Hyatt to brand Escala Lodges | ParkRecord.com

Hyatt to brand Escala Lodges

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Hyatt Hotels will manage Escala Lodges beginning Nov. 23.

Last Friday, SDI Realty Group, developers of the 178-room Escala Lodges at Canyons Resort, signed an agreement to rename the property and allow Hyatt to manage the nightly rental operation, commercial areas and homeowners association.

Effective the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the whole-ownership condominium hotel will become Hyatt Escala Lodge in Park City.

The Canyons’ lodging entity had been the property manager since the condo hotel with 85 residences opened in 2008. Cory Williams, a partner with SDI Realty Group, said bringing Hyatt on board was in the best interest of the property and would benefit Canyons Resort in the long run.

Claudia Wattenberg was named new general manager on Oct. 13. She comes from the Hyatt Regency Maui in Hawaii.

Talks with Hyatt began last February, and the deal has been finalized over the past two months. The lengthy time is to ensure a smooth transition, he said.

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There are several reasons Hyatt was chosen as the new property manager, Williams said.

The company has a strong track record in making resort properties successful. Williams named Beaver Creek, Colorado, as an example of a successful Hyatt ski property.

He said the company provides excellent service to homeowner associations and can offer them several options if they opt to enter a rental pool. With international connections, Hyatt’s options are not something a local company could provide, he said.

"They’re in high-quality ski locations and know how to take care of owners," he added. "And they absolutely wanted to be in Park City."

Another reason for choosing Hyatt is the type of clientele it can introduce to Park City. Similar to what has been said about St. Regis, Montage and Waldorf Astoria, Williams said travelers loyal to the Hyatt brand will follow it to Park City. These are often people who may not have had a reason to come otherwise.

New clientele will include resort property investors who may consider purchasing an Escala unit, as well as regular travelers some of whom may also be enticed to own a piece of the hotel, he explained.

Over 35 experts from Hyatt have visited the property since summer and have made recommendations to raise the hotel to the company’s standards. Some of these changes will be expensive, but Williams said their expert recommendations, once implemented, will increase the value of Escala.

These changes will be as minor as staff computer software and new bed linens, to renovations of meeting spaces and amenities.

One of those is a restaurant and bar. Williams said SDI Realty Group and Hyatt are working to select a design and a contractor. He anticipates a completion date in summer 2011.

"We’re really excited about it; both sides are working extremely hard on multiple things. We are all very excited," Williams said.

Right now Escala has 30 owners with the remainder of the units still held by SDI Realty Group. Canyons will continue managing the nightly rentals, common areas and commercial areas through Nov. 22.


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