The St. Regis Princeville Is Leaving Starwood

Update: It’s now being reported that this purchase hasn’t been finalized. Starwood Capital has said that they haven’t bought the property, but they also don’t deny that they’re interested.

The St. Regis Princeville on the island of Kauai is one of the most aspirational Starwood properties in the US. There aren’t many St. Regis resorts in the US, so this has been a popular place for redeeming Starpoints.

Unfortunately it is being reported that the St. Regis Princeville will be leaving Starwood. While an exact timeline hasn’t yet been revealed, Starwood Capital has agreed to purchase the hotel for $225 million, and they plan to spend a further $80 million renovating the hotel.

At that point it will be rebranded as a “1 Hotel” property, as the brand currently has two properties in New York, and one in Miami. 1 Hotels are also currently under development in California, China, and Mexico.

You might be saying “wait a second, Starwood Capital is buying the hotel and rebranding it as something other than a Starwood hotel?”

Starwood Capital’s CEO is the founder of Starwood Hotels, though clearly he doesn’t have a connection to the brand anymore, so at this point the similar names don’t mean much. It doesn’t look like the hotel is leaving over any bad blood regarding the Marriott and Starwood merger, but rather just because Starwood Capital is trying to grow the 1 Hotels brand.

The St. Regis Princeville was first opened as a Sheraton in 1986, and then in 2009 was rebranded as a St. Regis.

The fact that they’re renovating the hotel suggests that this should be a nice upgrade in terms of the guest experience. However, it goes without saying that this is bad news for those of us who like loyalty programs, regardless of whether you were staying at the St. Regis to earn or redeem points, or just appreciated the elite perks offered as part of SPG.

I’ve never made it to this property before, and I guess at this point I won’t be going. Fortunately there’s another good points hotel on the island, the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

Are you sad to see the St. Regis Princeville leave Starwood?

(Tip of the hat to @Jeffsetter)

Comments

  1. @ Lucky — FWIW, additional follow-up reporting said that Starwood Capital denies the purchase. But it was worded in such a way that didn’t deny they had an interest in buying the property. It is pretty clear though that current owner wants to sell.

  2. I recently spent 4 nights at princeville and was struck how dated the property was, the lobby was beautiful but dated, the rooms were not modern and there was no unifing overall theme at the hotel.

  3. I’ll choose the Grand Hyatt every time over Princeville. The drive up there along makes it avoidable.

  4. It was a Luxury Collection property before they renovated it and branded it as a St Regis. I actually liked it better before it became a St Regis…it had a bit more of an island vibe. Also used to get great upgrades as an SPG Plat, but that ended when it became a St Regis.

  5. I stayed at this resort last August and I had a terrible time. Everything was dated and the exterior of the hotel looked dirty, disgusting, and sketchy. We were supposed to have a butler, but he never showed up. Also, it was on by far the worst beach in Hawaii. The water was dirty and you couldn’t even swim because it was so shallow. Also, it was difficult to swim because if you go out like 10 feet there is a ton of corral. Also, there was a snake in the water. However, the pool was decent, but nothing special. Also the hotel breakfast was really great. And finally the views from the property were incredible. But, I am still ok with this property leaving because it is not nearly as nice as other St Regis and other resorts on the island. I even liked the Sheraton I’m Poipu a lot more.

  6. St. Regis as a brand just never seemed awfully coherent to me, either in terms of their mix of urban and resort properties or their brand standards or design…. high end yes, but aside from the iconic original in New York what was the defining philosophy? In many cases it seemed to be a slightly more glammed up version of The Luxury Collection, and I’ve often preferred my stays at luxury collection properties for that reason.

    It does seem St. Regis have been losing quite a few properties recently… I understand there are various reasons behind this but one wonders how sustainably Marriott views this brand in terms of growth. Maybe they should retrench and try to focus it a bit more.

  7. No loss imo. While the setting is beautiful, this hotel is beyond dated. The rooms are tired with low ceilings, the exterior has a concrete ‘prison’ vibe, and the St. Regis ‘service’ totally misses the bar. In the end, this hotel was, and always will be, a Sheraton with a lovely view.

  8. @Lucky–As IvanY says above, the reports now indicate that the sale news was premature and not accurate. As of now, the hotel still is up for sale, as it has been since late 2016.

    The StR Princeville is most clearly dated. Obviously, it will take a new owner to finally renovate the property. The current owner is a LA pension fund which was less interested in improving the property and far more interested in its investment potential.

