Host Hotels & Resorts will leave the chandelier on for you. One of the largest hospitality real estate investment trusts in the US, Host Hotels owns about 120 luxury and upscale hotels with some 65,000 rooms in North America, South America, and Europe. Its properties are managed by third parties; most operate under the Marriott brand and are managed by sister firm Marriott International. Other primary brands include Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, and Westin. To maintain its status as a real estate investment trust (REIT), which carries tax advantages, Host operates through majority-owned Host Hotels & Resorts LP.
Host's strategy is to acquire hotels in central business districts of major cities resorts, and convention centers, while reducing its exposure to non-core, suburban, airport assets. The company also considers the acquisition of midscale properties to compliment its traditional focus on upscale and luxury hotels.
After acquiring four upscale hotels around the globe in 2010, Host continued its spree in 2011. The company bought the New York Helmsley Hotel from Helmsley Enterprises and announced plans to renovate the 775-room property and reopen it under the Westin brand. In a separate deal, Host acquired the Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego's largest hotel, for $570 million.
While Host emphasizes US acquisitions, it still looks to diversity its holdings at home and abroad, sometimes through joint ventures. In 2012 it entered into a joint venture with an affiliate of Hyatt Hotels Corp. to develop, sell, and operate a 131-unit vacation ownership project adjacent to the company's Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. The Maui project is expected to open in late 2014. Host owns approximately a third of a joint venture with Dutch pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds that owns more than a dozen hotels in six European countries. The REIT also holds a quarter of a joint venture with Singapore's GIC Real Estate that acquired a minority interest in another joint venture that is developing seven hotel properties in India. It is also looking at opportunities in Australia, China, Japan, and Vietnam. Acting alone, Host bought seven hotels in New Zealand in 2011.
The global recession severely impacted the hospitality industry and Host was no exception. Lodging demand fell in 2008 and 2009, and revenues followed. But Host's capital and asset management skills helped it weather the downturn. While still below historical levels, demand increased in 2010 and 2011 as the economy exhibited signs of improvement. The company expects the trend to continue. Though the company remained in the red, it cut its losses in 2011.
Formerly known as Host Marriott, Host Hotels & Resorts split from Marriott International in 1993. The company adopted its current name in 2006 after it diversified its portfolio beyond the Marriott brand. The Marriott family has mostly sold its interest in Host. – less