BY MAUREEN N. MARATITA
Journal Staff

Michael Makio

The Crowne Plaza Resort Guam has begun its journey to transform its Guam property in Tumon.

Tan Holdings has appointed an architect and is in the process of selecting a construction company to renovate 322 rooms, the public areas and develop a club lounge.

In addition, the property will have what IHG said will be “a refreshed focus on its garden,” with two pools.

Thomas Mayrhofer, regional general manager for the Guam and Saipan IHG properties; said the selected architect is Taniguchi, Ruth Makio Architects for the Crowne Plaza Guam project.

He told the Journal announcement of a contractor is imminent.

“We are finalizing the contract with the construction company, so we are not able to disclose [the company] at this point.”

However, Mayrhofer said, “They will be local.” In addition, he said there will be other opportunities for locally based businesses, as most of the sub-contractors will also be locally sourced.

Michael B. Makio, principal architect at Taniguchi Ruth, told the Journal his company was appointed about four months ago.  

The property has a wide and unrestricted view of Tumon Bay, and Makio intends to take advantage of that.

While much of the renovation involves the interior, he said, “The plan is not to place anything between the public spaces and the shore.”

In addition, Makio said that much of the exterior work — the walkways, the lighting and the pools will complement the beachside area, to include furnishing.

The view is one of the best available in the tourism belt, he said.

“It was one of my favorite hotels for that reason. I think it’s going to be a nice shiny little gem there in Tumon.”

In general, he said, the hotel will accommodate visitors to the island that have more contemporary demands of their lodgings.

“Their expectations are much more refined,” he said, particularly with today’s access to the internet to view properties and possible activities and spaces.

“IHG are good about defining that for hoteliers,” Makio said. Tan Holdings is equally involved, he said. “All the decision-making is being done by a really empowered management team.”

The positive input of IHG and Tan Holdings on what guests want is understandable, he said. “They’re really up to speed with that. They’re travelers themselves.”

Makio said the Crowne Plaza property is an important project. “It’s one of the oldest properties on Guam,” he said, and his clients have taken advantage of the COVID-19 situation to time to renovation. Other hospitality upgrading projects have not found that easy, he said. “I’ve watched hotels on-island struggle with timing.”

The May 2021 deadline is feasible, Makio said, with materials and systems at the ready. “In many cases, they’ve procured them.”

IHG and Tan Holdings jointly announced the new management of the former Fiesta Guam Resort in October.

The two released news of a similar arrangement for the Fiesta Saipan in May.

Jerry Tan, president of Tan Holdings had earlier hinted at the possibility of a Saipan relationship with IHG to the Journal, while the property awaited confirmation of its lease with the NMI Department of Public Lands.

The renegotiated Saipan lease is for 40 years and includes base rent, a $3.5 million public funding and gross receipts tax, with the potential to remit more than $900,000 a year to DPL, according to Journal files.

The 416-room Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan will open in 2022 following its own refurbishment and addition of a 116-room extension by 2025.

Mayrhofer said that project is not yet on the drawing board.

“We still have a lot of work to be done as we just took on this opportunity in May and with the current travel restrictions etc., we can only do so much remotely.”

The Fiesta Guam is rebranding as the Crowne Plaza Resort Guam and will open in May 2021.