Last updated: 04:54 PM ET, Thu June 11 2015

Hawaii: Rooms for Growth

New properties across the brand spectrum are set to open in the Hawaiian Islands

Vacation Agent | Destination & Tourism | Ryan Rudnansky

Hawaii: Rooms for Growth

PHOTO: The coastline of fast-growing West Oahu, which is attracting new hotel construction.(Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority)

A lot of destinations would like to have Hawaii’s “problem.” That is, hotel occupancy is so high that it’s hard to accommodate the demand. A recent report by Hospitality Advisors LLC and STR Inc. highlights the Hawaiian Islands’ occupancy numbers. For the week of April 26-May 2, statewide occupancy was 71.2 percent. While this was 2.4 percent lower than the same week last year, it was still a highly favorable compared to the United States overall average over the same week, 67 percent.

During the week, Oahu occupancy was 74.4 percent, while Maui was 71.8 percent. Kauai (69.8 percent) and Hawaii Island (59.1 percent) followed.

In turn, average daily rate (ADR) for the Hawaiian Islands is naturally higher than the U.S. average. Maui ($285.30), Kauai ($244.76), Oahu ($205.42) and Hawaii Island ($204.90) all had much higher rates than the U.S. average of $120.16 for the week of April 26-May 2. This is despite ADR for the U.S. hotel industry as a whole increasing by 3.6 percent, compared to the same week last year.

With numbers like those, it’s not surprising that new hotels are under construction throughout Hawaii, from full-service, upscale hotels to mid-market and limited-service properties. Brands from Marriott and Hilton lead the charge in major islands Oahu, highlighted by fast-growing West Oahu; Maui, and Kauai, as they seek to accommodate the growth in leisure and business travel.

Here’s a look at upcoming hotels, and what they will offer, so that you can prepare for the next wave of Hawaiian hospitality.

Residence Inn by Marriott
The Residence Inn by Marriott brand is planning to open new properties in Kapolei, Oahu and Wailea, Maui.

California developer R.D. Olson Development plans to construct a 150-room Marriott Residence Inn on the 3.5-acre space at the corner of Kapolei Parkway and Kealakapu Road near the Kapolei Judiciary Complex. This would be the first limited-service hotel in the West Oahu area.

R.D. Olson also developed Maui’s first Courtyard by Marriott hotel near the Kahului Airport and is set to build a 200-room Residence Inn in Wailea.

According to R.D Olson’s website, the Residence Inn by Marriott, on 6.4 acres at Wailea Ike Drive and Wailea Ekolu Place, will include a breakfast area, market, exercise room, 1,800 square feet of meeting space, a “resort-style” pool and spa, outdoor sports court and a barbeque area.

Hampton Inn & Suites
A 175-room Hampton Inn & Suites, Hawaii’s first Hampton, is scheduled to open by late 2016 when the first phase of the 1.4 million-square-foot Ka Makana Alii West Oahu regional shopping mall opens.

“Hawaii has been a part of Hilton Worldwide’s history since the 1960s with the opening of the first Hilton Hawaiian Village tower,” said Bill Fortier, senior vice president, development-Americas, Hilton Worldwide. Given that Hawaii is “one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations,” he added, “it is only fitting to expand Hampton Hotels to Hawaii, bringing a successful mid-priced product to the market.”

West Oahu,the fastest growing area in the state of Hawaii, attracts 7 million visitors annually, according to DeBartolo Development, which is building Ka Makana Alii.

The addition of the Hampton Inn & Suites to Ka Makana Alii, said Edward Kobel, the developer’s president and chief operating officer, “will make it easier for kamaaina and visitors alike to enjoy all the area has to offer, including the extensive shopping, dining and entertainment options at Ka Makana Alii.”

Hampton Inns traces back three decades, primarily featuring limited-service properties at lower rates. Hawaii will become the last state in the United States to open a Hampton property.

The first phase of Ka Makana Alii will include 750,000 square feet of retail, dining, entertainment and hotel space.

Hilton Garden Inns
A couple of Hilton Garden Inns are slated to open in early 2016.

