- Hawaii’s Trump International Hotel, Waikiki, will be rebranded as Wākea Waikiki Beach under the management of LXR Hotels & Resorts, one of Hilton’s three luxury brands, the hotel company announced last week.
- News of the rebrand comes after real estate owner Irongate and operator Trump Hotels reached a mutual agreement for a buyout of the hotel management and license agreements for the property. The Waikiki hotel is one of several properties to ditch the Trump Hotels brand in the years since Donald Trump first took the political stage, as reported by Bloomberg.
- The 462-key hotel will be renovated to reflect the operator change, with Hilton’s LXR Hotels & Resorts flag officially taking over management in February. With the Hawaii asset, Hilton expands its luxury portfolio as competition in the segment heats up, including by some of the company’s main peers.
The renovation and rebranding of the Trump International Hotel, Waikiki marks a “monumental transformation of one of Hawaii's most revered properties,” Hilton said in a release.
Scheduled to start in early 2025, the hotel renovation will touch most areas of the property, including the lobbies, pool areas, spa, fitness center, guest room corridors and interiors, landscaping and building systems. Led by London- and New York-based interior design studio Bryan O’Sullivan Studio, design elements of the project will include new finish materials and a furniture collection of pieces tailored specifically for the resort.
The revamp will also reconceptualize the Wai`olu restaurant and In-Yō Café, and the destination restaurant on the ground floor will be home to a new-to-property internationally acclaimed restaurateur and chef, Hilton said.
The project will take several months to complete, the company noted, as it will happen in phases to minimize disruption to daily operations. The on-site hotel management team that has worked at the hotel since its 2009 debut will remain on, joining LXR Hotels & Resorts.
The hotel is one of several to leave the Trump brand in recent years, including Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama, which became a JW Marriott in 2018, and others in New York and Toronto, Bloomberg reported.
Irongate Managing Director Scott Ingwers told Hotel Dive that the transformation of the iconic Waikiki hotel is a “strategic move to redefine an iconic establishment, introducing a renewed feel and best-in-class luxury to one of Hawaii's most esteemed destinations.”
“The transition is rooted in our pursuit of operational excellence, including access to LXR's resources, expertise, and global guest base and network,” Ingwers said, adding that Hilton, and LXR specifically, was selected due to the brand's “deep connection to its surroundings, alignment with the property's vision and its historical presence in Japan, a crucial market for Waikiki and the hotel.”
With the luxury hotel, Hilton expands the LXR portfolio in one of the “most alluring destinations globally,” Feisal Jaffer, global head at LXR Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement. The brand’s portfolio comprises more than 20 hotels and resorts in Hawaii.
“Hawaii has played an important role in Hilton’s history and growth strategy across the Pacific,” Greg Hartmann, senior vice president of luxury and mixed-use development at Hilton, said. “The signing of Wākea Waikiki Beach complements our Hawaiian luxury portfolio and ensures we continue to meet the needs of our ever-evolving guests in destinations where they choose to be.”
The expansion of LXR comes as the luxury and lifestyle segments have seen strong demand and performance growth in the last year, according to Highland Group. Other hotel companies have also recently expanded in the space.
In September, Hyatt grew its luxury lifestyle portfolio by 30 hotels and resorts, and in the same month, Marriott International unveiled plans to expand its luxury Ritz-Carlton brand amid a push in the segment.
Marriott claims to hold the largest global share of luxury hotels, with 16.9%. Hilton comes in behind several other big-name hotel companies, including Hyatt and IHG, with a 3.2% share.