Hawaii briefs: Developer plans renovation of Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

In early May, Kyo-ya Hotels announced plans to spend $700 million on renovations at its Sheraton Princess Kaiulani property and the construction of the first new oceanfront resort on Waikiki Beach in 30 years.

Extensive changes planned for the property include the demolition of two aging buildings while the property's 28-story Ainahau tower undergoes a substantial upgrade. A 33-story Pikake tower is also in the works and will feature 210 condo hotel units beneath more than 60 whole-ownership residences.

Kyo-ya also intends to demolish the eight-story, 140-room Diamond Head Tower annex east of the Moana Surfrider's Banyan Wing. Built in 1952, the annex will be replaced by a 26-story, oceanfront luxury tower featuring 185 hotel rooms and 40 whole-ownership residences.

Construction work on the projects is not projected to begin until 2012.

Hawaiian gets second Airbus

Hawaiian Airlines' new 294-seat, widebody Airbus A330-200 flew its first full complement of paying customers to Los Angeles on June 4. The aircraft is one of three Airbuses scheduled to join the Hawaiian fleet this year; a total of 27 will be added over the next decade.

"Today represents the opening page to a new chapter in Hawaiian's proud history, one that will see our company set a new standard for travel to and from Hawaii and expand our route structure to new, more distant destinations," Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, said at recent ceremony introducing the new aircraft.

A second new Airbus A300-200 is scheduled to join the first on the Honolulu-Los Angles route June 17. Combined, the two aircraft will add 118,000 available seats annually to the state's largest North American visitor market.

Hilton plans timeshare towers

A multiyear master plan outlining the renovation and expansion of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa in Waikiki was released in April. A number of additional swimming pools are in the works along with expanded retail and restaurant space and the construction of two timeshare towers, which will add about 500 vacation ownership units to the property's existing 3,627 guest-rooms, suites and timeshare units.

"Studies have shown that vacation ownership units are less susceptible to the dips and valleys of the economy, making [them] a solid investment in the future of Waikiki, ensuring employment and generating tax revenue for the community," said Jerry Gibson, area vice president and managing director for Hilton Hawaii.

Actual work on the renovation and expansion plan at the Hawaiian Village is likely still a ways off. Gibson said Hilton has just begun what it anticipates will be an 18-to-24-month environmental impact study and city and county permitting process.

Hilton did not disclose an estimate for the total cost of the multiyear project.

This report appeared in the June 14 issue of Travel Weekly.

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