Waikiki's Pacific Beach Hotel set for $115M overhaul

The Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki is set for an 18-month overhaul, after which it will be renamed  the Alohilani Resort at Waikiki Beach. Pictured, a rendering of the upgraded pool area.
The Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki is set for an 18-month overhaul, after which it will be renamed the Alohilani Resort at Waikiki Beach. Pictured, a rendering of the upgraded pool area.
Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

The 839-room Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki has announced a $115 million redevelopment plan that will include a new name; renovations to all of the property's guestrooms and suites; the addition of two restaurants; and an overhaul of public spaces and the fourth-floor outdoor pool deck.

Rob Robinson, the hotel's general manager, told me the Pacific Beach hasn't had a comprehensive renovation since it first opened in 1969, and officials see the planned redevelopment as a chance to reposition the property in Waikiki's changing landscape.

"It needed the renovation. No question about it," he said. "A lot of renovation dollars are being spent today, but much of that is money you have to spend to keep the product up. We saw the opportunity to really focus on a bigger investment and actually reposition the hotel at a higher level."

Robinson described the Pacific Beach as a three-and-a-half star hotel today, but said the redevelopment, which will include renaming the property the Alohilani Resort at Waikiki Beach, should boost its rating significantly.

"We're certainly not out to compete with the Halekulani at the five-star level," he explained. "But we're saying a strong four-star or four-plus-star is where we want to be in the marketplace."

Sitting right across the street from the beach in Waikiki, the property certainly has a prime location, and according to Robinson, the hotel's existing layout means the redevelopment won't require knocking down any guestroom walls.

"We're lucky we have a good footprint already. Our rooms are pretty spacious," he said. "They average about 390 square feet.  However, it is a total gut of the rooms. We are gutting the bathrooms, adding all new fixtures, all new plumbing. It's really going to be a brand-new room."

Tech touches like an ample array of electrical outlets, USB ports in the headboards and 50-inch flat-screen TVs are also on the list of guestroom improvements. And although the room redo won't require knocking down any walls, Robinson said they will be removing many of them in the hotel's public spaces.

"There's an extensive demolition and construction and reconfiguration planned for the public areas," he said, noting that the hotel's current mezzanine level will be removed. "That will give a nice high ceiling and a much nicer sense of arrival for the guests."

Work to upgrade the property's pool area also sounds like it will be a substantial undertaking.

"What we have up there today is really an expansive space with a fairly modest pool," Robinson said. "So that's going to be a total redo, and we'll go from what we have today to a truly well-furnished and well-appointed resort-style pool deck with the cabanas and a saltwater, infinity-edged pool."

The redevelopment planners also landed celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, who will open two restaurants on the property's Kalakaua Avenue side, facing the beach. The upscale dinner-only option will be called Morimoto Asia and feature an array of pan-Asian cuisine, while the other outlet, called Momosan Waikiki, "is casual all-day dining with a multitude of a small plates, Japanese-style tapas" and ramen, according to Robinson.

"Then there will be a beer garden as well," Robinson said of the all-day Momosan restaurant. "We're really excited about that, because there just aren't many street-level, lanai-style outdoor places to drink in Waikiki, [so] it'll be right opposite Waikiki beach and a great place for people to grab a cold beer or a glass of sake."

Officials plan to keep the hotel, which is managed by Highgate, open throughout the planned 18-month redevelopment project and hope to have work complete in fall 2017.
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