Firm Founded By African Casino Billionaire Sol Kerzner To Build First US Hotel

By Dana Sanchez Published: December 18, 2016, 2:35 pm
KerznerKerzner International plans its first U.S. development. Atlantis Ko Olina on O’ahu is being compared to Atlantis The Palm Dubai. Photo:

The Dubai-based resort operator and developer Kerzner International Holdings expects to manage its first Atlantis property in the U.S. in Hawaii, according to The National.

Often described as South Africa’s Donald Trump, hotel ­magnate Sol Kerzner developed some of the country’s top hotel brands and projects — Southern Sun, Sun International, Sun City — catapulting himself into the league of global hotel tycoons.

In 2014, Kerzner sold his family’s stake in Kerzner International Holdings to Investment Corporation of Dubai, but the company still bears Kerzner’s name.

Kerzner International Holdings signed a deal with landowner and developer China Oceanwide and its subsidiary Oceanwide Resort Paradise HI to develop the Atlantis Ko Olina on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii.

The new hotel will overlook the Honu and Kohola Lagoons, and will include a water park and The Lost Chambers Aquarium, among other attractions. The property is expected to have 800 hotel rooms and 524 residences, The National reported.

In 2014, Investment Corporation of Dubai bought about 46 percent of Kerzner International. Other owners include Goldman Sachs Group, the Los Angeles investment firm Colony Capital and Istithmar World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, which owns 25 percent.

Atlantis Resorts in Hawaii will become Kerzner’s first project in the U.S. — a 26-acre resort next to Disney’s Aulani hotel at Ko Olina Resort.

Kerzner International Management Services Hawaii Inc. registered as a new business in Hawaii in November, Pacific Business News reported, according to Bizjournals. The mailing address for the new business is Atlantis The Palm in Dubai.

The 26-acre site in Hawaii will be similar to Atlantis The Palm Dubai, Bizjournals reported. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, has a water park, aquarium, a dolphin encounter and sea lion park, more than 20 restaurants, a nightclub, spas, salons and a fitness center.

Atlantis Resorts’ Hawaii expansion is happening on vacant oceanfront land near Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa at Ko Olina Resort in West Oahu.

In September, the subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings closed on the $280 million purchase of 26 acres at Ko Olina’s “Honu Lagoon 2.”

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts opened its first hotel erlier this year at the Ko Olina Resort, replacing the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, PBN reported.

Kerzner moved from South Africa to London about 24 years ago and formed Kerzner International Holdings, SA Commerical Property News reported.

Investment Corporation of Dubai’s investment portfolio is comprised of wholly and partly owned government businesses, according to its website.

Atlantis, The Palm, opened in Dubai in 2008. Kerzner’s 2014 divestment came at a time when the group was developing phase 2 of Atlantis, The Palm. Several new One&Only-brand hotels had been opened and others were being planned.

Kerzner helped put South Africa on the tourist map, SACommercialPropNews reported in 2014.

He developed the Atlantis brand in London, attracting global attention from the day
the first lavish hotel opened in the Bahamas in 1994 with the world’s largest aquarium. The resort became the biggest employer in the Bahamas.

Kerzner became bigger news and more of a celebrity than some of the stars he’s worked with over the years. His grand parties and spectacular hotel openings are legendary. His wives and girlfriends included a Miss World (Anneline Kriel) and supermodels. He faced allegations of bribery. He’s a prominent London philanthropist and socialite.

Kerzner attributes much of his drive to his parents, Lithuanian Jews who emigrated to South Africa and worked seven days a week, first running a cafe in Johannesburg and then a modest kosher hotel in Durban, according to SACommercialPropNews.






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