Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightShuttered in 1992 after suffering extensive damage during Hurricane Iniki, the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai is slated to reopen in 2017 under Hyatt Hotels management.

A substantial 24-month reconstruction project at the property, which first opened in 1953, will likely begin early next year, Hyatt announced last week. The redevelopment work will preserve the resort’s original footprint and signature lagoon while reconstructing 331 guestrooms, 32 bungalows and multiple restaurants and pools.

Owner and developer Coco Palms Hui, a group of Hawaii-based investors, acquired the property last year for a reported $12 million.

“Our endeavor to revitalize the grounds and rebuild, all the while preserving the soul of the iconic resort, is an ambitious project,” Tyler Greene, manager of the Coco Palms Hui, said in a statement. “Hyatt is the perfect leader to steer a thoughtful, honorable and rejuvenated guest experience at the Coco Palms Resort.”

In its prime, the Coco Palms hosted a range of Hollywood celebrities and famously served as the setting for the 1961 Elvis Presley film “Blue Hawaii” while also featuring in the musical “South Pacific” and the “Fantasy Island” TV series. 

Following its closure after Iniki’s devastating toll, the hotel continued to attract visitors happy to pay for a tour of the damaged property and enjoy a look at the bungalow where Elvis stayed, or pass a few moments near the famous lagoon location of the “Blue Hawaii” wedding scene, which has remained a popular wedding venue for couples even in recent years.

Hyatt officials said plans are also being made for the addition of a community center on the resort property, which sits on the Garden Isle’s east coast just outside of Kapaa at a location that was once home to Kauai's last reigning queen, Queen Deborah Kapule Kekaiha’akulou. The center would highlight the cultural significance of the site and educate residents and visitors about the area’s history and arts.

“The redevelopment of the Coco Palms Resort is not just a feel-good story,” Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in a statement. “The investment of time, money and labor to revitalize the resort grounds and reignite the spirit of this legendary hotel is great news for our community.”

Hyatt manages five properties in the Hawaiian Islands, including the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa on the Garden Isle’s southern coast.

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