Owners quickly pull oceanfront hotel in Manalapan off the market

Unsatisfactory bids led London-based Lewis Trust Group to take the 309-room Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa off the market
May 04, 2019 03:00PM

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan (Credit: Booking.com)

The owners of an oceanfront hotel in Manalapan took the 309-room property off the market after listing it for sale in February.

London-based, family-run Lewis Trust Group has stopped offering the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa for sale and will continue to own and operate it.

Despite an extensive search for a buyer, “none of the parties that submitted bids … met the terms of the owners of the hotel. So, it’s no longer for sale,” Nick Gold, a spokesman for the hotel, told the Palm Beach Post.

Citing unnamed sources in the real estate business, the Post reported that the Lewis family wanted to sell the Eau Palm Beach for roughly $1 million per room, which would have put the hotel’s price above $300 million.

Gold, who declined to confirm the asking price, said the Lewis family probably will upgrade the hotel’s rooms, hallways, restaurants and lobby.

Eau Palm Beach has four restaurants, two swimming pools, meeting space spanning 32,000 square feet, and a 42,000-square-foot spa.

The eight-acre resort has a five-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide and a five-diamond rating from AAA. Conde Nast Traveler has ranked its award-winning spa among the 25 best in the world.

The Manalapan resort was operating under the Ritz-Carlton brand in 2003, when the Lewis family bought it for $67.5 million. The family subsequently invested more than $100 million in property improvements.

But in 2011, Lewis Trust Group sued Ritz-Carlton and its parent company, Marriott, alleging that they charged fees and collected kickbacks to skim the profits of the Manalapan hotel.

The Lewis family prevailed in court, which enabled them to terminate a contract with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton to manage the hotel.

In 2013, the family re-branded the hotel and its spa as Eau, the French word for water, and they continue to invest in the property. They invested $2.7 million last year to improve the hotel’s meeting spaces and ballrooms.

The Eau also has joined a worldwide reservation system for high-end boutique hotels called the Preferred Hotels Group.

The absence of a major hotel-brand affiliation may have undermined the efforts of the Lewis family to sell the Eau Palm Beach, according to Randall Greene, an Orlando-based hotel developer doing business as RG Development. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth