$45M budget for Hyatt renovations

Posted on Oct 12 2021
Hyatt lease renewal ceremony last Friday at the Miyako Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Saipan in Garapan.

From left, Department of Public Lands Secretary Sixto Igisomar, Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers co-chair Jerry Tan, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, GCEA board member Alex Sablan, and Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick Nishikawa exchange pleasantries at the lease renewal ceremony last Friday at the Miyako Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Saipan in Garapan. (BEA CABRERA)

With a new 40-year land lease in hand, Hyatt Regency Saipan will soon move to its next step: putting together a team to plan the hotel’s renovations to match the Hyatt worldwide standards.

As part of the lease contract agreement, which was signed only last Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, a total of $45 million is being set aside for the construction and renovation of Hyatt—a move that is intended to update and upgrade the amenities at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.

Hyatt general manager Nick Nishikawa said he will be flying to Japan within the month to meet with the management of Kobe Portopia Hotel Corp., which owns the Hyatt Regency Saipan, to start talking about renovation plans.

“They are waiting for this moment actually (signing of lease renewal) because after this, we can start looking at renovating the hotel. They have begun initial talks with the Hyatt design team based in Hong Kong. This team has to come here and assess the hotel property,” he said.

“After assessment, they need to appoint a designer to plan how our future rooms, restaurants, etc. will look like. After that, they have to appoint a construction company and from after all of those are accomplished, we will have schedule for construction and renovation,” he added.

Over the years, Hyatt Regency Saipan has been wanting to update and improve its rooms, facilities and premises but could not get the ball rolling unless a new lease has been signed. The hotel turns 41 years old in December.

Nishikawa said he is aware of the many reviews from tourists on Trip Advisor and similar platforms about the plight of outdated rooms at the Hyatt. In an earlier interview, Nishikawa himself said that when he first stepped into the hotel 13 years ago, his first impression was that the design and structure are old and not at par with Hyatt standards around the world. “…This is something that we definitely want to address but the priority was to get the land lease renewal first,” he said. “I tell you, when we renovate using the Hyatt design team and technical service…this hotel is going to be fantastic. …I hope the people of the CNMI want to see the new Hyatt.”

Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers co-chair Jerry Tan, who was present at the lease renewal ceremony last Friday, has high hopes about getting the Japanese tourists back now that Hyatt is set to stay for another 40 years. “We have been working so hard to get back the Japan market. …We finally got Skymark Airlines, but when the pandemic hit, flights were cancelled. …The Hyatt lease renewal is more than that as they are, first, an important and major Japanese investor in the CNMI and, second, they will help further in our efforts to get back the Japanese tourists,” he said.

He said the GCEA has always emphasized quality over quantity in terms of tourists and the importance of good branding is important for the CNMI’s tourism industry. “For many years, Hyatt was the only international [hotel] brand [in the CNMI] and to be able to keep them is very strategic. …Hyatt, together with another international brand, Crowne Plaza Resort, will definitely elevate the CNMI into a world-class destination,” Tan said.

“There are other destinations that have several international hotel brands so we cannot simply lose Hyatt. …While we are working to get more brands to come here, Hyatt will continue to help our tourism industry grow and be successful,” Tan added.

When asked if Hyatt will temporarily close while renovation is ongoing, Nishikawa said that he doesn’t think so. “We will probably do it in phases…because we have to cater to the demands of the business and community. But definitely, we need to renovate the rooms first.”

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.
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