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Irvine Co. seeks brand-name chain to reopen 2 closed hotels

The Irvine Co.’s 536-room Hotel Irvine will reopen after the company finds a partner to operate the property that caters primarily to corporate travelers and business events. (Courtesy: Irvine Co.)

The Irvine Co.’s two shuttered hotels in Orange County will reopen after the company finds a partner to operate the properties that cater primarily to corporate travelers and business events.

The property giant said it is seeking a “world-class” brand-name operator to lease and run what’s currently the 295-room Fashion Island Hotel and the 536-room Hotel Irvine. The company will continue to own and operate its other hotel property, the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, which remained open throughout the pandemic.

The two business hotels were closed by Irvine Co. in the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic throttled tourism, most notably business travel. At the time, the company said it was undertaking a detailed review of the future for the two properties.

Irvine Co. said it will retain ownership of the hotels in a long-term partnership arrangement “similar, in many ways, to our agreements with major department stores.”

Hotel analyst Alan Reay of Atlas Hospitality said Irvine Co.’s approach is interesting but also challenging.

“They can probably locate an operator to lease, but in all likelihood, the operator will have to secure a brand,” he said Tuesday.

Irvine Co. had independently operated The Fashion Island Hotel since 2005 and the Hotel Irvine since 2013. But catering to corporate travelers isn’t a core company business, so the company chose to bring in outside help.

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“The new operator will likely be a premier hotel brand with national and international expertise to meet the changing needs and expectations of travelers and local guests,” a company statement said. “The hotels are special properties in our community — hosting events, corporate meetings and traveling guests.”

Another high-profile Orange County independent hotel recently took on a brand-name operator.

The Monarch Beach Resort — a 400-room, five-diamond hotel in Dana Point — joined the Hilton chain and was rebranded the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club after it was bought by Ohana Real Estate Investors for $497 million in November.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com


Source: Orange County Register

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