The former Ohana Waikiki West hotel will be renovated and reopen as a Hilton Garden Inn in early 2016 under the management of Evolution Hospitality.

The public spaces and guestrooms will be completely redone. The hotel will feature 623 rooms, a break from traditional Hilton Garden Inns, which generally have fewer rooms, Adrian Kurre, global head of Hilton Garden Inn, told Vacation Agent.

It will focus on the five key pillars of the Hilton Garden Inn brand: deep sleep, work smart, treat yourself, eat well and stay fit.

Kurre said the hotel’s food and beverage options will be adapted to fit the location. That includes a three-meal, all-day-dining restaurant targeted to the mid-price traveler who desires cooked-to-order and grab-and-go selections.

Kurre expects that the property’s main clientele will be leisure travelers, but he said the Hilton Garden Inn in Waikiki will be focused on listening to the local hotel owners and guests and adapting to their needs, whatever they may be.

The hotel will likely be the first Hilton Garden Inn in Hawaii, Kurre said, depending on when another property is introduced in Kauai.

In addition to the Waikiki hotel, the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel will undergo a renovation and reopen as a Hilton Garden Inn Kauai/Wailua Bay in early 2016.

The 216-room beachfront property sits next to Kauai’s Wailua River on one of the island’s top beaches, surrounded by rainforest, cliffs, waterfalls and more, an ideal location for adventure travelers who want to hike, swim, snorkel and zip-line.

The hotel will be completely transformed, from the guestrooms and lobby to the meeting space and exterior façade. The rooms will include Hilton Garden Inn signature features, such as Garden Sleep System beds, free Wi-Fi, ergonomic desk chairs, LCD flat-screen TVs, a “hospitality center” that includes a mini-refrigerator and Keurig coffee brewers.

On top of that, there will be a 24-hour business center with printing services, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor pool and approximately 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.

In terms of food and beverage, the Garden Grille and Bar will offer a full cooked-to-order breakfast and dinner, cocktails and evening room service. The Pavilion Pantry will be open 24 hours and feature snacks, sweet treats, cold beverages, and frozen, microwaveable packaged items.

The hotel will be managed by Aston Hotels & Resorts under the ownership of California’s DiNapoli Capital Partners. “Hilton Garden Inn is the ideal mid-market brand for developers and consumers alike, and we look forward to bringing the brand to life in Kauai, a key market with potential for development,” said Bill Fortier, senior vice president of development of the Americas for Hilton Worldwide.

”We’re thrilled to be partnering with Hilton Worldwide to become the only Hilton branded hotel on the beautiful Garden Island of Kauai,” added Heather Turner, managing director of DiNapoli Capital Partners. “Once our extensive renovation of the entire hotel is completed, we believe that the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai/Wailua Bay will offer guests a fantastic experience through a high-quality hotel product, wonderful service, great Kauai location and a beautiful setting with spectacular ocean views.”

Kurre, who started with Hilton Garden Inn 18 years ago when it had just four properties on the Mainland, said he’s excited to finally find the right fits in Hawaii.

Embassy Suites by Hilton
Embassy Suites by Hilton plans to open its second hotel in Hawaii in Kapolei, West Oahu. The seven-story, 180-room hotel will include a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and meeting space. That’s in addition to the standard Embassy Suites amenities, including free cooked-to-order breakfasts, a nightly two-hour reception with drinks and snacks, and a complimentary business and fitness center. All accommodations are two-room suites.

The hotel will be located on Manawai Street between Kapolei Parkway and Kamaaha Avenue on a two-acre spread within Kisco Senior Living’s 40-acre Ilima at Leihano project, which has been undergoing improvements for the past eight years. The project is a mixed-use development for residential and commercial guests.

This is the third hotel planned for West Oahu, joining the aforementioned 175-room Hampton Inn & Suites property in DeBartolo Development’s Ka Makana Alii shopping mall and the 150-room Marriott Residence Inn in Kapolei.

The full-service, upscale Embassy Suites by Hilton is expected to be a good fit between Waikiki and Ko Olina, helping to add more than 500 rooms to the area beyond Ko Olina Resort. Embassy Suites also features a property within the Waikiki Beach Walk.

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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the June 2015 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.