Best Western Plans Hawaii Properties

HONOLULU -- Best Western International plans to add three more Hawaii properties by the end of the year.

Since last fall, it has expanded from two hotels on Oahu to five on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. According to Tom Burke, Best Western Hawaii governor, the membership group is negotiating for a hotel in Hilo on the Big Island. Also, Best Western executives will be here this summer, seeking properties in Kona and on Molokai. Best Western

In January, the 251-room Outrigger Surf Hotel in Waikiki was the last to take the Best Western name. It was the second Outrigger Hotels & Resorts property to become a Best Western. Best Western Outrigger Waikiki Tower joined eight years ago, and the Best Western Plaza Hotel, near Honolulu Airport, became a member earlier. The Pioneer Inn on Maui and Plantation Hale on Kauai joined last December and November, respectively.

Burke, who also is vice president of operations for Outrigger, said the advantage to member properties is Best Western's worldwide marketing, advertising and reservations system. However, properties must conform to the group's rigorous standards and undergo an annual inspection, he said. "They were always good, but [the group is] a lot tougher on standards. It is expanding globally and quality assurance is important," he said.

The 35-room Best Western Pioneer Inn, at Lahaina Wharf, added a swimming pool and improvements such as lighting on the first-floor lanais and locks on lanai doors before its final Best Western inspection. In 1993-94, the property, whose main building dates to 1901, underwent a major renovation of its restaurants, bar, public areas and rooms.

The Best Western Plantation Hale Suites, a condominium with 160 one-bedroom units at Kapaa, Kauai, underwent a $1.7 million renovation, which included an upgrading of units before becoming a Best Western. Pioneer Inn is managed by the owner, Plantation Hale by Outrigger Lodging Services, a Los Angeles-based affiliate of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts.

Burke said his role as one of more than 20 governors who report to seven district directors, is to oversee and assist properties for Best Western. For example, he said that because early this year the Pioneer Inn's general manager left, executives from the two Outrigger-operated Best Westerns managed the property on a temporary basis.

He added that since joining, Best Western Pioneer Inn has boosted both its average occupancy and average rate.

Its average rate, he said, is now above $100, and for one week in May it was at 100% occupancy.

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