Outrigger to acquire Keauhou resort

  • The Sheraton Kona Resort Spa at Keauhou Bay. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today file photo)

  • The pool at the Sheraton Kona Resort Spa at Keauhou Bay. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today file photo)

Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay will be rebranded as an Outrigger Resort later this spring.

Outrigger Hospitality Group announced Tuesday it had signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire ownership of the 509-room oceanfront property in Keauhou.

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The transaction is expected to close in mid-April, at which time the property will be rebranded as an Outrigger Resort. Additional terms of the sale, including financial details, were not disclosed.

“Outrigger is uniquely positioned to steward this exquisite oceanfront property; with seven decades of leadership in Hawaii’s hospitality industry, we have a pulse on this market and look forward to sharing the legacy of this remarkable place in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said Jeff Wagoner, Outrigger Hospitality Group president and CEO.

The company noted the investment is “directly aligned” with Outrigger’s strategic business plan to expand its presence in Hawaii and beyond, furthering its mission to be “The Premier Beach Resort Brand in the World.” Last year, Outrigger acquired the Waikiki Beachcomber on Oahu and the on-site luxury resort rental program at Honua Kai Resort & Spa on Maui.

Once the sale is finalized, Outrigger will begin drafting a property modernization masterplan that is “aligned with the local culture and further elevates the grounds and guest experience.”

“We are grateful for our partnership with landowner Kamehameha Schools and appreciate the opportunity to work with its team to further enhance the property in a way that complements the organization’s vision,” added Wagoner, who told the Honolulu-Star Advertiser that renovations could begin within the next 12 months.

The newspaper also reported that employees were notified of the sale Tuesday morning. Employment offers will be made to all of the 270 staff and the company will honor their current ILWU union contract.

Attempts to reach Paul Evasick, general manager at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay were unsuccessful as of press-time Tuesday. Marriott Hawaii also did not respond.

The sale comes over 50 years after construction began on the hotel in June 1969. It opened in 1972 as the Kona Surf, but closed its doors to guests in 2002. It eventually came under new ownership and a renovation was completed.

It reopened in 2004 as Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa. In 2011, Kona Surf Partners LLC purchased the hotel and a $20 million renewal was finished in 2012. It was then given its current name, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. In 2016, the resort became a Marriott property when Marriott and Starwood Hotels & Resorts merged.

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Today, the resort, which is located on 22 acres leased from Kamehameha Schools, features more than 500 rooms and suites, spa, wedding chapel, traditional Hawaiian cultural center, fitness center, kid’s club, oceanfront pool and waterslide, two restaurants and four indoor meeting venues.

Outrigger, a privately held company founded 25 years ago, currently operates 37 properties comprising more than 7,000 rooms in premier resort locations in Hawaii and beyond. The company also runs Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger on four Hawaiian Islands, including Kanaloa at Kona, Royal Sea Cliff, Fairway Villas Waikoloa and Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals.

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