Hyatt Buys Alila Ventana Big Sur For $148 Million

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Here’s an interesting real estate investment for Hyatt, though it shouldn’t have too many practical implications for guests.

Hyatt now owns Ventana Big Sur

For the most part the major global hotel groups have an asset-light strategy — they don’t actually own a vast majority of their properties, but rather just have management or franchise agreements for them. Hyatt in particular has been offloading many owned properties in recent years, though here’s one purchase that counters that trend.

It has been announced that Hyatt has purchased Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort, for $148 million. I’d argue that this is probably the best Hyatt property in North America. The 162-acre property is located in Big Sur, California, and features 59 rooms, 63 camping areas, and 15 tent cabins. It’s one of Hyatt’s three Alila properties in California, along with Alila Marea Beach and Alila Napa Valley.

Hot tub at Ventana Big Sur

It’s stated that this fits into Hyatt’s capital strategy, and the company will evaluate the sale of this asset in the future, in conjunction with a long-term management agreement.

Ventana Big Sur is one of the most popular Hyatt properties for World of Hyatt members, and a particularly good use of points. While nightly rates here can be north of $2,000, the hotel can be booked for just 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Best of all, stays at the property include all meals, so you won’t be spending a whole lot of out of pocket when staying here.

Meals are included with stays at Ventana Big Sur

What are the implications of this for guests?

Practically speaking there aren’t too many implications for guests here, as most people would never know whether the hotel they’re staying at is owned by Hyatt or not. I suppose the biggest implication is that this makes it more likely that Ventana Big Sur will continue to remain a Hyatt, rather than rebrand as a non-Hyatt.

The scenery around Big Sur is breathtaking

Hyatt almost certainly won’t rebrand it while it owns the property, and it’s even stated that if the property is sold, it will be done in conjunction with a long-term management agreement.

On the surface you’d also think that a property owned by Hyatt would treat elite members better than one just managed by Hyatt, though:

Room at Ventana Big Sur

This is just a case where a hotel brand thinks a property will appreciate over time, and it sounds like Hyatt may even be looking to flip the property in the not-too-distant future.

Bottom line

Hyatt has purchased Ventana Big Sur, which is my favorite Alila property. It should be business as usual at the hotel, though perhaps most significantly, the property’s future with Hyatt is assured. Hyatt could sell the property again in the coming years, but would only do so in conjunction with a long-term management contract.

What do you make of Hyatt purchasing Alila Ventana Big Sur?

Conversations (28)
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  1. Alexander

    In my opinion, the owners of this property were happily maximizing the income from the award program at a time when traditional bookings would have been lean - their small size and high occupancy means they probably were getting reimbursed close to the ADR from Hyatt (unlike a property like Maui that would have to work to fill to 90% every night so would be taking a big hit from high redemptions). I feel that...

    In my opinion, the owners of this property were happily maximizing the income from the award program at a time when traditional bookings would have been lean - their small size and high occupancy means they probably were getting reimbursed close to the ADR from Hyatt (unlike a property like Maui that would have to work to fill to 90% every night so would be taking a big hit from high redemptions). I feel that the all inclusive change was just proof of what the owners intentions were.

    Hyatt was putting up with it because they needed the property to anchor the expansion of the Alila brand in the US.

    Somebody finally crunched the numbers, realized just how much they were paying out to these guys and offered to buy them out - they get to keep the property in the network but tighten up costs a bit.

  2. Ali

    They need to start allowing kids!

    1. MoJoe

      I have mixed feelings on that. There is always Disney for families with kids.

    2. Schar

      absolutely not. this property is for adult guests needing a peaceful escape. kids can go to disneyworld.

    3. Clem

      I'll agree with the other commenters here, I hope it always remains adults only, the whole point of this property is to relax and enjoy the peace and calm. Kids would completely ruin the experience.

    4. Sel, D.

      There needs to be more adults-only options the US. This is likely a trend that will increase rapidly as people are waiting longer to have children or rejecting the idea completely.

      Nobody likes your kids except for *maybe* you, and if they say otherwise they’re being polite. I’m waiting for Hawaii to get in on the adults only concept so I can visit. In the meantime I’ll continue to subsidize your tax credits while vacationing in Mexico.

    5. Scott

      While I agree with the "keep it adult only" responses, I will say that at many hotels it's young adults, and not kids, making noise and lacking any courtesy and awareness...

  3. DougieB

    Hmm, I have v feeling we could see an end to “full board” meal-inclusion fading into the sunset in the not too distant future....

  4. Schar

    PLEASE help me Ben/Tiffany/Literally anyone. Ever since the website redesign I haven't been receiving my daily newsletters. Ive tried resubscribing (twice) to no avail. Emailed websupport and your email, no response.

    please treat your readers better, I just want my daily newsletters in my Gmail box again so I can continue reading and supporting your blog.

    1. MidSouthSkier

      As Tiffany has mentioned on the site feedback master thread:

      (Side note: I know the email newsletter is broken. It has nothing to do with the new design, and is just the worst.timed.inconvenience.ever. We’ll have it up and running by the end of the weekend, even if it means changing email providers again, or else I may just move to Mars.)

