RLJ to relaunch two Curio-converted hotels

On Oct. 1, RLJ Lodging Trust will relaunch two hotels it has converted to Curio Collection by Hilton properties— Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach in Oxnard, CA, and The Mills House hotel in Charleston, SC.

Zachari Dunes, a 250-suite lifestyle resort, will be one of only two beachfront Hilton-branded properties on the Pacific Coast. RLJ’s full-scale reimagination and rebrand of the property includes a complete transformation of all of the hotel’s multi-room suites, the vast majority of which are ocean-facing, as well as the lobby and communal public lounge area, which features multiple fire pits and seating areas. The property has also added multiple new food and beverage concepts; a gear rental shop; and expanded indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces.

“We are thrilled with the transformative conversion of this resort into an upscale, lifestyle-oriented destination positioned to attract a wide range of travelers seeking a premium, yet authentic Coastal California experience,” said Leslie D. Hale, president/CEO. “Zachari Dunes’ irreplaceable beachfront location, in close proximity to significant population centers of Southern California, ideally positions this resort-style property to benefit from the growing leisure and group demand. With the strong demand trends we are seeing, we expect to outperform the +40% IRR [internal rate of return] we had initially underwritten on investment. Generating a very attractive return on our invested capital on this conversion demonstrates our ability to unlock significant underlying real estate value that is embedded in our portfolio.”

The 218-room Mills House Hotel, the Curio brand’s first property in South Carolina, is located in the heart of downtown Charleston’s historic French Quarter neighborhood. It features a complete reimagination of all of the original guestrooms and the addition of premium suites. Among the new spaces are a hidden garden and a new rooftop bar and terrace. The hotel will now offer multiple new food and beverage concepts, including The Black Door Café, named after the paneled door on Queen St.

“We are excited to relaunch this Charleston landmark as a premium, lifestyle-oriented hotel that exemplifies the rich history and immersive Southern Hospitality experience that Charleston is known for. Charleston is consistently voted as a top destination to visit by experiential travelers,” said Hale. “The outstanding reimagination of the property and brand repositioning increases our exposure to the fast-growing lifestyle segment, further enhances our footprint in a premium destination market and positions us to unlock significant underlying real estate value embedded in this asset. Given the growth in the Charleston market, we believe this renovation will outperform our expected +50% IRR we had initially underwritten. This repositioning also speaks to the breadth and depth of our platform and the ability of our team to deliver complex renovation and value-creating projects.”