Holiday Inn SunSpree celebrates grand opening

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WAILUA, Hawaii -- The Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Kauai held its grand opening celebration.

A poolside view The former Wailua Bay Hotel had a soft reopening last April after being closed for nine months for a renovation project that cost more than $9 million. The celebration was on the weekend of Nov. 20.

The 216-room hotel, which opened in 1970, has a brighter, lighter look, featuring repainted exteriors. Gone are the shops across the driveway from the lobby, with new tiling here extending to, and opening up, the porte cochere.

The lobby building and the two three-story guest room wings have new roofs.

An area in the renovated restaurant and lounge features the Marketessen, a deli that is a standard SunSpree feature.

Under the dining room, opening onto the main pool, is the new children's activity room. Free supervised activities are held daily for children ages 4 to 12 between noon and 3 p.m.

In addition, between the beach and the hotel, is Lydgate Park. The park is open to the public and has a children's play area.

Adjacent to the children's room is another new feature -- a fitness room with equipment.

The hotel, six miles north of Lihue Airport, also offers two swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, a pool snack bar, tennis (free to guests), a tour and activity desk and room service.

For meetings there are three renovated rooms for groups of up to 300 people.

Rooms and corridors have new paint and wallpaper, and the room renovation included the tiling of entryways and new soft goods and furniture.

Each room has a telephone with voice mail and data port (local calls are free), a hair dryer, a coffeemaker, a clock radio, a TV with HBO, a safe and a refrigerator. Suites also feature a wet bar and a microwave.

Room renovations in the two wings were completed in June.

The property also has 26 one-bedroom cottage units (previously called cabanas) overlooking the park, the final project of the renovation. Half were reopened for the grand opening; the other half will be completed by the holidays.

The hotel was called Kauai Resort Hotel until a name change to Wailua Bay Hotel in late 1996 and was managed by Hawaii Pacific Resorts until the early 1990s. It was purchased in 1997 by an investment group affiliated with San Francisco-based Equinox Hotel Management, Inc., which manages the property.

The Bass Hotels & Resorts/Holiday Inn franchise became the company's 25th SunSpree and its first in Hawaii.

According to Linda Taylor, director of sales and marketing, the hotels target the midmarket vacationer. "We're great for families," she said, noting that the park, the hotel's facilities and the beach is safe and protected from swells by a rock wall. With the opening of the cottages, we'll also be able to go after the honeymoon market. We're also stressing our great location, central for Kauai's tours and activities."

Taylor expects around 40% of business to come from wholesalers, which began selling the property this fall.

Among wholesalers featuring the property are MLT Vacations, All About Hawaii, Sunquest, Suntrips and American Airlines Vacations.

Rack rates for 1999 remain the same as in 1998: $150 for a gardenview and $175 for an oceanview room. One-bedroom suites cost $190 and $225, respectively. Cottage suites cost $275.

Packages and package prices also remain the same. The Great Rates special features a garden room for $115, and with a rental car, $135. Children ages 12 and younger eat free from children's menus when dining with parents.

The hotel pays a 12% commission and said it has a policy of mailing commissions within 24 hours of guests' departures. Travel agent rates are 50% of rack rates.

Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Phone: (888) 823-5111 or (800) HOLIDAY

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