By Jennifer LeClaire | GlobeSt.
NAPLES, FL—An affiliate of Blackstone has sold its Waldorf Astoria Naples, a 474-room luxury hotel resort, and the 18-hole Naples Grande Golf Course. An affiliate of Northwood Investors purchased the assets.
HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller. Northwood will continue to operate the hotel under the Waldorf Astoria brand name. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing director and head of the firm's Hotel Group, Daniel C. Peek anddirectors Max Comess and Paul Hsu. HFF senior hospitality analystsAlexandra Lalos and Cyrus Vazifdar also worked on the deal.
“The market for Florida oceanfront resorts is not only back, it’s thriving at a level that we have not seen since 2006 or 2007,” says Peek. “The story is not just about Miami anymore—investors and lenders are competing to enter all of the resort markets across the state.”
According to Smith Travel Research data, the luxury lodging segment leads the hospitality industry through August of 2013. Luxury hotels have seen 5.9% growth in average daily rates and 7.9% growth in revenue per occupied room compared to the same period in 2012.
Florida welcomed a record number of visitors during the second quarter, according to the most recent estimates released by Visit Florida. From April through June this year, 23.4 million people visited the state. That's an increase of 2.6% over the same period in 2012.
The numbers include 19.7 million domestic visitors (a 1.6% increase over 2012), 2.7 million overseas visitors (a 9.3% increase) and 1 million Canadian arrivals (a 4.9% increase). The strong performance comes after a record-setting first quarter, during which Florida welcomed 26.5 million visitors—the most of any quarter in history.
“We were fortunate to attract significant interest from investors around the world, including some of the top REITs, institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, and brands,” says Comess. “The allure for investors was both the irreplaceable nature of the resort and its strong growth in both top and bottom line performance that continues to accelerate.”
Originally known as the Registry Resort, Blackstone acquired the Waldorf as part of its 2004 acquisition of Wayne Huizenga’s Boca Resorts Inc. That deal also included the Boca Raton Resort and the Edgewater Beach Resort, among other assets.
The hotel has 474 guestrooms including 29 gulf view suites and 50 bungalow suites, along with more than 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Every room features a private, angled balcony with direct views of the Gulf of Mexico.
The hotel features six on-site restaurants and bars, three heated outdoor pools with a 100-foot waterslide, a full-service luxury spa, 8,000-square-foot fitness center, business center and an award-winning tennis facility. The property is surrounded by 20 acres of a protected mangrove estuary intertwined with a system of bridges and elevated walking paths that afford access to three miles of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico. The property is next to to the Waterside Shoppes, Southwest Florida’s most luxurious shopping mall.
For its part, the Naples Grande Golf Course is a Rees Jones-designed private course located minutes from the hotel. The 18-hole, par 72 course features 6,955 yards set among a lush landscape of native Florida pine hammocks, live oak, grand cypress trees, and brilliant water features. Originally completed in 2000, the course has been named one of North America’s “Top 100 Resort Courses” by Golfweek Magazine and named one of the “Top 50 Courses in Florida” with a 4.5 out of 5 star ranking by Golf Magazine.