New York investment firm acquires majority stake in Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

  • Carey Watermark Investors Inc. acquired 75 percent of the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. The Fairmont recently completed renovation to the lobby. (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

A New York real estate investment trust has acquired a majority stake in the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa in a $73.3 million deal announced Thursday.

Carey Watermark Investors Inc. purchased a 75 percent stake in the luxury Sonoma Valley resort, the county's top-grossing hotel.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which owned the hotel, will retain a 25 percent stake in the property and continue to operate the resort under a long-term management agreement.

The deal, which was financed with $44 million in debt, values the resort at $97.1 million.

"From a guest's perspective, and even from a management perspective at the hotel, nothing has really changed," hotel spokeswoman Michelle Heston said.

Fairmont is nearly finished with the first phase of a $10.7 million renovation of the 226-room property, including the updating of all Heritage Rooms and a complete redesign of the hotel's lobby and restaurant, Sant? Additional work is planned over the next two years, including upgrading the spa.

"The completion of the hotel's renovations will enhance the resort, making it among the best luxury properties in the Sonoma/Napa market," CWI chief executive Michael Medzigian said in a statement.

The four-star resort is one of the largest employers in Sonoma Valley, with about 500 workers.

The hotel was built in 1927 atop geothermal springs on the site of the former Boyes Hot Springs Hotel, which was developed in 1895. The inn was a U.S. Navy rehabilitation facility during World War II and later served as a training site for sports teams.

The resort was renovated and expanded from 1984 to 2000. Today, room rates range from about $280 to more than $1,000 per night.

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