|Headquarters||Crestview Hills, Kentucky, U.S.|
Number of locations
Columbia Sussex is a privately owned hotel company based in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. The company, owned by the Yung family, owns and operates hotels in various parts of the United States. The current president and founder is William J. Yung III.
As of March 2019 [update] , the company operates 40 hotels under 3 different major brands and many sub-brands consisting of 30 full-service Marriotts including 1 JW Marriott and 3 Renaissance Hotels and 1 limited service Courtyard by Marriott, 2 Hyatt Regency Hotels, 2 Westin Hotels, and 5 Hiltons including the Boulders Resort which is formerly a Waldorf Astoria property now operating under Hilton's Curio brand and 1 DoubleTree Hotel. The Westin Dawn Beach in Sint Maarten is currently not in operation due to damage from Hurricane Irma; however, the adjacent timeshare buildings have been repaired and re-opened in December 2018.
At its peak in 2007, Columbia Sussex owned 86 hotels with 32,604 rooms and 13 casinos. The majority of the portfolio was lost during the great recession between 2008 and 2012.
Included in the rooms lost by Columbia Sussex are 5,821 rooms (or 14 hotels) that were acquired by Blackstone after it bought out $300 million in debt on the 14 properties at a steep discount. Although Columbia Sussex made every payment required by the terms of the loan, Blackstone seized the portfolio via a "deed in lieu of foreclosure" in December 2010 after the loan securing the portfolio had hit maturity and Columbia Sussex was unable to re-finance due to the credit crisis. Blackstone had previously sold the same hotels to Columbia Sussex for $1.4 billion in 2006.
Columbia Sussex began operation as Columbia Development in 1972 with the construction of a single Days Inn location in Richwood, KY. Rapid expansion followed and by 1978 the company was renamed Columbia Sussex and was the largest Days Inn franchisee with 14 locations many with restaurants named after the founder's wife, Marty.
In 1977 Columbia Sussex purchased their first full-service hotel, The President Motor Inn in Fort Wright, KY. The hotel was closed for renovations and re-opened as a Ramada Inn.
Columbia Sussex then began a campaign of acquiring Holiday Inns and renovating them into properties featuring the Holidome concept. Together with the new loyalty program, Priority Club, which was a trailblazing concept at the time, market success followed. Holiday Inns were acquired in Dayton, OH, Springfield, OH, and a group of 4 Holiday Inns in Charleston, WV.
In 1980 Columbia Sussex completed their largest acquisition to date with the purchase of the 400 room Holiday Inn in Southfield, MI.
In the early 1980s Columbia Sussex continued to grow mainly through acquisition while focusing primarily on the Holiday Inn brand.
In 1983 a 400-room Holiday Inn was purchased and renovated in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1984 Columbia Sussex began expanding through construction of new hotels. Major projects included a Holiday Inn Rochester, NY which served as the company's flagship for a few years. Also constructed in 1984 was a 400-room motel in Kissimmee, FL which carried the Best Western Flag. This was the last exterior corridor property ever constructed by the company. Columbia Sussex also opened the newly constructed Hilton Louisville East and purchased the Plymouth, MI Hilton.
In 1985 Columbia Sussex purchased 3 Holiday Inns in the Chicago Area in Glen Ellyn, Itasca and Hillside. 1985 marked the end of the Holiday Inn focus for the company and the beginning of the Radisson Era.
Columbia Sussex became the first franchisee of Radisson hotels with the purchase, renovation and re-branding of the Americana Hotel at the Cincinnati Airport located in Northern, KY. At the time of its opening the Radisson CVG was the 14th hotel with the Radisson brand in the US.
Development of many new construction hotels followed in the late 1980s and early 90s of mostly Radisson branded hotels.
In 1994 Radisson hotels in 5 cities were converted to Marriott. These were the first of many as Columbia Sussex transitioned from the largest Radisson franchisee to the largest full service Marriott Franchisee.
In 2005 Columbia Sussex substantially upgraded their portfolio by acquiring 14 properties from Wyndham Corp for $1.4B while Blackstone simultaneously acquired the remainder of the Wyndham Corp. Shortly thereafter, Blackstone sold the Wyndham brand name to Cendant. Columbia Sussex repositioned these properties into 3 Hiltons, 2 Marriotts, 2 Sheratons and 6 Westins after significant remodeling.
