Hale Koa launches $50M renovation
The military hotel is the latest in a series of Waikiki hotel upgrades
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The Hale Koa Hotel said yesterday it has started a $50 million renovation that includes upgrades to 420 guest rooms, the main lobby and primary kitchen.
Both of the hotel's towers will remain open during construction, which is slated to finish in March 2009. It is the first major renovation since the hotel, owned by the U.S. Army, opened in 1975.
The hotel said does not expect to lay off any workers.
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The Hale Koa Hotel said yesterday it is launching its first major renovations since opening in 1975, following several other recent Waikiki hotel upgrades.
The $50 million project includes improvements to 420 guest rooms, the main lobby and primary kitchen, which will be completed in stages while the hotel's two towers remain open.
Work on the 14-floor Ilima Tower will be finished several floors at a time, with construction currently being done on the second, third and fourth floors, spokeswoman Lucy Lau said. Work on the tower is expected to be completed by August. Rooms in the 12-floor Maile Tower, which was built in 1995 and has already undergone upgrades, will not be affected, she said. The hotel has 817 rooms.
"The mission is to provide a quality R&R location for our servicemen and women," she said. "We are updating it to look more in the style of what a guest would expect to see in a higher-class hotel."
Renovations also include the main kitchen, which will close for six months starting in January, and the lobby, which will see periodic construction throughout the project. The Bibas and Koko Cafe restaurants will keep their kitchens open during construction, and banquet food preparation will be moved to the hotel's pantry kitchen on the ground floor. The hotel's fine dining Hale Koa Room will close for three months, with the last service on New Year's Eve. All renovations, which started in October, are slated to finish by March 2009.
Up to 100 of the hotel's 960 employees will be affected by the renovations, Lau said. Hale Koa has worked with hotel workers union Unite Here Local 5 and is encouraging long-time employees to take leave time during the construction, she said. Some employees -- primarily kitchen and housekeeping staff -- will be moved to other Hale Koa departments.
The hotel, which also left some positions unfilled after the busy summer months, does not expect to layoff any employees because of the project.
The U.S. Army owns and operates Hale Koa as well as the surrounding Fort DeRussy area. Hale Koa's rates are based on military rank or civilian grade, and are determined during the military's fiscal year, which runs October through September. Lau said rates are not expected to jump as a result of the renovations.
Planning for the Hale Koa renovations began seven years ago, but were put on hold to wait for the completion other Armed Forces Recreation Center property improvements in Germany and Florida, Lau said.
General contractor Kiewit Building Group won the renovation contract. Kiewit has worked on renovation projects the Hale Koa and Kahala Hotel, and is currently building the Trump International Hotel and Tower in a joint venture project with construction firm AC Kobayashi Inc.
In June, Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Hotel will shut down for a seven-month facelift, estimated to cost $110 million, as part of the larger $750 million redevelopment of Sheraton's four Waikiki hotels by Japan-based owner Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts LP. Also, hotel company Outrigger Enterprises Group closed thousands of budget and economy rooms to develop its Waikiki Beach Walk project.