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Bacara hotel sold as high-end coastal resorts enjoy comeback

February 28, 2013|By Roger Vincent
  • The Bacara Resort & Spa near Santa Barbara has been acquired by Pacific Hospitality Group.
The Bacara Resort & Spa near Santa Barbara has been acquired by Pacific… (Bacara Resort & Spa )

Plush Southern California seaside resorts suffered during the recent recession, but they are making a comeback as business and leisure travel picks up.

Now, Bacara Resort & Spa near Santa Barbara has been acquired by an Irvine hotel company that plans to upgrade the luxurious inn as well-heeled guests return to coastal resorts.

Pacific Hospitality Group bought Bacara from SB Luxury Resort, an affiliate of Ohana Real Estate Investors and Rockpoint Group, which have owned the property since 2011. The sale price was not disclosed, but real estate experts said the seller was asking for more than $150 million.

The 354-room hotel will continue to be known as Bacara, a name made up for the property that opened in 2000. It will be operated by Pacific Hospitality, which also acquired Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in San Diego, Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach and the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa during the last 15 months.

“We see this as a really dynamic hotel environment, which we have been lucky enough to take advantage of because we are an owner-operator,” said Kory Kramer, chief investment officer.

Pacific Hospitality will spend more than $5 million on improvements, he said, starting with refurbishments to guest rooms. The company’s strategy also calls for booking more conferences and meetings on weekdays.

“Our goal is to double that business,” Kramer said.

The hotel industry lost a lot of customers during the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, said consultant Alan Reay of Atlas Hospitality Group. “Resorts suffered the largest drop in revenue of all hotel segments.”

Now the trend is reversing as companies book more out-of-town retreats and leisure travelers open their wallets again for top-drawer destinations, Reay said.

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