Omni Hotels & Resorts to buy The Homestead

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Print this page By Paula C. Squires

By July 1, one of Virginia’s most venerable and historic resorts, The Homestead in Bath County, could be flying the Omni flag.

Omni Hotels & Resorts announced Wednesday that it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase and operate five resort properties from entities affiliated with KSL Capital Partners LLC, The Homestead’s owner.

According to a company press release, the properties will be reflagged under the Omni brand on July 1. However, Omni spokeswoman Anne Tramer said in an interview with Virginia Business that the name of the 250-year-old resort won’t go away.

“We are going to change the logo, and you will see some Omni signage in the area. It will be more of a supportive brand change as opposed to a name change. We will maintain the name in there somewhere,” she said.

According to Tramer, an Omni team is at The Homestead this week “trying to learn as much as possible about the resort. We want it to remain business as usual, and we want guests to feel as little change as possible.”

Lynn Swann, director of marketing and communications for The Homestead, said the resort doesn’t expect cutbacks or changes in personnel. ”There will be no changes to the staffing,” she said.

The five-property deal represents a significant expansion to Omni’s collection of resort properties.
Besides The Homestead, the resorts are The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.; Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas; La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.; and Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

“Each of these properties is unique in its own right — rich in heritage and distinctive in their elegance and charm. We would be fortunate to own and operate any single one of these celebrated resorts,” Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement.

Tramer, a vice president of corporate communications based in Dallas, said the historic, authentic nature of the Homestead appealed to Omni, which already has three historic properties in its portfolio, including the Amelia Island Plantation in Florida. “Right now supply is at a record low in the hospitality sector,” she said. “We felt there was this opportunity to seize the day with these historic properties.”

The five properties will add 2,362 rooms, 304,000 square feet of meeting and function space, 34 dining options, 48 retail locations, 12 golf courses, three water parks, a ski facility and five spas to Omni’s portfolio.

The Homestead, located in the Allegheny Mountains of southwestern Virginia, is wrapping up a $26 million renovation that will culminate with this month’s opening of the new Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Over Memorial Day weekend, the resort opened a new miniature golf course. Last year The Homestead added a family-friendly water attraction with water slides, a lazy river, family pool, whirlpool and cabanas.

The Virginia resort has 483 rooms and suites, 72,000 square feet of meeting space, fine and casual dining choices, championship golf courses and a downhill ski area.

Dallas-based Omni Hotels did not disclose a purchase price for the deal.

KSL Capital Partners, with offices in Denver and New York, is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure investments. It purchased The Homestead in 2006 as part of a deal estimated at $1.8 billion that included Pinehurst, a historic North Carolina golf resort.

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