  5. Anthony

    For context, the price equates to about $2.5 million per room, which may be the highest per room price in US history, so expensive. Hyatt sees the hotel as a strategic asset to drive World of Hyatt engagement, and it may have been at risk of losing the Hyatt brand if someone else bought it. Hyatt may sell for less when they do resell it, but the strategic value may be worth it for them

  6. Steve

    I fully expect rates and points redemptions to go up, its an epic property in an amazing location. When compared to the Post Ranch across the street its extremely cheap, there is so much room for Hyatt to increase the price. Plus the secret is out every millennial with a Sapphire Reserve is transferring points to stay here. No way the outsized value we were getting here will continue moving forward.

  7. Danny

    Here's a bug to fix:
    Featured Comments shows 4 comments
    When I click "Load all 10 Comments" a window pops up that says "Conversations (10)" and "Oldest comments are displayed first"
    but non are viewable.
    The comment box I'm typing is what's viewable.

  8. kenindfw

    I'm sure this will launch a higher level of point redemption or the dreaded "dynamic pricing"

  9. Kathleen Foley

    I remember when Ventana was small and cozy and they only served breakfast...when I worked at Pfeiffer in the early 70's
    Can't believe this resort now....

  10. Island Miler

    Hyatt owning one of its properties wouldn't necessarily make it any better for WoH members. After all, the Andaz Maui was owned by Hyatt when it began its particularly egregious practices such as implementing an 8-night minimum for award stays, which is against WoH terms.

  11. JustSaying

    I think the previous ownership group was a bit flaky and that could have played a part in Hyatt stepping in. Why do I say that? Because at the beginning of COVID they lost their GM that appeared to be because of how they chose to operate during COVID. I'm betting the ownership wanted all the money they could squeeze out of guests and the GM was working tirelessly to protect his workers. I went...

    I think the previous ownership group was a bit flaky and that could have played a part in Hyatt stepping in. Why do I say that? Because at the beginning of COVID they lost their GM that appeared to be because of how they chose to operate during COVID. I'm betting the ownership wanted all the money they could squeeze out of guests and the GM was working tirelessly to protect his workers. I went once after he left and the place was a shitshow. Understand that COVID created some hard barriers but after I had gone I shook my head and said "never again" until all the COVID restrictions are lifted as a luxury property is hard to fully enjoy while wearing a mask! And I'm not an anti-masker!

  12. tjp74

    While I also appreciate some of adults only properties, I believe it's dangerous trend to avoid having chidden all together... that's going to cause a huge problem with labor force in the future. You might be subsidizing tax credit of parents with kids now but they don't make any profit... raising kids and educating them is hard and very very costly and your retirement benefit depends on these future labor force. Yes my children will...

    While I also appreciate some of adults only properties, I believe it's dangerous trend to avoid having chidden all together... that's going to cause a huge problem with labor force in the future. You might be subsidizing tax credit of parents with kids now but they don't make any profit... raising kids and educating them is hard and very very costly and your retirement benefit depends on these future labor force. Yes my children will subsidize some of your social security and/or pension checks when time comes.

    1. Taylor

      What's a "pension"? I am not counting on Social Security to fund my retirement and I am one of the 80%+ of working adults who do not have a pension. Your children who I subsidize have nothing to do with funding my 401(k) and IRA contributions.

      I actually didn't realize the Ventana does not allow children -- this is great to know and makes me much more likely to stay there in the future. Ben,...

      What's a "pension"? I am not counting on Social Security to fund my retirement and I am one of the 80%+ of working adults who do not have a pension. Your children who I subsidize have nothing to do with funding my 401(k) and IRA contributions.

      I actually didn't realize the Ventana does not allow children -- this is great to know and makes me much more likely to stay there in the future. Ben, I'd encourage you to mention similar child-free policies more prominently in your reviews in the future.

    2. cahbf

      I don't think you understand how pensions work.

    3. Taylor

      Yeah, I probably don't since I don't have a pension like most American workers

  13. Marilyn

    We have stayed at Ventana for over 15 years, until Covid. Sad to see all inclusive as rates have soared and we NEVER eat 3 meals per day. Perhaps offer a non- inclusive option? Until then, we're back to Post Ranch.

  14. LK

    I've never seen rooms at the alleged 30k pts/night, have you? Any dates I've checked, for 1 night or 3, its always 48k/night

  15. Brett

    Agreed we need more adults only properties. My wife and I stayed at the Hyatt Andaz Maui a few years back and were shocked at the number of families there, most with nannies for the kids.

  16. Daniel

    Can't wait to let all my friends know so that they can bring their kids.

Featured Comments Load all 28 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Schar

absolutely not. this property is for adult guests needing a peaceful escape. kids can go to disneyworld.

Sel, D.

There needs to be more adults-only options the US. This is likely a trend that will increase rapidly as people are waiting longer to have children or rejecting the idea completely. Nobody likes your kids except for *maybe* you, and if they say otherwise they’re being polite. I’m waiting for Hawaii to get in on the adults only concept so I can visit. In the meantime I’ll continue to subsidize your tax credits while vacationing in Mexico.

Clem

I'll agree with the other commenters here, I hope it always remains adults only, the whole point of this property is to relax and enjoy the peace and calm. Kids would completely ruin the experience.

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