News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Rick Jurgens, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 7, 2004 - The strife-ridden Claremont Resort & Spa in Oakland is on the auction block, according to a hotel spokeswoman.
"The hotel is for sale," said marketing and communication director Annie Appel. The current owner -- a La Quinta-based company known as KSL Recreation Corp. -- intends "to sell the real estate and maintain a management contract" to operate the resort, she said.
A KSL representative could not be reached immediately for comment.
Local labor unions and the Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Coalition are boycotting the Claremont, where some of the 160 workers represented by Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union Local 2850 have been working without a contract since September 2001. Key issues include health care coverage and raises.
The two sides are also stalemated over the union's push to represent another 130 Claremont employees who work at the 20,000-square-foot spa, which includes 35 treatment rooms.
The two sides have traded unfair labor practice complaints before the National Labor Relations Board. In November, an administrative law judge recommended that the Claremont be ordered to negotiate with a fired spa worker who is now a union official. The judge also recommended that the hotel should be ordered to drop a rule that prohibited employees from "negative conversations about associates and/or managers."
The Claremont was built in 1915 and passed through four ownerships before KSL acquired it in 1998. Last year, the total assessed values of KSL's Claremont holdings were $132.2 million, according to county records.
Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, a New York City-based partnership, says on its Web site that it invested $536 million in KSL in 1993. KSL's other properties include the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, the Doral Golf Resort in Miami, the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego and the La Quinta and La Costa resorts in Southern California. In 2002, it posted sales of $565 million and had 8,000 employees.
KSL wants to sell the Claremont as part of a five-resort package that would also include the Arizona Biltmore, the Doral, La Quinta and the Grand Wailea Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Appel said.
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(c) 2004, Contra Costa Times, Calif. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.