“If your family is coming to your house, you clean up your home.” That’s how Randy Tanaka, assistant general manager at the Hawaii Convention Center, discusses the many improvements around Oahu, in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, a 20,000-attendee meeting of world leaders and finance ministers held in Hawaii in November.
Specifically, the state spent $7 million renovating the Honolulu International Airport, with much of the money put towards refurbishing the international terminal. It also spent more than $1 million landscaping and beautifying the highway that runs from the airport to the Waikiki Beach area.
A number of Honolulu hotels are also showing off recent renovations. The 1,637-room Sheraton Waikiki, the host hotel for the APEC CEO Summit, completed a $200 million, top-to-bottom renovation earlier this year. Many of the improvements were to the hotel’s 45,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 26,000-square-foot Hawaii Ballroom, where the APEC CEO Summit convened. “The renovations transformed this property from a leisure to a business property,” said hotel general manager Kelly Sanders.
At the Royal Hawaiian, a Starwood Luxury Collection resort, $70 million was spent to update all 529 rooms, restaurants, common areas, and 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The property also received technology upgrades throughout.
The 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hawaii’s largest hotel, is nearing completion on a $45 million renovation of guest rooms and common areas in the 800-room Rainbow Tower. Overall, the hotel has 150,000 square feet of meeting space, including three conference centers—the Mid-Pacific Conference Center, the Tapa Conference Center, and the Kalia Executive Conference Center. The 27,000-square-foot Coral Ballroom is the largest in Hawaii.
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort just underwent a $13 million makeover that includes two new restaurants, Shor American Seafood Grill and Japengo. It also got a new poolside bar, an upgraded pool deck, and the oceanfront Regency Club lounge. The hotel has 1,229 rooms and 19,000 square feet of meeting space.
The J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina, which hosted world leaders from 21 APEC countries at the APEC Leaders meeting on November 13, including President Barack Obama, completed an $18 million renovation in June. The property’s 387-guest rooms were refurbished in sea blue and sand colors to reflect the ocean views that come with 85 percent of the rooms. In addition, wi-fi was made available in all guest and meeting rooms. The hotel has 77,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the 15,600-square-foot Hokulani Ballroom.
Right next door to the J.W. Marriott, the Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, opened in August. The new resort offers 840 rooms, suites, and villas, along with a 14,000-square-foot conference center and 50,000 square feet of ballroom/meeting space and outdoor event lawns. The event lawns are available for opening and closing galas, entertainment functions, and other special events. The beach itself is also available for private functions. The resort’s lagoon setting features a white sand beach, multiple water gardens, and a pool complex. Water-based options include water slides, a watercourse with a tube ride, and a saltwater snorkeling lagoon filled with native Hawaiian fish.