Waikiki Marriotts get refits

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HONOLULU -- The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel recently completed $87 million in renovations.

The two Marriott properties are located on opposite ends of Waikiki; the 1,310-room Waikiki Beach Marriott -- formerly the Hawaiian Regent Hotel -- is at the Diamond Head end, and the 783-room Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki is near the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

With the completion of renovations, Marriott now can begin focusing on its strategy to tap business and leisure travelers from both Japan and the mainland, according to Stan Brown, vice president of Pacific Islands for Marriott International.

"The two hotels fit well with our strategy because we have one hotel on either side of Waikiki," said Brown. "The Ilikai has the government, military, financial and convention center business ... and the Waikiki Marriott has a focus on leisure travelers from Japan and the U.S."

At the Waikiki Beach Marriott, the majority of travelers still come from Japan. The former Hawaiian Regent Hotel was marketed mainly to the Japanese market before being sold to Marriott. However, under Marriott ownership and management, "we will layer U.S. business on top of that," said Brown.

Although most of the $60 million in renovations at the Waikiki Beach Marriott are complete, there still is some work going on.

The hotel is retiling the pool, renovating a restaurant next to the pool and transforming some tennis courts into meetings space. Some of the hotel's retail space still is vacant. New at the property are an open-air entrance, water features and a courtyard.

Marriott renovated 74 rooms in the newly named Kealohilani Tower, which is closest to the beach. The remaining 578 rooms in the tower were renovated more than a year ago by the previous owner, just before Marriott purchased the property. The back tower, now called the Paoakalani Tower, had all 658 rooms redone.

The Marriott's 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meetings space was renovated with new carpet, lights and ceiling and wall coverings. The Hamohamo Cafe and the Kuhio Beach Grill also were renovated.

The sprawling resort also has four other restaurants, two pools, a fitness room, a business center and 15 shops.

Marriott room rates start at $300 a night for cityview and $360 for oceanview; suites range from $1,500 to $2,300.

For more on the property, call (800) 367-5370

At the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki, $27 million was spent on renovations. All 783 guest rooms were refurbished as well as public areas.

"We've added more flavor to the hotel," said general manager Alan Cambra. "Just about everything from guest rooms and the lobby to our restaurant and bars has been upgraded."

The hotel's renovation included the restoration of two staircases that were part of the original design when the hotel opened in 1964.

Ironically, the $27 million in renovations is the same figure developer Chinn Ho spent on the property to open it in 1964.

The hotel was featured in the opening sequence of "Hawaii Five-O," with Jack Lord standing on a penthouse balcony backed by views of Waikiki and Diamond Head.

Rates range from $240 to $1,000 a night. Of the 783 rooms, 52 are suites and 250 have full kitchens.

There are three restaurants, two lounges and 23 meeting rooms with 25,000 square feet of space. There also are two pools, a fitness center and a tennis court.

Renaissance room rates are priced at $240 for a cityview, $280 for an oceanview, $450 for a one-bedroom suite and $1,000 for a honeymoon suite.

For more information on the Renaissance, call (800) 949-3811.

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