Westin Hilton Head to undergo 'complete renovation' as part of new ownership deal

gmartin@islandpacket.comJanuary 19, 2012 

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The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa will be extensively remodeled as part of a recent agreement that has emerged from bankruptcy proceedings.

Southwest Value Partners assumed ownership of the second-largest hotel on Hilton Head, replacing Transwest Resort Properties, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2010.

The agreement was contingent on the new owners' investment of more than $60 million in improvements, to be divided between the Hilton Head hotel and another in Arizona it acquired from Transwest Resort Properties.

Almost $30 million of that is expected to be used to remodel the Westin Hilton Head, said its general manager Andrew Czarnecki, who said his hotel's "complete renovation" would begin immediately.

"We'll try to do what we can between now and the tourist season," he said, adding that he hopes most of the remodeling will be completed within a year.

The planned improvements include renovations of every guest room, all meeting spaces, the main lobby, outdoor venues and the pool area.

Czarnecki said he couldn't be specific about what returning guests can expect because the changes have yet to be finalized. However, he said the renovations would be comprehensive.

"We have great bones in our facility, and want to keep some of our southern charm," he said. "But the new design elements will be very dramatic."

Czarnecki added the work would not affect guests or the hotel's operations.

Skip James, the hotel's director of sales and marketing, said minor improvements -- such as wall coverings and deck refurbishments -- have been made since Transwest declared bankruptcy, but that the new investment would allow a variety of delayed enhancements.

Southwest Value Partners, a San Diego-based, private real estate investment firm, structured the transaction and submitted a plan for the hotel's reorganization, which was confirmed by a bankruptcy court Jan. 3 and went into effect Wednesday.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will continue to manage the 412-room resort.

As part of the agreement, Southwest Value Partners also acquired the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson.

"We are pleased with our investments on Hilton Head Island and in Tucson," said Southwest Value Partners co-managing partner Cary Mack, in a statement.

"In partnership with Starwood Hotels we will meaningfully enhance the guest experience at each property through completing the largest capital improvement investment in the history of the resorts since their initial construction."

Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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