Billionaire weighs buying Montage Laguna Beach resort for $650 million

Billionaire weighs buying Montage Laguna Beach resort for $650 million

The buyer is rumored to be restaurant and hotel owner Tilman Fertitta

By: Staff & News Service Reports
November 2, 2022

Is the Montage Laguna Beach luxury resort about to get a new owner?

Bloomberg News reports billionaire Tilman Fertitta is close to acquiring the 250-room oceanview hotel in Orange County for about $650 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

The Wall Street Journal reported a possible Montage sale without naming a buyer and put the price tag near $700 million.

The seller is China’s Dajia Insurance Group Co., which took over most of the operations of Anbang Insurance Group Co. The group is shedding much of its hotel portfolio including the Orange County resort. A representative for Fertitta declined to comment. Dajia officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Fertitta, who built his fortune from the restaurant company Landry’s, also owns hotels including multiple Golden Nugget casinos and the upscale Post Oak Hotel in Houston. He also owns pro basketball’s Houston Rockets. Plus, Fertitta recently reported holding a 6.2% stake in Wynn Resorts Ltd., the operator of hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and Macau.

If the $650 million price is correct, the Montage will sell for the second highest price per room ever paid in California, says hotel analyst Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group.

“Irreplaceable real estate still commands very high prices and seems to be unaffected by the increase in the cost of borrowing/interest rates,” Reay says.

The Montage opened in 2003, and in 2015 was bought by Strategic Hotels for $360 million – then the highest price paid per hotel room in California.

Strategic soon sold itself to New York-based Blackstone, which then sold Montage and other Strategic hotels to Anbang in 2016.

Dajia began exploring the sale of Anbang’s luxury US hotels earlier this year, according to media reports. The hotels were part of a portfolio that Anbang agreed to sell in 2019 as part of a deal that ultimately fell through as the pandemic struck.

Dajia took over the properties when the Chinese government restructured Anbang.

Bloomberg News and Southern California News Group’s Jonathan Lansner contributed to this report.

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