Passport to buy Hotel Hana Maui

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HANA, Hawaii -- Passport Resorts of San Francisco will buy the Hotel Hana Maui, with plans to renovate rooms, upgrade food service and add a spa.

The sale of the luxury property, tucked away in a remote corner of Maui, is set to close Aug. 15, according to Peter Heinemann, managing partner of Passport Resorts.

Passport is buying the resort from Chicago-based Meridian Financial Resources, which bought the property in 1999. Heinemann said he plans to continue the resort's affiliation with Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

The hotel has 96 rooms in all, but 30 are out of inventory. The hotel operates with 66 rooms, 47 of which are cottages.

The hot tub, pool and wellness center at the Hotel Nana Maui, which is to be bought by San Francisco-based Passport Resorts. In the past few years, according to sources at the hotel, occupancy has ranged from 30% to 50%. Earlier this year, the hotel reduced rates by $100 to $150 per night, depending on room category.

Room rates are $235 per night, double, and from $295 to $595 per night for the cottages.

"We intend to operate with about 80 rooms because some will be used to develop an executive conference center and some will be used to develop the new spa," said Heinemann.

The property features tennis courts, two pools, a wellness center with workout machines, a television room -- none of the rooms or cottages have televisions -- and two restaurants, one in the hotel and one across the street.

"We are going to renovate the rooms, add new furniture and take care of a lot of deferred maintenance," said Heinemann.

When asked whether Passport will bring in a big brand name to market the hotel, Heinemann said, "We are the brand name."

Passport Resorts owns two hotels: the Post Ranch at Big Sur, Calif., where rates range from $455 to $835 per night, and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, with rates from $424 to $625 per night.

"Our market niche is boutique properties," Heinemann said. "I'm not going to knock what the big brand names do, but we do something different."

Heinemann said he wants to improve the property so guests get what they pay for.

"The quality of the property needs to be improved to justify the rates," he said. "The main problem is the physical condition, but it's also the overall condition, including the food and beverage service."

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