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Ocean art fills the grounds of the newly opened Wyland Waikiki Hotel, Hawaii's first artist-branded hotel.
Boutique hotel bears artist’s unique imprint
The Wyland Waikiki reopens after millions of dollars in upgrades
There's pressure on the shoulders of Team Wyland, awaiting the artist's arrival in the lobby of the chic hotel. After the initial opening of the Wyland Waikiki in October -- and subsequent closure for mold removal and simultaneous upgrades -- Wyland, a part-time Haleiwa resident, is eager to promote the place. The $30 million in renovations are not the only change: Outrigger Enterprises Group replaced Hilton Hotels Corp. in May as the hotel's management firm.
Address: 400 Royal Hawaiian Ave.
Phone: 954-4000 or (866) 346-4679
On the Net: www.wylandwaikiki.com
The mood in the lobby lifts as the celebrity nonchalantly breezes in, dressed comfortably in jeans, a button-down shirt and Converse sneakers. In between a book signing, promotional work for a new ocean-inspired jewelry line with Maui Divers and another half-dozen projects, Wyland has carved two hours out of his weekend schedule to promote one particular project: the relaunching of the Wyland Waikiki.
Wyland approved nearly everything in the contemporary-style boutique hotel, from picking his personal favorite sculptures and paintings to selecting the paints and fabrics in each room.
"I test-drove it," said Wyland of the furnishings in the 405-room hotel, which replaced the budget Ohana Waikiki Surf. "I essentially have the same colors and furniture. (And) I like the art."
Public relations representatives, dressed smartly in business attire on a Saturday, as well as the hotel employees, stand in contrast to Wyland's casual appearance. But don't underestimate his dressed-down look. The artist is known as much for his conservation efforts and environmental-themed murals as for his wealth-building forays into books, videos and more, including work for the 2008 Summer Olympics and art created for an Aloha Airlines jet.*
"I don't have a job," said Wyland. "I have a life and it's good."
The hotel is not only the first in a line of future Wyland hotels, but also is Hawaii's first artist-branded hotel.
"We're also looking at Miami, South Beach, Orlando, Las Vegas and Seattle," said Wyland.
Splashes of his personality can be found throughout the hotel and grounds, which together house $4 million worth of his artwork, including many originals.
The seating area of the new hotel's library.
Wyland chose the photos and paintings that line the hallways of each floor, plus the sculptures that adorn the small bit of lawn. Life-size dolphins huddle underneath the trees, and fish and other assorted marine life dot the hotel's lobby, as does a water sculpture and aquariums. Long couches in blue and yellow also add a pop of color to the front entrance.
"When you come in, the colors are very subtle," said Wyland. "The colors of the ocean flow through the hotel. It's peaceful. There's a lot of energy in the city, but there's a lot of peace. ... We've made this as cool and as great as we can."
Unique touches to the hotel are a "chill room," which offers iJoy massage chairs and Xbox game stations, and a customized penthouse in progress for Wyland, where he can live and work, should he be entertaining -- or needing a nap -- in Waikiki.
The artist added he has spent three night in the hotel so far, pointing out the room he stayed in. "(The hotel) is great for the Wyland person," said the artist. "From the 3-year-old to the 93-year-old, all collectors are young at heart."
Each of the rooms is outfitted with a mix of bamboo and dark-wood furniture, and bedding has been hand-picked or designed by Wyland himself; the artist's motif is imprinted on the bedcovers. All the light-colored rooms boast 26-inch flat-panel plasma TVs; iPod-compatible alarm clocks; and selected pieces of artwork by Wyland and other artists represented in his gallery, including photographer Kim Taylor Reece.
Also available at the boutique hotel are the newly opened gourmet coffee and espresso bar KiMOBEAN, which offers pastries and sandwiches, and the Wy-Bar, which overlooks the garden-side pool and whirlpool spa.
A day spa, fitness center and a signature restaurant await completion.
Surveying the grounds of his first hotel venture, Wyland seems satisfied.
"The art and soul of the first one had to be in the flavors of Oahu. It's everything I asked for; didn't cut any corners."
The Wyland Waikiki offers a $149 kamaaina rate through Nov. 30. A $169 promotional package is available for guests from the mainland. For reservations, call (866) 346-4679.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
» The artist Wyland created artwork for an Aloha Airlines jet. A Sunday article on Page G6 said incorrectly that it was American Airlines.