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Owner Of Kayak-Branded Miami Beach Hotel Faces Foreclosure

The Kayak Miami Beach hotel at 2216 Park Ave., the owner of which is facing foreclosure.

The owner of the hotel that served as a guinea pig for online travel search company Kayak's foray into operating hospitality properties is staring down a foreclosure lawsuit.

An affiliate of lender Varde Partners filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court this month after claiming the owner of the Kayak Miami Beach at 2216 Park Ave. failed to pay off a $13.7M mortgage when it matured in December, the South Florida Business Journal reported

An LLC affiliated with Raven Capital Management paid $20M to acquire the hotel in 2018, and the Kayak Miami Beach opened in April 2021 as a partnership with hospitality brand Life House, a 52-room "design lab" created to better integrate technology into travelers' stays. The upshot for the owner of the property was for Silicon Valley-backed Life House to operate the property with more efficiency through the use of technology, while Kayak, a subsidiary of Booking Holdings, would increase its visibility in its searches, Skift reported

Kayak launched two other branded hotels with Life House, both near Cancún, Mexico, but the experiment hasn't gone as planned. Kayak is exiting the hotel business and plans to let its lease on the Miami Beach hotel expire in April 2024, Skift reported

Life House's CEO told Skift it would work with the hotel's owners to come up with new branding after Kayak, but Varde disputed that.

In a court filing dated April 13, Varde, through special servicer Trimont Real Estate Advisors, claimed that the hotel's owner, HUSA LH VN LLC, defaulted on its mortgage on Dec. 31 after its maturity had been extended twice. Varde claims the LLC, an affiliate of Raven Capital, per The Real Deal, "has no plan for replacing KAYAK if it vacates."

Varde's attorneys asked the court to appoint GF Hotels & Resorts Chief Development Officer Jeffrey Kolessar as a receiver to manage the operations of the hotel. GF is a Philadelphia-based hotel ownership and management firm with a national portfolio that includes hotels in Orlando, Tampa and Key Largo.