The Sheraton hotel chain is coming to Guam.

Brian Pak vice president and general manager of the Palace Hotel Guam told the Journal that Ken Corp. which finalized the purchase of the Palace Hotel Guam on June 1 is finalizing negotiations to re-brand the Palace Hotel as the Sheraton Laguna Guam. This will be the first Sheraton in Micronesia.

The Palace is also scheduled to undergo $35 million in renovations.

Pak said "This hotel will be re-branded and repositioned. We are about 90% sure it will be re-branded Sheraton. We haven’t signed the contract yet but a letter of intent was signed and issued by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. the company that owns worldwide brands including Westin Sheraton W and St. Regis." Pak said the official name would be changed to Sheraton Laguna Guam.

Pak said the renovations would begin in Fall 2006. Renovations to the hotel are scheduled to begin Sept. 1 and will run through March 2007 and have its soft opening will be on April 1 2007. "The hotel will still be operating until Nov. 30. There will be a temporary hotel closure due to renovations beginning Dec. 1 through March 2007. The grand opening is tentatively set for July 1 2007 " Pak said.

The details of the renovations are still being finalized but Pak said that all the guest rooms would get a complete facelift. "Also the infrastructure "" the mechanical and electrical will be redone. Generators water tanks chillers and cooling towers will be repaired or completely replaced. We will be upgrading the atrium front office lobby function rooms and restaurants." New features being added to the hotel include restaurants tour desks and a business center. A new lagoon with a waterfall will also be constructed in the back courtyard. The new lagoon will take up about 80% of the courtyard’s area. The existing swimming pools will be upgraded with a new pool planned for construction.

"A world-class chapel will be built at the same time " Pak said. "We are still making the conceptual drawings. Most of the detailed drawings and conceptual designs will be done by the end of July."

While the upgrades are still in the conceptual design phase Pak said the concept of the rooms would be a mix. "It will be a combination of a high-tech and fun resort together. Inside the their rooms the guests will feel like they are staying in a city hotel "" very comfortable and convenient. However when they come out of their rooms they experience a fun resort experience " he said.

Pak said "Future guests can expect to experience a very high level of service and a product that they will appreciate "" something they haven’t experienced before. We’ll be introducing a lot of new things to the market that both locals and tourists can enjoy.

We’re trying to introduce new things because the visitors’ ratio has been increasing steadily. People come here more than once or twice and can now expect something new from our hotel. The product that we will introduce to the market when we open will be something new that they will enjoy and make them want to come back."

He said "Shigero Sato president of Ken Real Estate Lease Ltd. "" also known as Ken Corp. has a great vision for the Micronesia area especially Guam. Ken Real Estate investing money in the island shows our interest and enthusiasm about investment and development on Guam.

As first reported in the Journal Ken Corp. was one of the interested buyers vying to buy the Palace Hotel (See "Ken Corp. bids on Palace; second bidder waiting" in the May 15 edition of the Journal.). Ken Corp. reportedly put down a deposit of earnest money on a firm bid of $20 million after completion of due diligence. The sale was negotiated directly between Ken Corp. and Triskeles Holdings Ltd. (See "Palace Hotel under sale deadline" in the Oct. 3 2005 edition of the Journal.). The purchase of the Palace Hotel by Ken Corp. was finalized June 1.

Ken Corp. owns 14% of the room inventory on Guam with about 1 300 rooms. The Palace hotel property consists of 12.9 acres of land. It has 403 rooms with spaces for restaurants and offices. There are two pools three tennis courts and one wedding chapel. For government tax purposes the property was appraised at $55 370 000 for the 2005 tax year. The hotel employs about 160 people.

Ken Corp. is no stranger to the hospitality market in the Mariana Islands. It partnered with Orix a large leasing and financial company and acquired Pacific Islands Club Guam on June 1 2005. The company also acquired the 91-room Aqua Resort Saipan from Mac-Home Tokyo Ltd. in August 2004 (see the Deloitte & Touche Guam Business "Top 40 Companies in Micronesia" in the Fourth Quarter 2005 issue of Guam Business.). Ken Corp. also purchased the Santa Fe Hotel. (See "Santa Fe shuffle; Ken Corp. offering $3.2 million Lehman Bros." in the April 17 edition of the Journal.)

According to the Starwood Hotels website ( as of Dec. 31 2005 its hotel portfolio included owned leased managed and franchised hotels totaling 845 hotels with approximately 258 000 rooms in approximately 100 countries and is comprised of 130 hotels that it owned or leases or in which it had a majority equity interest 378 hotels managed by it on behalf of third-party owners (including entities in which it had a minority equity interest) and 337 hotels for which it received franchise fees. Its brand names include St. Regis Hotels & Resorts the Luxury Collection W Hotels Westin Hotels & Resorts Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Four Points by Sheraton Le Meridien and Aloft. MBJ