Categorized | Business, Featured

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel bounces back

(Photo courtesy of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel)


While King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel continues getting spruced up and improved following the March 11 tsunami, renovation awards keep coming in, as well as stories about employees who went above and beyond to help others.

The iconic hotel was recently lauded a 2011 NAIOP Hawaii Kukulu Hale Award for “Commercial Renovation over 40,000 square feet.”

Given by the Hawaii Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the award lauded Honolulu’s Group 70 for the innovative interior design of guestrooms and suites. The hotel’s all-new furnishings fulfill the needs of guests for relaxing, writing or snacking amid decorative Hawaiian themes and textures.

The Kukulu Hale award comes on the heels of a TravelAge West 2011 Editor’s Pick nomination for “Best New Resort or Major Renovation, Hawaii.”

The nod cited the hotel’s two-year, $35 million renovation completed in 2010-the largest, most comprehensive enhancement in the property’s 35 years of operation.

(Photo courtesy of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel)

This spring, however, Mother Nature decided the award-winning renovation wasn’t quite done. Generated by a devastating earthquake in Japan, a tsunami hit historic Kailua Village and damaged the hotel’s oceanside grounds, restaurant, lobby and shops.

The good news? No one was injured, and none of the resort’s 452 newly renovated guestrooms were damaged.

Staff immediately reported to duty and began cleanup. Their quick action resulted in many guests choosing to continue their stay at the hotel, while singing praises about the calm, cool, and collective efforts of the hotel colleagues.

For example, Guest Service Manager Kimo Medeiros recently received a personalized thank you letter from the crew of United Flight 55 for his professionalism in evacuating hotel guests during the tsunami and keeping them informed and updated on how the hotel could service them.

He was one of many staff who dedicated themselves to guests before, during and after the tsunami.

(Photo courtesy of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel)

Post-tsunami cleanup began immediately at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and has been brisk both inside and out.

A delivery of beautiful white sand has replenished the scenic beach fronting the hotel and historic Kamakahonu Bay. Based from their beachside hub, Kona Boys continue offering exciting outrigger canoe and kayak rides along the historic coast, stand-up paddle board lessons, and equipment for a wide range of water sports and activities.

More than $500,000 in upgraded landscaping is being installed through the property to return common areas to a lush, tropical oasis. The oceanside luau grounds are getting an improved stage and seating area while the tennis courts have been resurfaced.

Indoors, brand new equipment has been added to the Fitness Center, which boasts treadmills, elliptical, weight machines and stretch benches. Lobby furnishings have been replaced and the reordered custom carpet arrives this month, returning the lobby to its original renovated splendor.

Once the carpet is laid, the Herb Kawainui Kane art collection will be reinstalled in display cases. The exhibit of 40 signed and numbered, limited-edition giclees-by the legendary, late artist-historian-is the largest collection of its kind in any Hawaii hotel and complements the original Kane mural in the lobby.

The oceanside Kona Beach Restaurant, which suffered considerable tsunami damage, is being transformed into an indoor-outdoor dining experience overlooking picturesque Kamakahonu Bay.

Sporting towering window doors opening to the beach, it will have comfortable lounging niches with cozy fire pits and a private dining room, seating up to 70. The signature restaurant will reopen, with a new name, in early fall.

In the meantime, hotel dining options continue at the Paddler’s Restaurant, where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily. Meals and snacks can also be enjoyed at the poolside Billfish Bar, overlooking the new infinity pool, plus live Hawaiian entertainment is staged on Friday and Saturday evenings.

And behind the scenes, employees will get a nifty new look for their locker rooms, including new TV and seating areas, new lockers, fresh paint and new carpeting.

Also in the works is the reconfiguring of former retail space on the lobby level into an expansive business and gathering area. It will have six individual meeting rooms anchored by a lounge outfitted with media pods for checking email or printing out boarding passes.

On-site retail offerings open for business include Rumley Art & Frame, ABC Stores, Dollar Rent a Car, Pleasant Holidays and the Pack, Ship & Copy Depot.

Also available is the hotel’s exclusive wedding coordinator and photo studio, Kona Weddings/Big Island Image Productions.

The lineup of shops and services set to open soon are Beaches Beach & Pool Resort Wear, Hawaiian Shirt Museum, Hawaiian Craft Consignment and Premkamal Spa.

— Find out more:

(Photo courtesy of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel)

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