The Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim, located on the Anaheim Convention Center campus and a short walk from the Disneyland Resort, is in the final stages of a renovation that will overhaul the hotel’s public and private spaces, food and beverage options and meeting space.
The $33 million project, expected to wrap by late spring, comes as the local hotel sector enjoys its best stretch of demand since the onset of the pandemic two years ago.
“Demand is back,” Atlas Hospitality Group founder Alan Reay told the Business Journal. “Some properties are nearing record revenue.”
The 490-room hotel was bought in late 2019 by New York-based institutional investor Taconic Capital Advisors LP for a reported $51 million from Bethesda, Md.-based CW Capital.
The relatively low $104,000 per room cost of the property seen in the sale is due to an underlying ground lease with the city of Anaheim that reportedly expires in 2068.
Plans for the renovation began shortly after the sale, with the new owners making use of the 2020 shutdown, according to Katie Wright, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.
General Manager Ian Gee will continue his six-year run with the hotel, which reopened in May 2021.
“The hotel has been an integral part of the Anaheim landscape for many years and the current ownership recognized the tremendous potential of the hotel,” Gee told the Business Journal. “Now with the significant investment in redesign, construction and furnishings, the reimagining of the entire space is complete.”
“We’re looking to keep our level and standards up high with the [city],” Wright said.
The debut of the renovation comes as Orange County’s hospitality sector continues its rebound from the lows seen in 2020, when Anaheim hotels saw occupancy levels fall to the 20% range before shuttering altogether.
OC occupancy levels have more than tripled since then, according to STR Inc. data.
Sheraton Park Hotel is enjoying stronger occupancy than anticipated, Wright notes, bolstered by Disneyland’s strong reopening last year and the recent return of conventions to the city.
Sheraton’s goal was to create “a level of experience guests expect from an Anaheim hotel,” according to Wright.
The property’s refresh joins the ranks of two new luxury hotels that opened during the pandemic: the 466-room JW Marriott Anaheim and the 618-room Westin Anaheim Resort.
“It was a hard renovation, [we] took everything down to the studs,” Wright said.
The Sheraton’s renovation was led by Irvine-based R.D. Olson Construction.
Sheraton now counts five dining outlets, including Morton’s Steakhouse, the World Market store, a poolside bar and two new concepts: a lobby bar dubbed &More; and an all-you-can-eat pizza concept, Savor, Stone Hearth Pizza and Wine, which expands and replaces the previous Savor location.
The hotel also introduced an exclusive club and patio for members, which opened this month.
Room rates start around $200 per night.
Business or Leisure
Leisure travel demand, which started to see a comeback last year locally, continues to show strong signs in 2022, especially for drive-to markets, Reay said.
The slower-to-recover meetings sector, meanwhile, is on the rise too, with the Anaheim Convention Center reporting a pickup in bookings, with five fan conventions on the books for 2022 with an estimated 185,000 attendees and 57,000 hotel room nights.
Sheraton is looking to attract both groups of travelers, and kept that in mind during the renovation.
The hotel converted one ballroom into three venues, including two meeting rooms and a new 1,820-square-foot Harbor Ballroom. It maintained the original Park Ballroom, its largest event space.
The hotel also added tech upgrades to the rooms to accommodate virtual or hybrid conferences.
Sheraton has 31,649 square feet of space in total, placing it at No. 25 on the Business Journal’s latest list of hotel meeting rooms.
Sheraton is one of many local hotels that took advantage of the pandemic for extensive renovations.
In Newport Center, locally-based Eagle Four Properties is spearheading the area’s new Vea and Pendry properties, formerly the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa and Fashion Island Hotel, respectively.
The two hotels sold for a cumulative $360 million.
Further south, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point will wrap a $25 million renovation this month with the opening of Outer Reef, a seafood-focused restaurant led by Chef John Tesar.