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Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST - Analyst Report), the largest lodging real estate investment trust (REIT), has recently completed a joint venture agreement with an affiliate of Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Snapshot Report) to develop and operate a 131-unit vacation ownership project in Maui, Hawaii on Ka’anapali Beach. The project titled ‘Hyatt Ka’anapali Beach, a Hyatt Residence Club’ is the first of its kind in the region and will be the 16th Hyatt Residence Club operating across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Hyatt Residence Club offers vacation ownership opportunities in serene regionally inspired residential-style properties. Slated to open in 2014, the project is located adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. The property would showcase 19 one-bedroom units, 100 two-bedroom units, and 12 three-bedroom units. At the same time, the project would offer an 8,000 square feet open-air lobby, a retail store, a 75-seat casual dining restaurant, a pool with a multi-level pool deck, and a 3,300 square feet fitness center.

In a separate development, Host Hotels sold its 94.8% ownership interest in the Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel for CAD$30.6 million. The asset sale was part of the long-term strategy of the company to reduce its exposure to non-core suburban properties.

Over the years, Host Hotels has maximized the value of its existing portfolio through aggressive asset management. Simultaneously, the company has worked diligently with the managers of its hotels to reduce operating costs and increase revenues, and has conducted selective capital improvement and expansion to improve its profitability.

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Host Hotels is one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels, primarily operated under premium brands such as Marriott, Westin, Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, W, Four Seasons, and St. Regi.

Host Hotels anticipates the gradual revival of the overall economy to boost its operating results in 2012, with comparable hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) expected to increase in the range of 6.25% to 7.0% for the full year. For fiscal 2012, Host Hotels expects to incur approximately $330 million to $340 million in renewal and replacement expenditures and $165 million – $175 million in ROI (return on investment) expenditure.

We maintain our Neutral recommendation on Host Hotels, which presently has a Zacks #3 Rank that translates into a short-term Hold rating.

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