Maui Prince Hotel to remain open under new management


The Maui Prince Hotel at Makena Resort will remain open at least for the near future.

The resort’s mortgage lender, Wells Fargo Bank, yesterday announced the selection of Texas-based Benchmark Hospitality Management as the resort’s new management company, effective Sept. 17. The resort’s current management company, Prince Hotels Hawaii, will end its operating contract, as planned, the day before.

Benchmark plans to change the name and branding of the resort.

Prince Resorts Hawaii announced on Aug. 31 that it intended to terminate its management contract on Sept. 16—a move that threatened continued operation of the Maui Prince Hotel and its Makena North golf course. At the time, Prince Resorts Hawaii cited that it had been unable to secure funding for the hotel and golf course’s payroll and operating expenses from the owners and lenders of the Makena Resort, on which both properties are located.

A consortium of Makena Resort lenders led by Wells Fargo Bank had filed a foreclosure action on the resort on Aug. 24, alleging that the property’s owners had defaulted on a mortgage loan of $192.5 million.

Prince Hotels Hawaii said on Aug. 31 that it decided to terminate its contract when owners and lenders failed to guarantee future funding of the hotel and golf course by a deadline both parties had set.

Wells Fargo Bank countered Prince Hotels Hawaii’s plan on Sept. 1, asking a Circuit Court judge to appoint a receiver to take over operation of Maui Prince Hotel and Makena North golf course. Wells Fargo attorney Barry Sullivan also claimed that the lender had advanced funding to Prince Hotels Hawaii by deadline to pay the hotel’s vendors and suppliers.

Sullivan said at the time that plans were in motion to recruit a new hotel operator to take over management from Prince Hotels Hawaii. 

Circuit Court Judge Shackley Raffetto yesterday issued preliminary approval for Wells Fargo Bank attorneys to name Benchmark Hospitality Management as the hotel and golf course’s new managers. Benchmark Hospitality also manages the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore.

The Maui Prince Hotel and Makena North golf course employs 380. The 310-room hotel has been in operation since 1986.

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