Kapolei, west of Honolulu, is quickly becoming an alternative location for lodging to the more bustling Waikiki and pricier resort developments of Ko Olina.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei opened in the fall. In September 2016, the first hotel in Kapolei opened, the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei. Located in the Ka Makana Alii shopping center, the 175-room hotel from DeBartolo Development is the state's first Hampton Inn.
On the heels of the Embassy Suites opening, workers broke ground in October on a 183-suite Residence Inn by Marriott. The $60 million project is scheduled to open in the first half of 2019.
Kapolei is well situated to some of Oahu's top tourist sights and other attractions. Pearl Harbor, Kapolei Golf Course and Wet 'N Wild Water Park are nearby. Coral Crater Adventure Park, boasting ziplines, ATV tours and a climbing wall, opened in the area roughly a year ago.
Meanwhile, demand for affordable places to stay in Kapolei also came from neighborhood residents.
"The locals were saying that their family has to stay all the way in Waikiki, and so many of the area residents requested that more affordable hotels be placed within the Kapolei area for their friends and their family," City Councilwoman Kimberly Pine told local ABC affiliate KITV.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei, owned by Kapolei Hotel Partners and managed by Western States Lodging, offers studio and two-room suites, daily free cooked-to-order breakfast and free WiFi. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to Ko Olina Beach and Lagoons and White Plains Beach.
"I think they saw the success of the Hampton Inn and the space for some more price-friendly accommodations in comparison to the resorts on Ko Olina beach, and they saw opportunity here," said Reid Yoshida, general manager of Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei. "A lot of guests are on Waikiki, and I think Waikiki is a little saturated with hotel rooms and timeshares. The west side provides a nice alternative for guests."
The seven-story, $60 million property offers 180 suites, some with ocean view lanais, an outdoor pool, whirlpool, fitness center and two food-and-beverage options including a poolside bar and a restaurant, Sprigs Grill.
There are other signs that Kapolei will soon see more traffic and visitors. The Regal Kapolei Commons 12, Hawaii's first "deluxe" movie theater with electric-reclining seats and expanded food options, opened in the neighborhood. Also, the Honolulu Rail Project, which broke ground in 2011 and is scheduled for completion in 2025, will run from Kapolei to the Ala Moana Center.
The Embassy Suites sits on three acres within the 40-acre Leihano mixed-use development. In the near term, Yoshida said, the hotel is focusing on business and inter-island travelers.
"But in the future I think Kapolei and West Oahu can develop into a leisure destination," he said. "There is so much opportunity here, and plenty of activities in and around the west side."