Thursday, January 21, 1999

Big Island hotel
set to close for

The Royal Waikoloan will
shut down for 5 months and
reopen with a new name

By Russ Lynch


Outrigger Hotels & Resorts plans to close the Royal Waikoloan Hotel for five months this year and spend $23 million on reconstruction and renovation work.

The 545-room Big Island hotel will reopen with a new name, Outrigger Waikoloa Beach, and a new look as a deluxe full-service resort, the company said today.

Most of the hotel's 400 employees will be laid off temporarily when the hotel closes June 1 but will be able to get their jobs back when it reopens in October, said Nancy Daniels, Outrigger's public relations manager.

About 50 will be kept on through the reconstruction work, in activities such as security and sales, Daniels said. Some may be hired by contractors. All of them will keep their medical coverage.

Because it will be a higher class of hotel when it reopens there will be more services and that will mean hiring more workers, she said.

Outrigger's parent Outrigger Enterprises Inc. announced in September it was buying the hotel, for an undisclosed price, and was planning renovations but the decision had not been made then to close it.

"After reviewing the project, we felt that the scope of the work would have been a tremendous inconvenience to guests," the hotel's new general manager, Robin Graf said in a statement.

The hotel will get a new entranceway and lobby as well as a new restaurant, lounge and meeting rooms. The pool and sundeck will be expanded and rebuilt, the ballroom and guest rooms will be renovated and there will be upgrades in the kitchens and other facilities, Outrigger said.

Outrigger has managed the hotel since it bought a minority interest in 1991.

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