Outrigger bringing new tech, modern vibe to Waikiki Beachcomber

All of the room renovations at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger are complete, and the remainder of the $35 million project should be complete by spring.
All of the room renovations at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger are complete, and the remainder of the $35 million project should be complete by spring.
Tovin Lapan
Tovin Lapan

The Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger has completed renovations to all of its guestrooms, and the rest of the work on a $35 million revamp should be complete in the next couple of months, the property's management team has confirmed.

"We're introducing a new, modern Waikiki vibe," said Ike Cockett, the recently appointed general manager. "It's a cool motif and we're really excited about it. There is a lot of hand-painted imagery, and the property has local artists and music infused throughout."

The work of Oahu-based Zak Noyle, who specializes in surfing and ocean photography, is featured prominently in the update of the property, including the lobby and guestrooms. 

"A lot of times you see photos looking down at the water, or from a distance, above the headboard in the room," said Mike Shaff, Outrigger vice president of hotel operations for Hawaii and Guam. "Above the beds in our new rooms, we have murals of Zak's photos that are underwater and take you inside the wave."

The accommodations have been updated with all new technology including 55-inch flat-screen TVs with the ability to stream from mobile devices and use personal YouTube, Netflix and Hulu accounts. 

"The technology in the rooms is greatly improved, and we've made improvements on the back-of-the-house side as well with technology and software," Cockett said. "For example, we're using a new texting platform called Zingle that allows us to communicate with the guest and vice versa. So they can request fresh towels in their room as they head back from the beach, or we can let them know about a happy hour special at Maui Brewing Company." 

With the rooms complete, finishing touches on the public spaces remain, including the pool deck and two new meetings spaces. The 496-room property was built in 1970, and was previously known as the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts parent KSL Resorts purchased the property in 2017 and then reflagged it the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger in early 2018. 

"Everything has been redone," Shaff said. "Not one wall has been left untouched, from the lobby front desk to the flooring. Even the journey up the escalator to the lobby upon arrival is dramatically different, with local indigenous stones and foliage and an underwater Zak Noyle shot."

A marketplace-style retail shop is on the way that will offer sundries in addition to specialty items like Beachcomber-branded merchandise, including the new in-room guest robes, colorfully patterned lightweight Yukata-style garments that Cockett and Shaff said have been popular with the first guests to experience the new rooms.

The pool area's hot tub is being moved and tripled in size, as Shaff said they found that was a high-use, social nexus for the area.

"The major change is the hot tub, and it will have an infinity type of feel looking down over Kalakaua Avenue where guests will be able to see the activity and look out over Waikiki," he said.

The pool deck furniture is all being updated, and food service is provided by Hawaiian Aroma Caffe.

Once the pool deck renovations are finished they plan to bring back the Terrace of Modern Art programming that featured local artists and musicians for cocktail hours and other events. Another plan is to offer "Dive-in" movie screenings at the pool.

"We're very excited about how we are activating the space," Shaff said. "We're rotating local artists in for installations, which is great for the guest experience but also a great way to support our local talent." 

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