Hawaii's Maui Prince Hotel Avoids Closure, Gets New Operator

Less than a month after announcing that its lenders were foreclosing on the property, likely forcing it to shut down, the managers of Hawaii's Maui Prince Hotel, Prince Resorts Hawaii, have relinquished control to a new court-appointed management company, Houston-based Benchmark Hospitality International.

In August, Prince Resorts Hawaii President Donn Takahashi released a statement announcing the impending foreclosure on the historic Maui Prince Hotel—which opened in 1986 in Makena, Maui—and his company's termination of its management contract, effective Sept. 16.

"[Prince Resorts] has no recourse but to give notice to terminate our management contract and cease operations of the hotel," Takahashi said on Aug. 31. "The closure will put around 380 full time, part time and casual staff out of work."

Just a week after Takahashi's announcement—in which he called the foreclosure a "heartbreaking scenario"—Benchmark Hospitality International last week announced that it had been appointed by a federal court as the Maui Prince Hotel's new operator.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome this remarkable property to the Benchmark family," Benchmark Chairman and CEO Burt Cabañas said in a statement. "This is a wonderful property with a marvelous and historic location offering tremendous potential. Benchmark looks forward to significantly enhancing the positioning and success of the resort, helping maintain the livelihood of hundreds of employees from Maui and playing an active role in preserving the history and reputation of Makena."

Already experienced in the Hawaii market, Benchmark also operates Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu. Because the company assumed its role as management company before Sept. 16, the property will not have to close and, according to Bob Boyle, Benchmark's vice president and regional director of operations, will work to retain "as many of the employees of the resort as possible."