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Royal Lahaina Resort workers will need to apply for jobs once new operators take over

Royal Lahaina Resort.jpeg
Royal Lahaina Resort

WAILUKU, Hawaiʻi — Employees of the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui will have to apply for jobs once new operators of the hotel take over later this year.

BlackSand Capital, a Hawaiʻi real estate investment firm led by Honolulu developer B.J. Kobayashi, said last week that it would buy the hotel from Pleasant Travel Service.

Pleasant Travel Service will continue to operate the resort until the change of ownership is finalized, which is expected to occur in December, The Maui News reported.

The resort on Kaʻanapali Beach has around 500 rooms, including beachside cottages and the 12-story Lahaina Kai Tower. The original resort was built in 1962.

A spokesperson for BlackSand Capital said in a email that Highgate, the company that will operate the resort for BlackSand, will “give applicants and all employees the opportunity to apply for employment once it begins operating the resort.”

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and Mayor Michael Victorino on Oct. 4, the resort said that its 420 employees will be “terminated at closing.”

The closing date is expected to be Dec. 8.

A spokesperson for BlackSand said that its focus in the short-term “is to get a better assessment of what has made the Royal Lahaina Resort so successful.”

Both BlackSand and Highgate are talking with employees to hear firsthand what is working, what can be improved and how they envision the future of the resort, the spokesperson said.

The Royal Lahaina Resort will be the first Highgate-managed property on Maui. The company, which manages hotels in the U.S., Europe, Caribbean and Latin America, already operates several in Waikiki.

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