Many folks on their Hawaii Vacations , including Elvis, treasured their visits to the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai before hurricane Iniki closed it down in 1992. What was once a world-renowned resort is now falling to ruin. Unless someone steps in.

One of three restaurants at the Coco Palms.

Ocean surf pounds the shore across the highway; the Wailua River flows along the property’s south side. This sacred ground is where kings and queens once lived and warriors defended Kauai’s unconquered status.

While we wait for the two-hour tour to start, a lady reminisces about her stay during the resort’s heyday; a man recounts seeing Elvis in concert and our guide says he and Elvis shared the same doctor.

This piano entertained poolside when hurricane Iniki hit in 1992.

But, there’s a lot more to the Coco Palm story than Elvis. We are captivated as Bob, our guide, conjures images of Kauai’s royalty, battles and ghosts while he shares the island’s royal history. Then, he points out where Johnny Depp shimmied up a coconut tree and where Elvis got married in the 1961 film Blue Hawaii.

Our steps quicken on the way to Elvis’ bungalow, we are eager to stand where he once slept. Roots dangle from the rusted roof like thick octopus legs as baby palm trees spring from the rooftop. Inside the ruined quarters, I feel like I’m standing on hallowed ground, which, I am, given the location’s royal history. Shame colors my face when I admit that it’s Elvis that makes me feel this way.

Walking through the largest coconut grove in the state, we learn about famous guests, their antics and the lengths general manager Grace Buscher Guslander went through to comfort them. In one story, Mitzi Gaynor, star of the 1958 film South Pacific, brought more clothes than the room’s closet could hold. Grace built her a wardrobe

The largest coconut grove in the state of Hawaii.

For the past three months, Bob and Jerri Jasper have been running the Coco Palms tour. Bob knows his movie history and his passion for reviving the Coco Palms is evident. As he and his wife tirelessly manage the dilapidated property, they do what they can to save it from the jungle and thieves. They hope the tours will resurrect interest and bring an investor.

Call 808-346-2048 for reservations.

For a fascinating account of the resort read The Story of the Coco Palms Hotel by David P. Penhallow.

Photos by Daniel Lane..


  1. Aloha!

    Can you please let me know what is the cost of the tours?

    We will be in Kauai in October and I would love to take the tour.


  2. I used to live on Kauai in the early to mid 80's.  I love Kauai and remember passing by the Coco Palms Resort many times.  I would love to photograph it now.  

  3. Is this the same Bob Jasper who lost the Move Tour company on Kauai? Funny that he should call himself the manager of Coco Palms. I never saw him in front of the County Council with Mr. Coco Palms Larry Rivera and current owner/investor Philip Ross. Does Mr. Rivera work for Jasper now?
    Perhaps it would be wise to get more insight to the WHOLE story, eh?

  4. Kaloa,
    Yes Kaloa, seemingly to your dismay, I am the same person who SOLD Movie Tours to Roberts and who was named property manager by Phil Ross and also was at his side at every planning commission meeting. Don’t know who you are but you certainly seem to have an ax to grind.

  5. My wife and I were lucky enough on our honeymoon many years ago to take the original tour WITH Bob as narrator. One funny guy! We took the “Extreme” tour on a later trip. We have been to Kauai several times since – those tours remain high on our best list.

    If Bob is doing the Coco Palms thing, bet it is worth the $.

    I wonder if the catsup stain left by Elvis is still there 🙂

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