San Manuel Band of Mission Indians buys stake in Dana Point resort

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians buys stake in Dana Point resort

Tribe behind Yaamava’ Casino owns 40% of Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort

JUN 7, 2023, 11:30 AM | By TRD Staff

An Indian tribe in the Inland Empire has bought a major stake in the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club in Dana Point.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, owners of the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in Highland, has taken a 40-percent stake in the 175-acre resort at 1 Monarch Beach Resort, the Orange County Register reported.

The San Manuel Band paid an undisclosed sum to Ohana Real Estate Investors, based in Redwood City, which in 2020 bought the 400-room, five-diamond hotel campus for $497 million.

“We are impressed with Hilton and Waldorf Astoria’s strategic repositioning of the property over recent years,” San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn “Nay” Valbuena told the Register.

The Mission-style hotel, once known as Monarch Beach Resort, sits atop a 150-foot bluff on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the ocean. The property includes a 6-acre private beach club, three swimming pools and an 18-hole golf course.

Ohana and San Manuel did not disclose the dollar amount of the investment, but noted the tribe has “the option to increase its ownership through one or more future transactions.”

The luxury hotel opened in 2001 under the St. Regis hotel chain, and after several ownership changes, dropped the brand in 2016.

Under Ohana, the Monarch added the Waldorf Astoria brand – a luxury segment of the Hilton chain. Last year, Ohana completed a $30 million makeover of its hotel rooms.

San Manuel has spread its wings beyond its Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel. In 2021, it bought the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for $650 million

Hotel analyst Alan Reay of Atlas Hospitality said San Manuel has also invested in non-casino lodging, such as Bear Springs Hotel in Highland and a Residence Inn in Downtown Sacramento. 

The tribe also has investments in hotels in Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Waldorf, Reay said, “is a good strategic move.”

Last year Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta paid $641 million for the cliffside Montage Laguna Beach, just north of San Manuel’s investment in Dana Point.

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