did what they said they would do and closed exactly as planned." Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels advised Global Hyatt Corporation on the transaction.

During the last 15 months, Amstar has invested $250 million in hotels in partnership with Davidson. Most recently, Amstar partnered with Davidson in its January 2006 acquisition of the Pasadena Hilton, a 296-room Southern California hotel within walking distance of the Pasadena Convention Center and Old Town. The companies also invested together in the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia, which recently completed a $10 million renovation. Other hotels Davidson has managed for Amstar include the Doubletree Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and an independent hotel in Washington, D.C., that was repositioned and sold by Amstar during 2004, with Davidson staying on as the hotel manager for the new owner.

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Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.