TAMPA, FL – HFF announced today that it has closed the sale of the Waldorf Astoria Naples, a 474-room luxury resort, and the 18-hole Naples Grande Golf Course in Naples, Florida. 

HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller, an affiliate of Blackstone.  An affiliate of Northwood Investors purchased the hotel and the golf course.  Northwood will continue to operate the hotel with a Waldorf Astoria brand affiliation.

Originally known as the Registry Resort, Blackstone acquired the property as part of its 2004 acquisition of Wayne Huizenga’s Boca Resorts Inc., which also included the legendary Boca Raton Resort and the Edgewater Beach Resort, among other assets.

The resort has 474 guestrooms including 29 gulf view suites and 50 bungalow suites plus more than 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space.  Every room features a private, angled balcony with direct views of the Gulf.  Guests of the hotel have access to six on-site restaurants and bars, three heated outdoor pools with a 100-foot waterslide, a full-service luxury spa, 8,000-square-foot fitness center, business center and an award-winning tennis facility.  The property is surrounded by 20 acres of a protected mangrove estuary intertwined with a system of bridges and elevated walking paths that afford access to three miles of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico.  The property is also immediately proximate to the renowned Waterside Shoppes, Southwest Florida’s most luxurious shopping mall.

The Naples Grande Golf Course is a highly-acclaimed, Rees Jones-designed private course located minutes from the hotel.  The 18-hole, par 72 course features 6,955 yards set among a lush landscape of native Florida pine hammocks, live oak, grand cypress trees, and brilliant water features.  Originally completed in 2000, the course has been named one of North America’s “Top 100 Resort Courses” by Golfweek Magazine and named one of the “Top 50 Courses in Florida” with a 4.5 out of 5 star ranking by Golf Magazine.

The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing director and head of HFF’s Hotel Group, Daniel C. Peek, directors Max Comess and Paul Hsu, and senior hospitality analysts Alexandra Lalos and Cyrus Vazifdar. 

“The market for Florida oceanfront resorts is not only back, it’s thriving at a level that we have not seen since 2006 or 2007,” noted Peek.  “The story is not just about Miami anymore— investors and lenders are competing to enter all of the resort markets across the state.”

Florida welcomed a record number of visitors during the second quarter, according to the most recent estimates released by Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation.  From April through June this year, 23.4 million people visited the state, an increase of 2.6 percent over the same period in 2012.  The numbers include 19.7 million domestic visitors (+1.6% over 2012), 2.7 million overseas visitors (+9.3%) and 1 million Canadian arrivals (+4.9%).  The strong performance comes after a record-setting first quarter, during which Florida welcomed 26.5 million visitors—the most of any quarter in history.

“We were fortunate to attract significant interest from investors around the world, including some of the top REITs, institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, and brands,” added Comess.  “The allure for investors was both the irreplaceable nature of the resort and its strong growth in both top and bottom line performance that continues to accelerate.”

According to Smith Travel Research data, the luxury lodging segment leads the hospitality industry through August of this year with 5.9 percent growth in average daily rates and 7.9 percent growth in revenue per occupied room compared to the same period in 2012.

HFF is a leader in the sale and financing of all types of hotel/lodging assets including oceanfront and ski-in/ski-out properties.  The firm recently arranged sale transactions for the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, Cheeca Lodge and Spa in the Florida Keys, Hotel Renew in Waikiki, and the Elevation Resort and Spa in Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Blackstone (NYSE: BX) is one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms. The firm seeks to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies it invests in, the companies it advises and the broader global economy.  The firm does this through the commitment of extraordinary people and flexible capital.  Its alternative asset management businesses include the management of private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge fund solutions, credit-focused funds and closed-end funds.  Blackstone also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services.  Further information is available at www.Blackstone.com. Follow on Twitter @Blackstone.    

Northwood Investors is a privately-held real estate investment advisor that was founded in 2006 by John Z. Kukral, the former President and CEO of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors.  Northwood employs a fundamental, value-driven investment strategy with a longer-term outlook and has raised approximately $2.8 billion of capital since inception.  The Northwood team has deep experience in sourcing, executing and managing real estate transactions worldwide, ranging from hotels, office buildings and shopping centers to residential investments.

HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) and HFFS (HFF Securities L.P.) are owned by HFF, Inc. (NYSE: HF).  HFF operates out of 21 offices nationwide and is a leading provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry. HFF together with its affiliate HFFS offer clients a fully integrated national capital markets platform including debt placement, investment sales, equity placement, advisory services, loan sales and commercial loan servicing.  For more information please visit www.hfflp.comor follow HFF on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hff.