Aug. 6, 2002 – The deal to sell Sunterra Carambola Beach Resort to a group of investors is still in the works, Carambola general manager Ike Turner said Tuesday. While the sale was expected to close last week, he said, "It will happen when it happens."
He said the company will make an announcement when the sale is consummated.
Turner said the name of the investment group also is "Carambola," but provided no other details. He said the investors have hired the Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Ocean Hospitalities to manage the property. The president of Ocean Hospitalities, Doug Greene, did not returned several telephone calls requesting comment.
The 150-room hotel, which was previously a Westin resort, became a Sunterra property in 1998. Sunterra went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 31, 2000, but emerged on July 29 after a $300 million financing deal with Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc.
Turner said numerous companies looked into buying the property. "There was one every six months," he said.
Ocean Hospitalities owns or operates more than 88 hotels in the United States and Canada, as well as shopping centers, restaurants and other real estate. According to its Web site, it is one of the five largest management companies in the United States and operates hotels of such chains as Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Four Points Sheraton, Hilton, Days Inn, Ramada Inn, Howard Johnson, Quality Inn, Quality Suites, Comfort Inn, Hawthorn Suites, Best Western and Radisson. It also manages numerous independent properties.
Its Web site does not show any other Caribbean properties.
Turner said news of the pending sale has sparked interest among St. Croix residents, who have flocked to the beach and the restaurant. However, they are not staying overnight. He said the hotel is in the midst of its usual slow season, but he expects business to pick up in August and September. "July is the slowest month," he said.
He said the investors have been on the property, which has slid downward since its days as a Westin, noting changes that need to be made. Maintenance projects were scheduled for the fall, he said, but with the pending sale, he's not sure what will happen to those plans. While Sunterra is a time-share company, Turner said no time shares have been sold at Carambola since June 2000.
The Carambola Golf Club has different owners and is not included in the sale.
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