With construction on his new Las Vegas Strip resort moving forward – and a speculated takeover bid of Wynn Resorts in the works – billionaire Tilman Fertitta still had $650 million lying around to buy the most expensive Southern California hotel ever sold.
On Monday, Fertitta announced via a news release that the Montage Laguna Beach – which sits on 30 oceanfront Southern California acres – is now his. The Orange County Business Journal reports that Fertitta paid $650 million to China-based Dajia Insurance Group for the property. This ties the record high price per hotel room in California ($2.5 million) set last year by the sale of the Alila Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur.
Fertitta, owner and CEO of Houston-based Fertitta Entertainment, called the 259-room hotel “one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts” in a news release, which noted that its features include a 20,000 square-foot spa, two pools, a fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
“I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years,” Fertitta said. “It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world.”
The Montage opened in 2003, and in 2015 was purchased by Strategic Hotels for $360 million – which at $1.39 million was then California’s highest price paid per hotel room – according to the Orange County Register.
Strategic sold itself to New York-based Blackstone, which then sold Montage and other Strategic hotels to Anbang, in 2016. Dajia took over the properties during a restructuring of Anbang by the Chinese government.
Fertitta – who is the third cousin of Station Casinos founders Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta – is one of the country’s most recognizable casino owners. He also owns Golden Nugget casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey. He bought the NBA’s Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017. And his hospitality empire includes dozens of restaurant brands under his Landry’s corporation. Forbes recently estimated his worth at about $8 billion.
“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one- of- a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” Montage CEO and Founder Alan Fuerstman said in the press release.
In October, the Clark County Commission approved Fertitta’s plans to build his own 43-story, 2,420-room casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It is currently under construction on 6 acres Fertitta purchased in June for $270 million at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue.
Fertitta is also one of the largest shareholders in Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. A Schedule 13G filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicates that Fertitta Entertainment, Fertitta himself, and another entity purchased 6.91 million shares of Wynn, equivalent to 6.1% of the casino operator’s shares outstanding, in October. This has led to speculation that Fertitta plans an eventual takeover bid for the company.
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