Amstar Group acquires spa resort

Amstar Group and Davidson Hotel Company today is acquiring the Hyatt Regency Newport for an undisclosed amount.
The 264-room hotel is uniquely located on Goat Island in the midst of beautiful Newport Harbor.

Davidson Hotel Company, one of the nation’s largest hotel management companies, and Amstar Group, a leading real estate private equity firm, plan to spend $23 million to renovate the hotel. The renovation will incorporate the heritage of Newport as a world class Oceanside yachting destination and take advantage of the outstanding water vistas the hotel has to offer. Key elements of the renovation plan will include a major upgrade of the entrance to the hotel, a spectacular new lobby, a new signature restaurant, an exciting new bar and lounge concept, and an enhancement to all guest rooms. The hotel’s conference center and meeting space will be re-configured and upgraded, providing a total of 25,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space and an additional 40,000 square feet of outdoor space overlooking the Newport marina. In addition, the full-service, Stillwater Spa will undergo a complete renovation, rounding out the transformation of one of the finest spa facilities in the Northeast U.S. The comprehensive renovation, coupled with the implementation of Davidson’s proprietary management and marketing systems and Hyatt’s continued brand recognition among its customers, are expected to transform the Hyatt Regency Newport into one of the leading destination resorts in New England.

“The Hyatt Regency Newport is in an irreplaceable location in a strong resort market, within easy driving distance of more than 22 million people,” said Gabe L. Finke, chief executive officer and general partner of Amstar Group. “With strategic capital and the right execution, Davidson and Amstar will make this property realize its full potential.”

“We expect the improvement project to begin during fall 2007 and last eight months, after which the Hyatt Regency will be the premier hospitality offering in Newport and one of the best in New England,” said Phil Hutchins, vice president at Amstar, a Denver-based real estate private equity firm. “Luxurious rooms, modern spa facilities, fine and casual dining options, well-appointed meeting and event rooms and inspiring service, combined with the unparalleled location, will make for superlative guest experiences.”

“This is our third joint venture and our fifth management assignment with Amstar,” said John A. Belden, Davidson’s president and chief executive officer. “Collectively, we have added significant value to every asset that we have worked on together. We will continue to aggressively seek first-class, full-service hotels in markets with barriers to new competition.”


“We appreciated working with Davidson and Amstar on this transaction,” said Steven R. Goldman, executive vice president of development at Global Hyatt Corporation. “They did what they said they would do and closed exactly as planned.” Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels advised Global Hyatt Corporation on the transaction.

During the last 15 months, Amstar has invested $250 million in hotels in partnership with Davidson. Most recently, Amstar partnered with Davidson in its January 2006 acquisition of the Pasadena Hilton, a 296-room Southern California hotel within walking distance of the Pasadena Convention Center and Old Town. The companies also invested together in the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia, which recently completed a $10 million renovation. Other hotels Davidson has managed for Amstar include the Doubletree Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and an independent hotel in Washington, D.C., that was repositioned and sold by Amstar during 2004, with Davidson staying on as the hotel manager for the new owner.