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Montage Healdsburg luxury resort sold for $265 million

Ohana Real Estate Investors has sold the Montage Healdsburg luxury resort to an Irvine-based hotel investment firm for $265 million.

Redwood City-based Ohana said in a statement that Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. acquired the 130-room Wine Country resort that opened up in December.

This month Travel + Leisure named Montage Healdsburg to its 16th annual list of the top 70 new hotels in the world.

Ohana will retain ownership of residential tracts on the property, where it has started building and selling 68 custom homes affiliated with the 258-acre resort.

“This sale reflects the strong interest from investors in best-in-class, leisure-oriented resorts as the hotel industry begins to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James Cole, head of asset management at Ohana, in a statement.

The high-end hotel property is set on oak woodland and vineyards at the north end of town and includes a main lodge and 130 bungalow-style guest suites designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Room rates currently start at $995 per night, said spokeswoman Jennifer Chisea. A presidential suite, spanning more than 4,600 square feet, starts at $12,000 a night.

No changes are expected for guests and visitors, according to Chisea. Montage International, which operates destination luxury resorts across the country, is the resort operator under a long-term management contract.

“Our associates and guests will continue to enjoy business as usual going forward under the current leadership team led by general manager Allen Highfield. Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. is committed to the long-term success of Montage Healdsburg and shares our ongoing commitment to the outstanding hospitality that has been established at Montage and will continue,” Chisea said.

The resort includes pathways lined by lavender and gardenia and lawns spaced among the vineyards. Winemaker Jesse Katz of Aperture Estate in Healdsburg designed the hotel’s vineyard and will use grapes from the property to make wines.

Also, the resort has a partnership with Sonoma County Bee Company to manage the five-hive apiary and use honey and wax to craft products for the spa on the property.

As part of construction of the site, developer Sonoma Luxury Resort, a subsidiary of The Robert Green Co., entered into a revised agreement with the city of Healdsburg in January. That almost $5 million deal includes future affordable housing for up to 150 apartments and townhomes to be built on the site as well as construction of a community park and access to a new hiking trail. The developer will also contribute funding to a new nearby fire station.

Healdsburg City Manager Jeff Kay said Friday that the sale is not expected to impact any agreements the city has with Ohana related to the development agreement. Kay had been in contact with both Ohana and Sunstone to receive assurances on the agreement once he was informed earlier this month that the transaction was likely.

As part of development of the project, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in December issued a more than $6.4 million fine against Sonoma Luxury Resort and developer Robert Green for dozens of documented environmental violations during construction. The company appealed the decision, but the petition was dismissed by the board on April 12, said Blair Robertson, a state water board spokesman.

The company has the option to appeal the order in state court. Green bought the undeveloped land for $16.8 million in 2005 and initially pursued the project under the name Saggio Hills. He did not respond to a phone message or an email seeking comment about his plans related to the fine.

Staff Writer Bill Swindell can be reached at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.

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