In 2006 Columbia Sussex purchased 2 Hiltons in Arlington, VA and Sacramento, CA from Blackstone in a $150m deal.
2007 marked Columbia Sussex's acquisition of the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa from Liberty Mutual Insurance for $126m. The property was re-branded as a Marriott in 2009.
In 2013 Columbia Sussex bought an historic building in downtown Cincinnati called the Bartlett Building. A former bank, the building was extensively renovated and converted into a hotel branded the Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown. The hotel opened in summer of 2014.
Columbia Sussex entered the gaming industry in 1990, purchasing the High Sierra hotel in Stateline, Nevada from Del Webb Corporation for $19 million.The property was renamed as the Horizon Casino Resort.
The Lighthouse Point Casino in Greenville, Mississippi was opened in November 1996.Columbia owned the riverboat casino and a 79% stake in its operating company.
In March 2002, JMBS Casino, a Columbia Sussex affiliate controlled by William Yung's children, bought Bayou Caddy's Jubilee Casino, a riverboat in Greenville, for $42 million.
In 2002, Columbia bought the closed Maxim Hotel and Casino near the Las Vegas Strip for $38 million. After a $90 million renovation, the property was reopened in 2003 as the Westin Casuarina, using the name of Columbia's resort in the Cayman Islands.
In 2004, Columbia bought the River Palms in Laughlin, Nevada and the Harrah's Vicksburg casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which it renamed to the Horizon Vicksburg.
In October 2004, Columbia agreed to buy the President Casino St. Louis from bankrupt President Casinos for $57 million.The company planned a $150 million residential and retail development around the casino, even though some of the land was already earmarked for Pinnacle Entertainment's Lumière Place project. The sale collapsed a year later, however, when Columbia withdrew its application for a gaming license. According to a lawsuit filed by President, the Missouri Gaming Commission was set to reject the application for "flimsy" reasons, including an IRS audit of Yung's 2000 income tax return and his use of a corporate credit card for personal expenses. President eventually won a judgment of $28 million plus $14 million in interest, for breach of contract and for unreasonable fee increases at the casino parking lot, which Columbia had already purchased.
In 2005, Columbia bought the Bally's New Orleans casino from Caesars Entertainment for $24 million.Caesars needed to sell the casino to avoid antitrust concerns in its acquisition by Harrah's Entertainment, owner and operator of Harrah's New Orleans. It was later renamed as the Amelia Belle.
The same year, Columbia bought Caesars Tahoe in Stateline from Caesars Entertainment for $45 million, and renamed it as the MontBleu.
Columbia bought the Argosy Casino riverboat in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from Penn National Gaming in October 2005 for $150 million and renamed it as the Belle of Baton Rouge.The sale assuaged FTC antitrust concerns about Penn's acquisition of Argosy Gaming, which would have resulted in the company owning the only two casinos in the city.
The company made a second attempt to enter the St. Louis market in May 2006, agreeing to pay $200 million for the Casino Queen riverboat in East St. Louis, Illinois, across the river from the President Casino.However, after ordering Casino Queen the following January to remove a minority shareholder with ties to an organized crime associate, the Illinois Gaming Board did not approve the sale by the February deadline set in the contract, and Columbia ended the deal in March.
In December 2006, Columbia opened a 317-room $150 million Westin resort with a casino on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.
In January 2007, Columbia acquired Aztar for $2.1 billion,after winning a bidding war against Ameristar Casinos and Pinnacle Entertainment. Aztar owned five casinos: the Tropicana Las Vegas, Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City, Ramada Express in Laughlin, Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana and Casino Aztar in Caruthersville, Missouri. A new subsidiary, Tropicana Entertainment LLC, was created to hold Columbia's and Aztar's casinos.
Columbia Sussex did not want to make another try for a Missouri gaming license, so Aztar agreed before the acquisition to sell the Caruthersville casino to Fortunes Entertainment, the company of Argosy Gaming co-founder Lance Callis.The deal fell through because the licensing process for Fortunes could not be completed on schedule, so to avoid closing the casino, Aztar allowed the Gaming Commission to appoint a supervisor to operate it, effective when the merger closed. Casino Aztar was finally sold in June 2007 for $45 million to Isle of Capri, which renamed it as Lady Luck Casino.
