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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Lodge opens on Ford Island

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Military personnel, active duty and retired, will have a new option when staying at government-run hotels when the $22 million Navy Lodge opens today on historic Ford Island.

The Navy Lodge on Ford Island was created in Building 78, a Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The lodge was created in Building 78, which, despite its generic-sounding name, is a Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark.

The building was built in 1941 and was used as an emergency medical facility after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. It also housed single officers until 1984. The building was featured in the film "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

A grand-opening ceremony and Hawaiian blessing will be held at the lodge today. Guests have been staying in its suites and rooms, however, since it had a "soft opening" Jan. 12.

The old building was gutted to make way for what the Navy compares to a modern, mid-sized hotel with air-conditioned suites and rooms.

Amenities include a swimming pool, large meeting room and gift shop, but what sets it apart are the features in each room, said Lt. j.g. Erin Bailey, a spokeswoman for Navy Region, Hawai'i. Each room has a kitchenette with stove and oven for cooking meals. Room rates are $80 to $99 a night.

Dick Pacific was the contractor on the project. The architect was CDS International.

Military families moving to Hawai'i who have not found housing will like the convenience of being on an active military base, Bailey said. Most military families stay at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki.

"Some people don't like staying all the way down there," she said.

The Navy Exchange and mini-marts are nearby.

But Ford Island, located in the middle of busy Pearl Harbor, offers guests a decidedly un-Waikiki experience, complete with a historic walking tour around the island.

The USS Utah Memorial is within walking distance, as is the USS Missouri Memorial. There are a couple of gun batteries that the Army built about a century ago. And there are still strafing rounds in the pavement fired by Japanese warplanes in 1941.

"It's a historic place," Bailey said. "Practically every building on Ford Island is historic in nature."

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.