Marriott hires hotel veteran to manage new property

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WAIKIKI, Hawaii -- Marriott International named Dennis Nau general manager of its newly acquired and newly named Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, formerly the Hawaiian Regent Hotel.

Nau most recently was manager of the London Heathrow Renaissance Hotel and was general manager for all Renaissance properties in the U.K.

"His priority will be to rebrand the property" to Marriott's standards and oversee a renovation, said Stan Brown, Marriott vice president for the Pacific Islands.

Marriott, which bought the 1,304-room property in November from a Tokyo-based owner named Otaka for $125.5 million, plans to sell the hotel and retain a long-term management contract.

Marriott's new logo for the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort.The property is the third largest hotel in Hawaii, behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Sheraton Waikiki, but is not that well known to Americans because it has been marketed mostly to Japanese visitors.

At press time, Nau was out of the country and not available for comment on his plans.

But Brown said Marriott will spend "tens of millions of dollars" in the next 12 to 18 months renovating the Kuhio room tower, one of two on the property, and renovating banquet space and food and beverage outlets.

A renovation is not needed to the second room tower, the Kalakaua tower, said Brown, because the previous owners spent $21 million renovating it last year.

The former Hawaiian Regent Hotel is now the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. Marriott will continue to market the hotel to its established Japanese customers and work to increase the numbers of North American guests, said Brown.

Before the sale to the Marriott, the hotel drew about 75% of its guests from Japan and about 25% from the U.S.

Brown said those percentages should stay the same with Marriott as the owner.

The numbers of guests from both countries should rise as occupancy levels rise, he said.

The hotel finished 2000 with a 60% occupancy rate.

Occupancy was up in January, with figures 15% to 20% ahead of the 60% rate recorded for the same month last year, said Brown.

The hotel sits on Kalakaua Avenue, across from the beach at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, near the entrance to Kapiolani Park.

The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort has two pools, a fitness room, a lobby bar, a nightclub, a tennis court, six restaurants and seven meeting rooms.

Marriott now has its name on two huge hotels on either end of Waikiki.

In early 2000, it took a franchise contract at the former Ilikai hotel, which is near the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Ilikai now is called the Renaissance Ilikai. That hotel has 783 rooms and is owned by Interstate Hotels of Pittsburgh.

The two hotels give Marriott 2,000 rooms in Waikiki.

"The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort concentrates on the tour and travel market, while the Renaissance Ilikai adds a dimension of corporate and convention business," said Brown.

For reservations, call (800) 228-9290 or check the Web at www.marriott.com.

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