The Residence Inn by Marriott Oahu Kapolei opened its doors to guests on Nov. 1, completing a three-year period that saw the introduction of the area's first trio of hotels.
There has long been chatter of Kapolei offering a nexus of accommodations outside of Waikiki that is now being realized.
"I was born and raised here and Kapolei was always meant to be the second city of Oahu to Honolulu," Residence Inn Kapolei director of sales Kelly Kitashima said. "Now, it's finally happening. As Honolulu has gotten more developed, and there have been increased demands for housing and commutes have gotten longer, there has been demand on this side of the island. They've talked about this for a long time in Kapolei, and it's coming to fruition."
In September 2016 the 175-room Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei cut its ribbon, then the 180-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei opened in October 2017.
The $70 million Residence Inn holds 83 studio, one- and two-bedroom suites. Designed for stays of a week or more, each suite offers a work desk and full kitchen.
"We don't have one set target demographic," said Kitashima. "It ranges from local families to military and a lot of corporate travel on a project basis. ... We do cater to groups, like wedding blocks, sports groups, and corporate leadership groups."
The Residence Inn has a range of amenities, many designed to facilitate extended stays. There is a 24-hour convenience store, coin-operated laundry facility, fitness center, two barbecue grills and a partnership with Foodland for grocery delivery service.
There is also a full-service bar and a pool with fire pits that have become a popular evening gathering spot, Kitashima said.
"The swimming pool is in the shape of a fidget spinner [toy] and there are day beds, tables, umbrellas, and a kids' area. It's fairly large for a hotel of this size and it gets sunlight throughout the day," she added.
There is complimentary hot breakfast each morning with a rotating selection of typical American breakfast dishes along with Hawaiian specialties.
"Residence Inn always has health-conscious menus in mind ... I love that we offer egg whites," Kitashima said. "But we always have a protein, sausage or bacon, or some other item, and of course we have a waffle station that is always popular."
As all-new construction, the Residence Inn was built according to the latest brand standards.
"There's a lot more natural lighting," Kitashima said. "When you're sitting at the desk in the rooms you're looking out a window. And there's the latest technology, you can connect your phone to the internet and stream to the TV in the room. All rooms have sofa beds, and 24 of the rooms have lanais."
There are also games scattered throughout the property, like checkers and giant-size Jenga, to create more spaces for guests to relax and socialize.
"There are little touches throughout the hotel that give it a Hawaiian feel," Kitashima said. "I think when you're doing something like a Residence Inn with a brand standard there's a fear that it will feel like it could be anywhere and not specific to Hawaii. But there's a green living wall, and each floor has an accent wall. There are Hawaiian flowers, and little touches so you feel like you're in Hawaii."
Kapolei, situated in the southwest corner of Oahu, lies between the Honolulu International Airport and Ko Olina. Nearby attractions include Pearl Harbor, Kapolei Golf Course and Wet 'N Wild Water Park. Additionally, the Honolulu Rail Project scheduled for completion in 2025 will run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.