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Massachusett-based hotel group buys Hilton Mystic

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: theday.com

Published March 26. 2014 3:00PM   Updated March 27. 2014 12:09AM
CT Office of Tourism
Distinctive Hotel Group purchased the 182-room Hilton Mystic hotel on Coogan Boulevard for an undisclosed sum.

Mystic — Another major Mystic lodging changed hands Wednesday.

In a transaction completed late in the day, the privately held, Natick, Mass.-based Distinctive Hotel Group acquired the 182-room Hilton Mystic hotel on Coogan Boulevard.

DHG, which owns and manages five other New England properties, including the Madison Beach Hotel in Madison, purchased the Hilton Mystic from RLJ Lodging Trust, of Bethesda, Md., a real estate investment trust that had owned it since 2007.

The parties agreed not to disclose the selling price, Lou Carrier, DHG's president, said in an interview.

Earlier in the week, local partners closed on the $5.35 million purchase of the Inn at Mystic, a landmark motel property at the junction of Routes 1 and 27.

Carrier said DHG plans to undertake a major renovation of the four-story Hilton Mystic, which he said will retain the Hilton brand. He said portions of the hotel will be closed off while they are being renovated but that the hotel will remain open.

"We're going to do aggressive work," he said. "Our goal is to transform (the hotel) from a design and stylistic standpoint — to flavor-up the property. We really want this to be a standout property in the area, which is very strong and diversified economically. The hotel is well positioned to capitalize on that."

Carrier said the new ownership is committed to achieving "Four Diamond status," a reference to a quality rating bestowed by the AAA travel organization.

The Hilton Mystic has about 100 full- and part-time employees.

The hotel, accessible from Exit 90 of Interstate 95, is situated across Coogan Boulevard from Mystic Aquarium and the Olde Mistick Village shopping center. It is one of the few full-service hotels in the area, meaning it offers such amenities as a restaurant, a lounge, room service and meeting space.

The property also includes an outdoor pavilion, a fitness center and a heated indoor pool.

Except for the Madison hotel, DHG's other holdings are located in Massachusetts. They include the VERVE-Crowne Plaza Hotel in Natick and its two restaurants, Pantry and Violet Thorn; Hampton Inn Executive Conference Center Boston-Natick in Natick; Holiday Inn Boston-Bunker Hill in Somerville; and the SKYBOKX 109 GastroSports restaurant in Natick.

Founded in 2010, DHG also owns The Wharf restaurant in the Madison Beach Hotel, which opened in 2012.

"We've become enamored with Connecticut and the shoreline area," Carrier said. "There's only one Mystic, too."

Affiliates of the RLJ Lodging Trust purchased the Hilton Mystic from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in 2007. As of Dec. 31, the trust owned 147 hotels.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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