Royal Waikoloan to get $25M face-lift and a new name

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KOHALA -- When the 545-room Royal Waikoloan reopens as the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Hotel & Resort on Oct. 15, it will be a very different hotel.

The property will close June 1 for a renovation and remodeling that will cost more than $25 million. More than one acre of concrete, much of it on the lobby level, will be gone, opening up the resort for ocean views.

The Outrigger Waikoloa Beach on the Big Island's Kohala Coast will have renovated rooms, a remodeled porte cochere and lobby, an additional ballroom, new restaurants, a new spa, new landscaping and a pool that will be expanded to double its current size.

"We'll have a brand-new hotel, with the look and feel of the 1930s and '40s," Peter Thoene, the hotel's new director of sales and marketing, said. "We'll do justice to the location," he said of the property, which features gardens and archaeological sites, including an ancient Hawaiian fish pond, on its 22 acres. "It is exciting to be back here," he added. Thoene was formerly director of sales at Maui's Kapalua Bay.

The Royal Waikoloan opened in 1981 and was managed by Sheraton until 1988, when Outrigger Hotels & Resorts took over. Sheraton operated it jointly with Royal Resorts, a Big Island company. Outrigger became the sole operator in 1991, and last fall Outrigger Enterprises, the chain's parent company, bought the hotel.

The hotel is part of the 500-acre Waikoloa Beach Resort, which has two 18-hole golf courses; condominiums; a shopping center, and another hotel, the 1,240-room Hilton Waikoloa Resort. Thoene said all work at the Outrigger is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 15, except for one of the two wings of guest rooms, which will open by Dec. 15. He added that the hotel will have a Hawaiian feeling, with bamboo and coconut used throughout the hotel.

The renovation will include the consolidation of retail space, now spread out in different areas, below the lobby. Other changes will include:

  • The addition of a health spa, which will offer massage treatments, doubling the size of the existing fitness center.
  • A new 3,000-square-foot ballroom built near the existing 6,650-square-foot ballroom.
  • A new main restaurant below the lobby, replacing the Herb Garden and Tiare restaurants.
  • A new pool, with landscaping and a new restaurant for casual dining that replaces the existing pool snack shop.
  • With the additional meeting space, Thoene said he expects group business to increase to 30% of total business in 2000, compared with 20% group and 80% FIT currently. Outrigger is taking FIT reservations for stays starting Oct. 15.

    Preclosing rack rates ranged from $140, gardenview, to $230, oceanfront, with Voyagers Club cabana rooms at $275 and suites ranging from $365 to $765. On reopening, introductory rack rates will range from $175 to $275 through March 31 of next year. Besides the cabana rooms, at $325, there will be an additional Voyagers Club category, $310, in the guest room wings. Suites will range from $400 to $850.

    From April 1 to March 31, 2001, rates will increase, ranging from $200 to $290, with Voyagers Club at $320 and $350 (cabana) and suites from $425 to $1,000. Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Phone: (800) OUTRIGGER.

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