Outrigger slates $20M renovation

HONOLULU--Outrigger Hotels & Resorts plans a $20 million renovation of the 545-room Royal Waikoloan on the Big Island's Kohala Coast.

Outrigger Enterprises Inc., parent of the hotel chain, completed the purchase of the property in late September. According to David Carey, Outrigger Hotels president, proposals are being sought from architects, and work, expected to take 18 months, is planned to begin next March.

Tentative plans call for a new entryway and porte cochere, the renovation of all rooms, and a remodeling of the pool area as major projects. "We are committed to making the Royal Waikoloan one of the Big Island's premier hotels," Carey said.

After the renovation, the property will be renamed Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Resort. Carey added that occupancy has increased at the 15-acre property this year. He described the purchase transition as "seamless," with no change in hotel management.

Outrigger has managed the property since 1991 and had a 31% interest in TAAS Associates, the owning partnership, before the purchase. The purchase ends uncertainty at the 17-year-old property, which has seen previous purchase deals fall through. Despite its previous ownership interest, Outrigger Hotels had been on a month-to-month management contract since April 1996.

With a sale expected, Outrigger excluded the property from its 1997 package and other programs, only to include them again for 1998. Richard Kelley, Outrigger Enterprises chairman, said Outrigger was always a willing buyer but previously could not reach an agreement with the majority owners.

The purchase, he said, reaffirms Outrigger's commitment to Hawaii. "For the first time in recent history a Hawaii company has bought a major local hotel, and ownership is not going overseas," he said. Royal Waikoloan is part of the 500-acre Waikoloa Beach Resort, which has one other hotel--the 1,241-room Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The beachfront hotel has two restaurants, a pool snack bar and lobby bar, a fitness center, meeting facilities and shops. It also has beach and ocean activities, Hawaiian cultural programs and Hawaiian archaeological sites. The hotel is the only moderate-category hotel at the Kohala Coast destination resorts. Rack rates range from $140 for gardenview to $275 for Royal Cabana Club and will remain the same in 1999.

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