Transformation underway at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel

A rendering is shown of the planned look for the lobby at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, which is undergoing a $34-million renovation.
A rendering is shown of the planned look for the lobby at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, which is undergoing a $34-million renovation.
Work has begun on a $34-million overhaul of the Queen Kapiolani Hotel on the eastern end of Waikiki.

The 315-room property, originally built in 1969, is undergoing a major transformation that will touch the lobby, common areas, pool deck, meetings spaces, rooms and dining options, and is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of June. The hotel will remain open throughout the process.

The project team includes Honolulu-based architecture firm G70, Philpotts Interiors as lead designer and John Hardy Group as the construction manager. The Queen Kapiolani Hotel, situated across from the 108-acre Kapiolani Park and Honolulu Zoo, was purchased in 2015 by DiamondHead Land, a joint venture of San Francisco-based ProspectHill Group and Hawaii hotel executive Patrick Fitzgerald, and is managed by Kokua Hospitality. 

The extensive work will reposition the Queen Kapiolani as a luxury boutique offering, according to management, and will also make the hotel more of a presence in the wedding and reception market.

"When it's all said and done this luxury boutique hotel on the park at the beach will provide any guest the ultimate Hawaiian experience they've been looking for," said Jeff Perkins, general manager at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel.

A two-story escalator in the lobby has been removed to open up the area, which will get new retail spaces. The reception desk is being moved closer to the porte-cochere and the refreshed lobby decor includes lighting sculptures by New Zealand artist David Trubridge. The guestrooms are being redone with new furniture and midcentury modern decor following beach themes.

The pool deck and meetings spaces will be reconfigured and renovated, highlighting the property's clear views to the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. 

"There is truly not another hotel in Waikiki with these views," Perkins said.

Additionally, the hotel's lanai is being extended, and a grab-and-go retail space is being installed that will serve coffee, beer and wine. That initiative, along with the revamped restaurant on the third floor, will be led by Plan Do See, a Tokyo-based international hospitality group. The hotel tentatively expects to open the new restaurant in the spring.

The hotel is also working on curation and new displays for its art collection, which includes several vintage Hawaii tourism posters. They will be rearranging some of the art collected by the property in its 48-year history to both preserve and better showcase it. Other details, including new activities being offered out of the hotel, are still being ironed out.

The Queen Kapiolani Hotel offers standard rooms, junior suites with kitchenettes and penthouse suites. 

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