MAUNA LOA, Hawaii -- Molokai Ranch broke ground on a 22-room lodge
at Molokai's Mauna Loa town, headquarters of its ranch and
The two-story Molokai Ranch Lodge, costing more than $11
million, is expected to open next summer. It will include a dining
room, a game room, a lounge, a swimming pool, a greenhouse and herb
garden and wrap-around verandas. Guest rooms and public areas will
feature ranch memorabilia and artwork by local artists. The
six-acre lodge site fronts the town's main street and is near the
ranch's buildings, which include its check-in and reception center
for campground guests and headquarters for equestrian
Molokai Ranch president, said the lodge will reflect Maunaloa's
Hawaiian plantation-style architecture. "Molokai Ranch is dedicated
to preserving Molokai's natural environment and cultural heritage
while providing quality lodging and recreation," he said.
Plans for the lodge, which will have ocean views, were scaled
down from the original proposal of 60 rooms, although there remains
room for expansion. Rates are expected to average $175 a night.
For Hawaii, it will be the first hotel built since the Four
Seasons Hualalai opened on the Big Island in September 1996.
For the 54,000-acre ranch, which covers the western half of
Molokai and has 26 miles of coast, it is one more step in
diversifying into tourism. It recently opened its third luxury
campground, Kaupoa Beach Camp, with 40 two-bedroom tent units. Its
first, Paniolo Camp, opened early last year; its second, Kolo
Cliffs Camp, opened last September.
Rates, including three meals a day and such activities as
hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and horseback trail riding, start
at $185 per person, per night, at Paniolo Camp. A fifth night free
is offered with four paid nights.
Molokai Ranch. Phone: (877) PANIOLO
A Boost for Mauna Loa
Molokai Ranch Lodge is the latest project by Molokai Ranch in
redeveloping the old plantation town of Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa was
the hub of a thriving pineapple plantation from the 1930s to the
early '70s. Dole Pineapple pulled out after losing money, the
leased lands reverting to owner Molokai Ranch. In early 1995, with
the town in decay, the bulldozers moved in as the firm began
implementing its master plan, which includes subdivisions on the
outskirts. Around half the buildings and homes were saved and
restored, and the rest were rebuilt in the same low-rise, wooden
Opened last fall on the town's main street were Molokai's first
fast-food outlet (a ranch-operated KFC), its first cinema and the
Mauna Loa Cultural Park. The 330-seat triplex movie theater is on
the site where a cinema closed 25 years ago (Molokai, once boasting
four moviehouses, was without one for more than a decade). The
cultural park, with an amphitheater, opened as part of the town's
75th anniversary celebration. In recent months, openings have
included office buildings, a new and larger gas station and grocery
store and a restaurant, the Village Grill.
Several familiar sites remain. The town's doll shop continues to
operate. Farther uphill is the Big Wind Kite Factory, long a
landmark and tourist attraction. Here, visitors can buy kites and
learn to fly them. Jonathan Socher and family, who opened the kite
shop in 1980, also own the adjacent art gallery.