Dec 10, 2016
By Tovin Lapan, Travel Weekly
The Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki is about one-third of the way through an 18-month, $115 million redevelopment, and some of the new features are starting to take shape.
Most notably, all 839 rooms and suites have been fully updated and remodeled in a modern fashion by design firm Rockwell Group. The changes include new 55-inch TVs, Keurig coffee makers, custom furnishings featuring wood and stone, and blue and green accent tones. The hotel is also working with architectural firms WATG and Pacific Asia Design Group on the redevelopment.
"When looking for the right firms to work with there were two important facets," said Rob Robinson, the resort's general manager. "One, they had to have an outstanding portfolio of high end projects, and, two, they had to have some experience in the local market. For a project executed in Hawaii you need to have some knowledge and familiarity of the stylistic and cultural aspects of the local area."
The Pacific Beach Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Oahu, first opened in 1969 and has only seen minor upgrades since. In 2012, when Highgate Hotels bought the property, the company envisioned a remodel of the hotel, and the project finally kicked off this summer.
The redevelopment, scheduled to be completed in fall 2017, will touch on every aspect of the property, from rooms and amenities to dining and the name of the resort.
Now the property is preparing for work on the pool area. The reimagined pool deck will feature a new saltwater infinity pool and pool bar overlooking the shoreline, a children's pool, tiered day beds, and exclusive cabanas nested above a new shallow water pool.
"We are really excited about the beautiful new pool deck," Rob Robinson, the resort's general manager, said. "We believe it gives us a key repositioning in the Waikiki market and offers a competitive advantage."
One thing staying is the three-story, 280,000 gallon saltwater aquarium that has been a centerpiece of the hotel since its opening. It has a well that pulls in seawater straight from Waikiki beach. The aquarium is getting an update however, and will exclusively feature native species of sea life and replicas of the coral found off the shores of Oahu. The hotel also plans to incorporate the aquarium into new programming, such as educational presentations.
When the redevelopment is completed, the higher quality of service and amenities is expected to move the property from three to to four stars, Robinson said. The property will also be renamed Alohilani Resort, a nod to the history of the site and management's intention to feature more of the local culture in the hotel's features and programming.
"The hotel will be so different than it is today, and with the scope of the changes a new name started to make a lot of sense," Robinson said.
Alohilani means "The Heavenly Brightness." and the name honors Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last reigning monarch. Queen Liliuokalani's beachside cottage, which she called Kealohilani, once sat on the property, and the hotel is on land held by the Liliʻuokalani Trust.
Bringing some celebrity-chef cachet to the dining options, the hotel will feature two new restaurants from Masahiro Morimoto. Momosan, a ramen and sake bar embellished with an outdoor beer garden and yakitori grill will be open all day. Morimoto Asia, a fusion concept featuring the Iron Chef's innovative interpretations on Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes, will be open for dinner.
The Oceanarium Restaurant, opened in 1980, is now permanently closed, and the space is being redesigned into a business and education center, a group arrival lounge and a bar lounge that will also be home to grab-and-go breakfast.
The project is slated for completion in fall 2017, when there will be an official unveiling of the new Alohilani Resort. For more information on the redevelopment and its impact on guest services visit www.pacificbeachhotel.com/Transformation.