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Waikiki hotel transformation underway

When the Ocean Resort Waikiki was sold in December to a joint venture fund, the new owners announced that they would “renovate, reposition and rebrand” the 451-room, twin tower hotel. Now, we know that it will be the first Hyatt Place hotel in Hawaii.

Hyatt says the hotel will be re-branded in the fall of 2011 as the “425 room Hyatt Place Waikiki.” The number of rooms appears to be going down, but the quality of the accommodations is going up. According to the Hyatt press release, “Over the next 18 months, the Ocean Resort Hotel Waikiki will undergo an extensive renovation, including a complete redesign of the lobby, guestrooms and public spaces. During the renovation, guest rooms, located in the hotel’s 14- and 19-story towers, will be reconfigured under Hyatt brand standards.”

The Hyatt Place brand began in 2006; there are now 160 locations in the US, many near airports or convention centers. The Hyatt website says the hotels serve business travelers, families and small corporate meetings. The brand description emphasizes three things: food available 24/7, comfortable rooms and the Gallery, which replaces the lobby. Rather than a check-in desk, the Gallery has a self-service kiosk although guests will be greeted by a host. Rooms will include: “a plush Hyatt Grand Bed, a Cozy Corner oversized sofa-sleeper and a 42-inch flat-panel HDTV that can be easily integrated with your laptop or MP3 player. There’s free Wi-Fi everywhere in the hotel and guests have access to a complimentary e-room with public computers and a printer.”

I’m almost as excited about the free wi-fi as the morning coffee, evening wine and snacks at all hours.

The renovation is being overseen by Kokua Hospitality, which also takes over management of the hotel from Castle Resorts and Hotels. Kokua is a subsidiary of Chartres Lodging Group, one of the new owners along with Morgan Stanley Real Estate. Other properties managed by Kokua include: the Inn of Chicago, The Allerton Hotel, Double Tree Chicago Magnificent Mile and W Aloft Hotel in Maryland.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Jan 25, 2011