RENOVATION NEARLY PAU
Redo nearly done at Outrigger hotel
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Robbie Dingeman
After two years of work, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel is nearing the end of a $110 million renovation that is giving the the Waikiki hotel a new look and increasing the size of some guest rooms.
During the makeover, rooms were gutted, walls torn down and bathrooms overhauled to add modern amenities, said Kimberly Agas, who serves as the vice president of operations for the Outrigger's three beachfront hotels.
"We actually say it was a really good rebuild," Agas said. To reduce the construction fallout for guests, she said the construction was handled building by building.
She said the employees worked hard to buffer the guests and the hotel created a program of off-campus activities for guests to get them outside and away from the property to places that included Bishop Museum and the Waikiki Aquarium during the busiest construction times.
Agas, who has been with Outrigger for 25 years, praised the workers at the hotel and the family-run company for its commitment to improving Waikiki.
This latest renovation is close to, but not a part of, Outrigger's $535 million Waikiki Beach Walk redevelopment project.
Agas said she noticed more local residents in Waikiki last week for spring break. "It was nice to see so many kama'aina coming to enjoy Waikiki," she said.
As for the hotel, the makeover decreased the number of rooms at the property, going from 858 guest rooms and suites to 639. Even the pool was stripped and retiled for a new look.
The new porte cochere and eye-catching entryway features a Polynesian longhouse design with hundred-year-old canoe hanging prominently on display.
Agas said the renovation included modern amenities as well as a commitment to preserving a Hawaiian cultural identity.
"We paid attention to every detail that the guests have told us," she said, with features that include a uniform designed by Big Island artist Sig Zane. "You know that you are in Hawai'i," she said.
This month, the hotel opened the new Kani Ka Pila Grille, which serves as pool bar, casual restaurant and focuses on its literal Hawaiian translation as a place to play music, with upcoming guests that include Cyril Pahinui, Kaukahi and Manoa DNA.
A new, larger spa is scheduled to open this summer.
Modern amenities include complimentary high-speed Internet access and free long-distance phone calls, a new fitness center, Hertz rental car desk, an array of museum-quality artifacts, 18 images of Pacific Basin canoes by Herb Kawainui Kane, landscaping of native Hawaiian plants and a new sitting room area with a library of Hawai'i literature.
The hotel's efforts to incorporate such cultural artifacts were recognized last year by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority's Keep It Hawaii award.
Reach Robbie Dingeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.