At the time of the Aztar acquisition, the Tropicana Atlantic City was placed in a trust pending Yung's licensing by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. Yung's license was denied in December 2007 due in part to complaints about the Tropicana's maintenance and sanitation after Yung laid off 1,300 staffers.The commission declared that the company displayed a "lack of business ability, a lack of financial responsibility, and a lack of good character, honesty and integrity," and a "defiance of the regulatory process." Former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein was appointed as trustee and conservator of the property, with a mandate to find a new buyer.
The loss of the Atlantic City property led Tropicana to default on its bank debt. Yung tried to sell the Vicksburg and Evansville casinos to raise cash to appease creditors, but it was not enough to prevent a lawsuit by bondholders.The Delaware Court of Chancery ruled in February 2008 that the transfer of the property to Stein constituted a technical default on the bonds. Stein asked to transfer the title back to Tropicana to cure the default, but the Commission roundly rejected the request. With no other options remaining, Tropicana Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.
Debtholders viewed Yung's presence as a "distraction" and asked a court to appoint a trustee to run the company.Yung settled the dispute by agreeing in July to step down, leaving the other four board members in place.
In May 2009, Tropicana, seeking to focus its Tahoe-area efforts on the MontBleu, transferred the Horizon Casino to a Columbia Sussex affiliate.Table games at the casino were eliminated, with a possible downsizing of slots also planned.
The Tropicana Las Vegas, which had a $440 million secured loan against it, emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009 as a separate company led by Canadian private equity firm Onex and former MGM Mirage president Alex Yemenidjian.The remainder of the company emerged on March 8, 2010 as Tropicana Entertainment, led by Carl Icahn.
The Amelia Belle, which was not included in the bankruptcy, was sold in October 2009 to Peninsula Gaming, owner of the Evangeline Downs racetrack, for $107 million.
The Westin Casuarina Las Vegas, which also was not included in the bankruptcy, defaulted on its mortgage in April 2010, and lenders, led by CW Financial Services, filed for foreclosure the following November.The hotel's general manager said in October 2011 that Columbia Sussex would not fight the foreclosure.
Harrah's Entertainment was an American casino and hotel company founded in Reno, Nevada, and based in Paradise, Nevada, that operated over 50 properties and seven golf courses under several brands. In 2013, it was the fourth-largest gaming company in the world, with annual revenues of $8.6 billion. It was acquired in 2020 by Eldorado Resorts, which then changed its own name to Caesars Entertainment.
The Tropicana Las Vegas is a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Penn National Gaming, and is a franchise of Hilton's DoubleTree chain. It offers 1,467 rooms, a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) gaming floor, and 72,000 sq ft (6,700 m2) of convention and exhibit space.
Tropicana Atlantic City is a casino hotel located on the beach and Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment, and is one of the largest hotels in New Jersey, with just under 2,400 guest rooms and the 200,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex, The Quarter. It has over 25 restaurants, 25 shops, 20 bars and lounges, 4 pools, the Tropicana Showroom, a spa and an IMAX Theatre. In 2018, Tropicana completed over $200 million in renovations and additions, including a Multimedia Light and Sound Show, the addition of AtlantiCare LifeCenter Fitness, Garces restaurants, renovations to over 900 hotel rooms, and casino floor. The Tropicana is the largest Resort and Casino on the Boardwalk with 2,364 rooms, 2,400 Slot Machines, 30 Restaurants, and 30 Shops, along with it is a 2,400 space parking garage.
Aztar Corporation was a hospitality company based in Phoenix, Arizona, focused on resort hotels and casinos. In 2005, the company had revenues of more than $915 million and earnings before interest and taxes of $212 million. During 2006 the company became the subject of a bidding war for ownership, with Columbia Sussex winning.
MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is a casino hotel in Stateline, Nevada. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment. The property includes a 48,456 sq ft (4,501.7 m2) casino and a 438-room hotel on a 21-acre (8.5 ha) site. It is the home to the Ciera Steak + Chophouse. The entire property underwent a $25-million remodel in 2015, with all guest rooms, the casino, 1,200-seat showroom, and exterior being upgraded.
The Laughlin River Lodge is a hotel and casino on the banks of the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada. It is owned and operated by Richard Craig Estey. The property includes a 41,000 sq ft (3,800 m2) casino and 1,000 hotel rooms in a 25-story tower. The resort has 653 slot machines and a bingo parlor.