    That being said, the StR Princeville feels more traditionally Hawaiian than a large number of other Hawaiian Island luxury properties (including the much larger and much less luxurious Grand Hyatt Kauai). The StR view is the best in the Hawaiian Islands–nothing else even comes close. While the StR building is dated, the interior public spaces are quite nice and traditionally Hawaiian, even if the rooms/suites definitely could use a refresh/refurbishment. Of course, most Hawaiian luxury hotels could use a refurbishment! And the StR service, food/beverage, and pool area are among the finest in Hawaii.

    Which is why we’re booked for the StR again in April–assuming it’s still part of the Marriott/SPG portfolio.

  9. It’s a nice property with fantastic sunsets but it’s not worth the nightly rate. A bit dated and feels packaged. Better off renting a private home on Kauai (which is likely less expensive) and having dinner at the St Regis Princeville to experience the view at least once.

  10. I was just in Kauai last week. My wife and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, but we loved the St. Regis Princeville property so much more. We were sitting at their outdoor bar terrace for hours – the view was amazing! I can’t say anything about the rooms, but I did think the lobby was nice. The Grand Hyatt was much more dated and we didn’t particularly care for it. We both agreed that if we were to go back to Kauai, we would stay at the St. Regis Princeville.

  11. This property is just not an elite property. I stayed there not that long ago and the location and lobby is great. Certainly from the restaurants and rooms you get a wonderful view. But keep going past the lobby and it’s very dated…to the point that it’s unappealing. The rooms and the facade of the back where the pool/water is is pretty uninspiring…and this is me being kind. This property is slightly better than a nice Sheraton.

    I’m a lifetime plat SPG so I’ve been to two or three starwoods for reference.

  12. We got double upgraded to a suite a couple years ago on a 2nt inexpensive FHR paid stay with gold status and it was awesome. Fantastic property and super nice $$$$ restaurant.

  13. I’ve stayed there maybe 8-10 times over the years, and it has not changed a bit since 2000. Somewhere along the way, we decided to rent homes in Hanalei instead, which I recommend for a better Kauai experience. Occasionally, I’ll meet a first-timer friend for a drink at the bar for the view, but otherwise, there’s no reason for any experienced Kauai traveler to stay there. If you’ve never been to Kauai, and can stay for free with points, then great. But just use it as a base to get out and about. It’s not a luxury resort in and of itself. For example, the twice-weekly luau takes in tour buses from outside…

  14. Amazing property but desperately in need for a update. The rooms look dark and very beaten up.

  15. I stayed there 3 years ago and was extremely impressed with their service. I had lost my wallet while sitting at the pool bar, waiting for our room to be ready. Upon checking in once our room was ready, I found that I was missing my wallet. I had to do nothing but sit and within minutes they had my wallet back to me, found where I thought I had lost it. I have never seen anything be resolved quite that fast so I was impressed. We had one other occasion to experience their service and it was again, beyond the norm. The lobby was beyond elegant and as most have said, the views from the lobby, breakfast area, pool, etc are some of the best in all of Hawaii or perhaps the world. I was inspired and in awe looking out every day. Yes the rooms were not perfect, but are you in Hawaii to stay in your room? Breakfast was excellent and just sitting there first thing in the morning, having coffee with that view was breathtaking. I went snorkeling among the coral that some have complained about and it was some of the best snorkeling I have ever done as there were no waves and the salt content in the water kept me bouanyt unlike any other time I have snorkeled, making me enjoy the experience even more. I have no idea what the service is like now, but I will say I had one of my best travel experiences at this hotel and will remember it fondly. And before anyone says that I must not have traveled to to many places, I will tell you have been around the world and stayed in some of the top hotels, with glorious views and service. This Princeville Resort will remain among the most memorable. I only wish everyone could have had such an enjoyable experience. And yes, I am Platinum and paid for an upgrade, so really all we got was a free breakfast, but we did get our parking comped too.

  16. Fantastic property – best on island. Hyatt location is vastly inferior. Wonderful staff – beautiful rooms. I don’t need an Andaz with a tub in living room and no bathroom door. The grounds are great and pool/beach cannot be beat. 5 hours from mainland USA so easy to reach unlike Bali, Maldives etc. Plus in USA with US service standards in a country not run by religious fanatics. Really it is hard to top Hawaii and this property. Sad to see it go – wonder if it will survive as an independent a la Hotel Hana or ultimately return to the fold.

  17. Loved the property – stayed here with my kid who was a toddler at the time. The hotel staff went above and beyond – free baby and kid’s menu, a stuffy and looked after us overall.

    While the rooms were a bit dated, I like old grand hotel rooms with lots of marble – the sleek look with sharp edges and no personality don’t appeal to me. It’s one reason why I keep going back to the Kahala Hotel – the large rooms!

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