Low-lying hotels across the state evacuate guests
Hotels across the state in tsunami inundation zones began evacuating guests this morning, with most properties in Waikiki conducting "vertical evacuations" in which guests were moved to the third floor or higher.
In Hilo, the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort and other hotels lining Hilo Bay closed down operations and moved guests to higher ground.
Vertical evacuations are the preferred evacuation method for concrete-and-steel structures in highly populated areas such as Waikïkï because putting people on the roads would cause gridlock, officials said.
Older hotels in Waikiki, including Starwood’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the historic wing of the Moana Surfrider, evacuated their guests to neighboring high-rise properties. Guests at the beachfront Moana Surfrider guests were moved across the street to the the Princess Kaiulani hotel, said Angela Vento, regional director for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Guests at the oceanfront Royal Hawaiian were moved next door to the Sheraton Waikiki.
Kenneth Fujiyama, owner of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, said all of the hotels’ 140 guests were evacuated from the oceanfront propety. Some went on tours of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Hamakua Coast and other upland attractions. Other guests were taken to Nani Mau gardens three-miles inland from the hotel, he said.
The 555-room Waikoloa Beach Marriott on the Big Island’s Kona Coast began moving guests to the third-floor Naupaka Ballroom at 9 a.m., a manager at the hotel said.
Guests at the Hotel Hana Maui, a 69-unit luxury hotel featuring single-story plantation style bungalows, moved all its guests to higher ground.
“We’re taking extreme precautionary measures,” said Danny Mynar assistant general manager. “We’re moving them all from low lying areas up to Lyon’s Hill,” a 500-foot high promontory behind the hotel, he said.