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NORWALK, CT-HEI Hotels & Resorts continues to grow its portfolio. However, its most recent deal marks the locally based firm’s first resort property. HEI Hotels has purchased the Equinox Resort and Spa in Manchester Village, VT. No purchase price was disclosed. The transaction is the 11th acquisition for the firm’s $500-million Fund II.

HEI Hotels & Resorts acquired the nearly 1,300-acre parcel from Olympic Real Estate Partners of Addison, TX. The resort consists of a 179-room Equinox Hotel, the 1769 Marsh Tavern and the Charles Orvis Inn. The resort also features a 13,000-sf spa, several food and beverage outlets, tennis courts, a golf course and clubhouse. The resort also includes the 12,000-acre Equinox Preservation area.

“As we further expand our hotel portfolio, we will aggressively seek resort destinations that are consistent with our acquisition profile for that segment,” says Steve Mendell, HEI’s executive vice president of acquisitions and development. “These well regarded, though not necessarily branded, properties are in highly desirable locations with substantial barriers to new entry.”

“The Equinox marks our first foray into the lucrative resort marketplace,” adds Roger Clark, HEI’s senior vice president, acquisitions. “This property is matchless in its rare combination of historic relevance, old-world charm and modern amenities. The Equinox is an extraordinary destination, and our goal is to maintain its historical value while enhancing its contemporary offerings.”

HEI Hotels plans to re-brand the spa–the Spa at Equinox. It has a 75-ft, heated, indoor swimming pool; 10 treatment rooms; men’s and women’s steam baths; men and women’s saunas; a relaxation room with fireplace; a movement studio; fitness center and an image center.

The Norwalk hotelier says it plans to undertake what it terms “an extensive” capital program that will involve resort’s guestrooms, public space, spa, and other facilities between 2007 and 2009. Also, a $2-million upgrade to the storied golf course facilities (circa 1927) is also planned.

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