Layoff notices go out in Kauai hotel sale

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

MAKAIWA, Kauai (HawaiiNewsNow) - Pro forma layoff notices have gone out to 120 employees of the Aston Kauai Beach at Makaiwa, but all that is known for certain is that the management of the property will change.

The hotel is under receivership and the owners, including Opryland operator Gaylord Entertainment, have done a private sale to a major Southern California real estate firm, a source at the hotel said Wednesday.

"The layoff letters have gone out because we will no longer hold the management contract, so we won't be employing them," explained Aston Hotels & Resorts CEO Kelvin Bloom, who is based in Honolulu. "They could all wind up working under the new owner."

The law requires formal written notice in layoffs of 50 people or more, even when what's really going on is an ownership transfer that affects what company issues paychecks for the same work.

"The incoming owner wants to make its own announcement," said court receiver Joe Toy, who was at the hotel when reached Thursday. "But think it's fair to say there will be a job fair for positions at the hotel."

The Aston Kauai Beach is a 311-room oceanfront property on Aleka Loop, just off the main road from Lihue airport to Kapaa. It once was a Hogan family property, and more recently was a Courtyard by Marriott and then a ResortQuest.

ResortQuest, then a Gaylord subsidiary, has since been spun off and reverted to its previous name, Aston, retaing the management contract until now.

Online reviews for the hotel are mixed.

"We had to leave after one night and go to a nicer hotel," one TripAdvisor member posted in June, charging that the room was musty and there were ants in the bed.

But several posters noted very low prices, some said their rooms seemed to have been recently renovated, and one said he was a local who had stayed there under each successive owner and thought the hotel had improved recently.

Kauai residents say the property is a favorite for movie crews shooting on Kauai because of its central location. At least film shoots on Kauai in recent months booked crew members at the hotel.

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