It takes a lot to invest millions into any project at any time, much less during a recession. But the team at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel knew that the time was right for the iconic hotel to get a much-deserved “face-lift,” and began the initial planning in late 2007. With plans in hand by 2008, the project began. Today marks the completion of a two-year, $35 million renovation – the largest, most expensive, comprehensive enhancement undertaking in the hotel’s 35 years of operation.
While a portion of time/investment went into things not readily visible (internal systems upgrades – fire, safety, energy-efficiency, plumbing, etc.), improvements to the things you can see are quite impressive. All 452 rooms, including five oceanfront one-bedroom suites, have been completely re-done. Everything is brand new. Contemporary in feel, island in vibe, soft good patterns mirror nostalgic Kona – with burnt red, brown, and celadon green hues and coffee motifs to celebrate Kona’s coffee history. Hardwood furnishings are enhanced with embossed Polynesian tattoo patterns. And subtle hints of the colors and texture of lava complement the overall design. Spacious bathrooms have brand new bathtubs, sinks, furniture and fixtures. New in-room amenities include Bath & Body Works® bath products, iron/ironing board, flat screen television, complimentary coffee (and coffee makers), complimentary wireless Internet, and new mini refrigerators.
A brand new lobby and reception desk await guests, as does a new infinity-edged pool with Billfish Bar, lava-rock whirlpool, renovated dining room, and a selection of new retail shops.
Nestled at Kamakahonu Bay, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel sits adjacent to Ahu’ena Heiau, Kamehameha the Great’s personal and final residence, and the center of political power in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Kamehameha used this site as a gathering place for his kāhuna (priests) and advisors to counsel and guide both he and his successor, Kamehameha II (Liholiho).
Sitting in such close proximity to an important cultural/historic site comes with much honor, respect, and responsibility. Ahu’ena Heiau, a National Historic Landmark, was last restored in 1999. Toward the end of 2008, Ahu’ena Heiau Inc. began a project to restore the roof of Hale Mana, one of the buildings at Kamakahonu. The completion of this project is slated for the end of May.
Several original portrait paintings of Hawaiian royalty that have graced the lobby of the hotel for decades, a treasured feather cape ahu’ula, feathered helmet mahi’ole, feather lei, war weapons, and lei niho palaoa (whale or walrus tooth necklace, usually made with human hair and worn only by royalty) are being restored as well. And, an original oil by notable Historian/Artist Herb Kawainui Kane that depicts Kamehameha I, his family, and advisors at Kamakahonu, is being restored by the artist himself.
Today, the grounds of Kamakahonu are still regarded as a gathering place – for meetings, planning sessions, training, events, luncheons, weddings, reunions, concerts, and more. Four meeting rooms located within the hotel have been fully refurbished to accommodate modern-day gathering needs.
“A resort renaissance has happened at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, and it’s time for rediscovery. Our repeat visitors are overwhelmed with the changes. We have received tons of positive ‘WOW’ comments,” says Jak Hu, the hotel’s general manager. “The renovations have not only generated a lot of excitement from our guests, but they have had an incredible impact on our employees. This transformation is the start of a new beginning for our hotel and has restored a new sense of pride in our staff.”
“Pacifica Hotel Company has a history of purchasing hotels, renovating them, and bringing them back to life. The owners view King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel as a wonderful asset with a great location of historical and cultural significance,” added Hu.
E hele mai … come, rediscover King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Special introductory rates and promotions are being offered celebrate the project’s completion. For more information or to enter your name in a three-night stay giveaway, visit www.konabeachhotel.com, or find us on Facebook®.