Exclusive: Timbers launches Soleil Hotels & Resorts

Trying to tap into the work-from-anywhere lifestyle as well as the second-home movement, Timbers Company, Winter Park, Florida, has launched a new brand, Soleil Hotels & Resorts, which will include a curated collection of hotels, resorts and residences in beach, mountain, golf and urban destinations across the U.S.

The collection, which will launch in Kauai, Hawaii, will include a blend of both traditional hotels, resorts and whole ownership residences. The serviced residences will be found in resort destinations.

“We don’t believe these markets will support fractional product therefore we are not planning to pursue fractional ownership with Soleil,” Timbers Company CEO Greg Spencer told HOTELS on Tuesday. “We anticipate that the projects can be part of a mixed-use development with multiple offerings or stand alone. In addition to resort destinations, we are actively looking to develop hotel products in urban markets that cater to multigenerational travelers.”

Focused on providing comfortable luxury for the broader market, especially multigenerational families, the first property set to join the collection is Soleil Kauai – 72 condominium-style, whole ownership residences located on 450 acres in Kauai, Hawaii. Sales reservations will be available starting in 2022. This will be a ground-up build and Timbers Company will handle all development, sales and marketing, with Soleil handling the hospitality operations moving forward.

Timbers Company expect to have numerous partners on the growth and development of the Soleil Hotels & Resorts brand. “With that said, we do have a strategic partnership with Wheelock Street Capital, and they have been phenomenal partners that bring a wealth of hospitality experience,” Spencer said. “The first Soleil location is going to be in partnership with an affiliate of Oaktree Capital, our majority shareholder. We also expect to partner with additional third-party developers in the years to come.”

Growth for Soleil is expected to come from a combination of management deals, acquisitions, new and value-add development, and reposition opportunities with investment partners. “In looking at our pipeline some opportunities will be ground-up development and some acquisitions of existing assets,” Spencer said. “We look at each individual opportunity to determine the best use. We plan to manage the operations for all Soleil properties, whether they be hotels, resorts or residences.”

Rendering of the Soleil Kauai

Timbers Company is taking a very capital-friendly approach to the structure of the Soleil brand. “This is important to both our majority shareholder as well as our strategic partner,” Spencer said. “We feel that we can design a luxury consumer experience that also creates attractive returns for our capital partners.  Given this approach, our partners, our exposure to the luxury market, and the phenomenal demographics looking for this luxury experience, we believe that we have the opportunity for tremendous growth for this new Soleil brand… We have several other projects in the pipeline and hope to be announcing additional locations in the new year.”

Timbers Company is a developer and operator of luxury hotels, private residence clubs, master planned resorts and boutique properties under the Timbers Resorts brand in leisure destinations.

Owners have access to properties in North American locations ranging from Aspen, Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado, to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, Kauai and Maui in Hawaii, Napa, Sonoma and Southern California, as well as Tuscany in Italy and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The group rebranded from Timbers Resorts to Timbers Company in May 2021 in anticipation of launching additional brands.

Both Soleil Hotels & Resorts and Timbers Resorts have separate growth strategies, which the company expects to increase over the next five to seven years. No Timbers Resorts will convert to Soleil and Spencer said he has a clear vision that Timbers Resorts will remain disciplined in its location strategy – A+ markets and A+ locations (i.e. oceanfront, slope side). Soleil, given the more accessible price points, will be available to a wider audience, in a broader array of destinations (as well as domestic focused – only in the U.S.).

Timbers Resorts caters to a very narrow audience at a much higher price point north of US$1,500 per square foot and US$750 ADR. Soleil Hotels & Resorts will still be luxury and cater to an affluent audience with real estate sales north of US$700 per square foot and hotel ADRs north of US$350, according to Spencer.

“As a real estate development company for the past two decades, we’ve been asked to consider a lot of locations that were not the right fit for the Timbers Resorts growth strategy, so this is one of the reasons we’ve created Soleil Hotels & Resorts as a sister brand,” Spencer said. “It allows us to say ‘yes’ to more locations at a more accessible price point. Soleil is an exciting growth opportunity for Timbers Company overall. We’re still pursuing Timbers Resorts locations, with several on our radar, and now our new brand Soleil will allow us to expand in new markets that fit with that brand position.”

When asked why Timbers Company needed two brands, Spencer added, “Timbers Resorts has been successful in creating amazing ultra-luxury resorts in some of the world’s most sought-after locations. But as the luxury market continues to expand and personal wealth diversifies to a larger audience, we felt there was room within the widening luxury category for two brands.”