Great Eagle Holdings Limited Completes
Acquisition of the 380 room
for $170 million; Pasadena Landmark Rebranded The Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa
|By Audrey Reed, San Gabriel Valley
Tribune, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 10, 2008 - PASADENA -- The Ritz-Carlton checked out late Tuesday night, and at midnight Langham Hotels International checked in.
Overnight, the hotel at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Avenue, was rebranded as The Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa.
The Pasadena landmark was sold last year, and its new owners have plans to spend $25 million in updates on the AAA Five Diamond hotel.
"We are looking at it as a very significant investment," Nigel Roberts, Langham senior vice president of operations, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.
Upgrades to the spa and the eight cottages on the property are among priority projects, Roberts said. So far, updates have been made throughout the hotel to reflect the change in name.
Langham Hotels International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Eagle Holdings Limited, which bought the property in October 2007 for $170 million.
The Hong Kong-based company purchased the hotel from the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, which bought the property in 1994 for $42.5 million.
Nan Marchand, the executive director at the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her interactions with Langham have signaled that they want to build upon previous successes of the hotel rather than make drastic changes.
"The Langham folks view themselves as stewards of the property," she said. "The Huntington is still the Huntington."
Most of the hotel managers have stayed in place during the transition. One of those is Martin Nichols, the hotel's managing director, who has been with the Ritz-Carlton for two and a half years.
"It's a perfect marriage," Nicholson said. "It will breathe in new life."
One easy comparison between Langham and the Pasadena property is the age of both luxury hotels. Langham's flagship hotel in London is more than 140 years old, and the Huntington is in its 101st year of operation.
Historically, the London location brought a few firsts to hotels; it the first hotel to offer hot and cold running water and also the first to have "moving floors" or elevators, Roberts said.
The Huntington Hotel & Spa marks Langham's second property in the U.S. In 1996, it bought a hotel in Boston and rebranded it in 2004.
Langham has 12 hotels that are either open or under construction in four continents -- North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The company said that it would like to have a stronger presence on the West Coast.
"We are looking to expand," Roberts said, adding that the company has a team of people actively seeking out those opportunities.
Councilman Sid Tyler said he was hopeful that the "family jewel" of a hotel would attract business traffic in conjunction with the expansion of the Pasadena Convention Center.
"This hotel is important to the city of Pasadena in so many mays," he said, referencing its the business and historical value.
The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa has 380 guest rooms, including 38 suites. Features on the 23-acre property include tennis courts, an outdoor pool, more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, Japanese and Horseshoe Gardens and the Picture Bridge.
To see more of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.sgvtribune.com.
Copyright (c) 2008, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Calif.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA. MAR,