Construction site prepped for ‘un-hotel’
Renaissance set to become a 255-unit luxury Andaz property
October 16, 2011
By HARRY EAGAR – Staff Writer
The Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort has sat empty for more than four years, but workers are on-site now preparing for a partial demolition and reconstruction as the Andaz Wailea Hotel.
Construction of the 255-unit luxury hotel is expected to begin early next year, said Laurie Cole, director of corporate communications for Hyatt Hotels Corp.
There are five Andaz hotels in existence and six more in planning, each unique. Some are reconstructions of old buildings, others new from the ground up. A corporate statement says Andaz aims to deliver a “a kaleidoscope of style and culture from the area that surrounds it” but as an “un-hotel.”
Guests are invited to be “refined but casual,” and the target market includes the “creative class” including successful entrepreneurs, and “professional bohemians.”
Ever since the once highly regarded Stouffer Wailea Beach Resort, at one time a AAA Five-Diamond property, fell on hard times during the sluggish ’90s (by then as a Renaissance brand), the owners of the prime 15.5-acre beachfront lot have been jockeying to reposition their spot as a high-concept luxury resort.
Since plans were made to replace the aging Renaissance in 2005, the lot was proposed as the launch property for not just one but two superpremium nameplates, first St. Regis, then Baccarat.
current view of the Renaissance hotel
Initially, the idea was to raze the buildings and replace them with 150 large condominiums. Innovative ideas, like putting most of the back-of-the-house facilities and much of the parking underground, and discouraging autos by using a fleet of “golf cart butlers” were floated to distinguish the new property from other Hawaii resorts.
In a reversal of frequent experience (such as at Turtle Bay on Oahu), the project was able to get government approvals but not financing.
At that time, Hawaii hotels were enjoying record revenue of $3 billion, and other, even more expensive rebuildings of early Maui hotels were in the works, especially the Residences at Kapalua that replaced the Kapalua Bay Hotel.
The new Wailea resort was to have opened in 2008, ahead of the collapse on Wall Street, but already by then the ground had shifted under the owners’ feet, and it was back to the drawing board.
The original hotel, with 349 rooms and about the same number of employees, had opened in 1978, when Wailea was remote and empty except for what is now the Wailea Beach Marriott and the tiny Wailea Shopping Village (since replaced by the Shops at Wailea).
The St. Regis, later expanded to 193 condominium-hotel units from 150, was tagged as a $250 million project. The condos were to have been priced at $1.5 million and up.
Starwood Capital Group was behind the St. Regis idea, under the leadership of Barry Sternlicht. Sternlicht is a former chief executive of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, but although the companies have similar names, they are independent.
For reasons never publicly explained, the St. Regis proposal was dropped, but a nearly identical project under the Baccarat name was proposed in mid-2007.
The hotel was closed that September. The Baccarat was to have opened by late 2008. The demolition never happened, but a financial crash did.
Not until October 2010 did Hyatt and Starwood Capital Group announce a joint venture to develop the lot as an Andaz.
That announcement was for an Andaz hotel “and residences.” Although some Andaz hotels, such as the one on Wall Street in Manhattan, are described as hotel-residences, the Wailea development appears to have de-emphasized the residential aspect, which was key to the St. Regis/Baccarat plans.
The 2010 announcement called for 255 rooms and 35 suites ranging from 456 to 2,321 square feet, as well as six four-bedroom villas averaging about 3,500 square feet.
The current fact sheet mentions only 255 rooms, with a restaurant, pools, spa, bar and grill, gym and meeting space.
That would make it a midsize Andaz hotel, which range from about 175 to 325 rooms.
The current price tag has not been announced, but earlier estimates were around $90 million.
Cole said more details would be revealed as the time for new construction approached.
Other existing Andaz hotels are in West Hollywood; San Diego; New York (Wall Street and Fifth Avenue); and London. Besides Wailea, Andaz hotels are under construction in Amsterdam; Delhi; Sanya Sunny Bay, China; Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands; Papagayo, Costa Rica; and Shanghai. The Shanghai hotel will have its soft opening this week.
The Renaissance, originally just the Wailea Beach, initially was operated by Western International Hotels for its owner, Hong Kong-based Grosvenor International.
This Maui News Article is a great update on the new hotel being built 2012 Link to article above on Maui New Online
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