Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightJuly marked the beginning of a multimillion-dollar renovation to the 380-room Diamond Head Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, but guests are already staying on four of the building’s upgraded floors.

About 80 rooms are finished in the tower, and they were recently opened up to overnight bookings.

“The renovation is a complete refurbishment of all the guestrooms and corridors,” said Jerry Gibson, Hilton Hawaii’s area vice president. “And that includes all the decor, all the wallpaper, carpeting and all furnishings. So it’s a whole new room, and the bathrooms will be retiled and retrofitted with all new energy-saving LED lights.” ShaneNelson

Gibson said more floors will be completed and opened up to guests throughout the rest of this fall, and he expects the entire tower to be completed by mid-December before the start of Hawaii’s peak holiday travel season.

“A full renovation had not been done for a while,” Gibson explained, noting that building’s guestrooms underwent a soft-goods upgrade eight years ago. “So it was time.”

Asked whether agents should feel confident sending clients to stay at the Hilton’s Diamond Head tower during the renovation work, Gibson noted that “when we do our renovations we always do a buffer floor. I would say people come and go and don’t even know that we’re doing a renovation.”

The Hilton Hawaiian Village has seen a fair amount of renovation recently, with improvements completed at many of the 22-acre property’s pools and public spaces along with upgrades to the Alii and Rainbow towers and work on its Lagoon timeshare building.

Meanwhile, ground was broken on the property’s Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations Club project in June. Gibson said foundation work was underway at the moment, including plumbing, electrical and pillar installation, but the 418-unit building wouldn’t start “coming out of the ground” until next May.

The project is expected to welcome its first guests in the third quarter of 2017, according to Gibson.

Even with the range of improvements, 2014 business at the Hilton Hawaiian Village appears to have been solid through September.

“I’m happy with the results so far,” Gibson said. “And it looks again like 2015 should be, hopefully, a pretty good year.”

A number of summertime airfare sales to the Islands from U.S. gateways bolstered bookings from the American market, Gibson reported.

“What we saw in the summer time was the American wholesaler business really started to pick up,” he said. “We were really happy about that, because in April and May of this year, the airfares were really high. So as soon as the airfares started to come down on the mainland, wholesalers really started to pick up, [and] it really helped our summer.”
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