HANA - An offer to buy the Hotel Hana-Maui has been made, said Philip Wood, president of Arden Grove Hospitality, the management company for the hotel.
And, a 90-day "due-diligence" period has begun for the prospective owners to "look at every angle" of the property and see if it's "safe and sound," he said.
Responding to a report that the hotel would be sold, Wood said the prospective new owners want to remain anonymous for the time being, but they do not include talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, he said.
There had been a rumor that Winfrey was involved, Wood said.
The due-diligence period would end toward the latter part of March, he said.
Wood said he could not speak to the new owners' specific plans for the hotel, but he said that he understood they would continue hotel operations.
A letter notifying the hotel workers union, UNITE HERE Local 5, was hand delivered Wednesday, Wood said, adding that an original letter was en route via Federal Express.
On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Charmaine Tavares said she was aware that the hotel has been for sale for a while, but "we haven't gotten any official notice" of a sale.
If the sale goes through, the county will "stand ready to help the employees weather the storm," she said.
UNITE HERE Secretary-Treasurer Eric Gill said Thursday afternoon that he was a "little surprised" to see a report of the hotel's sale surface publicly, but he thought it was a "good thing."
"The owners are signaling that a new investor will continue the hotel operation, and that's what we want to hear," he said. "It's a relief for everybody.
"Workers are welcoming new investment into the hotel," Gill said. "This hotel needs a shot in the arm."
The hotel has about 180 union members he said. There are also nonunion and management employees.
Management of the Hotel Hana-Maui was taken over a year ago by Arden Hospitality Group of Vermont, a newly formed management company intending to handle high-end resorts, although Hotel Hana-Maui is so far its only property. The hotel is owned by Ohana Hotel Co.
The hotel, opened in 1946, had been owned and operated by Passport Resorts since 2001. Passport added the Honua Spa and made extensive renovations to the property. It now has about 70 rooms.
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff Writer Harry Eagar contributed to this report.