Tropicana Evansville is a casino hotel and entertainment complex in downtown Evansville, Indiana, owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment. Originally named Casino Aztar, it was opened by Aztar Corporation in 1995 as the state's first casino. In addition, as of 2017, it also became the state's first land based casino as well.
Harveys Lake Tahoe is a hotel and casino located in Stateline, Nevada. It has 742 rooms and suites as well as six restaurants and a casino with 87,500 square feet (8,130 m2) of space. It also has a video arcade, wedding chapel, pool, convention center and a full-service health club. It is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment.
The Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa is a hotel and former casino near the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. The Westin is owned by Highgate and Cerberus Capital Management, and uses the Westin brand under franchise from Marriott International. It is noteworthy for being one of the first Las Vegas resorts to prohibit smoking in almost all parts of the property.
Hard Rock Lake Tahoe is a hotel and casino located in Stateline, Nevada. Also previously known as Sahara Tahoe and High Sierra resorts, it is one of four major casino hotels in Stateline. Horizon Lake Tahoe closed on April 1, 2014, to begin a $60 million renovation and rebranding as Hard Rock Lake Tahoe, which held its grand opening on January 28, 2015.
Caesars World was a hotel and casino operator. It began as Lum's Inc., owner of the Lum's chain of restaurants. It shifted into the gaming business with the purchase of Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip in 1969, selling off the restaurants and changing its name. Caesars grew to eight casinos and resorts over the years, until going through a series of ownership changes beginning in 1995, and was ultimately absorbed by Park Place Entertainment in 1999.
The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, formerly known as Golden Nugget,Bally's Grand, The Grand, Atlantic City Hilton and ACH, is a closed casino and hotel located at the southern end of the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, owned and operated by Colony Capital. It was the city's first and only "locals casino". The Atlantic Club permanently closed on January 13, 2014, at 12:01 AM, largely as a result of dwindling casino visitors to Atlantic City due to increased competition in neighboring states. A third of Atlantic City's boardwalk casinos closed the same year, the others being Revel, Trump Plaza, and Showboat. Redevelopment proposals include a water park.
Resorts International Holdings, LLC (RIH), also known as Colony Resorts Holdings (CRH) is an affiliate of Colony NorthStar based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Park Place Entertainment, later named Caesars Entertainment, Inc., was a casino company based in Paradise, Nevada. For a time it was the largest casino operator in the world. It was formed in 1998 as a corporate spin-off of the gaming division of Hilton Hotels, and renamed as Caesars Entertainment in 2003. The company was acquired in 2005 by Harrah's Entertainment, which later took on the Caesars Entertainment name.
Tropicana Entertainment Inc. was a publicly traded gaming company that owned and operated casinos and resorts in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Missouri, New Jersey and Aruba. Tropicana properties collectively had approximately 5,500 rooms, 8,000 slot positions and 270 table games. The company was based in Spring Valley, Nevada, and was majority-owned by Icahn Enterprises. The company was acquired in 2018 by Eldorado Resorts and Gaming and Leisure Properties for $1.85 billion.
Century Casino Caruthersville, formerly Lady Luck Casino Caruthersville, is a 21,000 sq ft (2,000 m2) riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri. It is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Century Casinos. The riverboat is named City of Caruthersville and is permanently docked at a 37-acre (15 ha) site that also contains an enclosed pavilion that is used to host various events.
The Tropicana Laughlin is a casino hotel in Laughlin, Nevada. It is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment. The hotel has 1,498 guest rooms and suites, located in the 12-story Casino Tower and the 24-story Promenade Tower. The casino has 1,050 slot machines and 21 table games. It includes the restaurants: The Steakhouse, Passaggio Italian Gardens, Carnegie's Café, Taqueria Del Rio, Poolside Café, Dips & Dogs and Victory Plaza.
Caesars Entertainment, Inc., formerly Eldorado Resorts, Inc., is an American hotel and casino entertainment company founded and based in Reno, Nevada that operates more than 50 properties.
Vici Properties is a real estate investment trust (REIT) specializing in casino properties, based in New York City. It was formed in 2017 as a spin-off from Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It owns 30 casinos, hotels, and racetracks and 4 golf courses throughout the United States.