Two developments should make it easier to stay outside Waikiki on an Hawaii vacation, but not real soon.

One is a new hotel in Laie, near the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). Plans for the hotel have moved a step forward with city council approval of a special use permit. The new hotel replaces the old Laie Inn, which was built in 1964 and torn down two years ago. It will be much larger than the old inn, which had only 48 rooms. The new Courtyard by Marriott will have 220-rooms (according to the current plans) along with a restaurant, pool and retail space. Since the new hotel is so much larger than the old one, plans call for the adjacent McDonalds and gas station to be relocated.

Opponents do not want such a large hotel in such a small town, and fear an increase in traffic on the two-lane highway that runs along the Oahu shore in that area. Developers say the hotel will not only accommodate visitors to the PCC, but also friends and relatives of residents and students at nearby Brigham Young University-Hawaii. The new hotel, the PCC and BYU-H are all owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Plans for additional hotel rooms at Turtle Bay Resort have recently been modified in response to community protests. Originally, a redevelopment plan called for five new hotels with 3,500 rooms and condos. Recently, owners reduced the number of units to 2,235 which is still more than many who live in the area would like to see. New owners of the resort met with development opponents in March to try to move the project forward. It is likely that some sort of expansion will eventually be approved for the resort area but plans may be further reduced.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I think because we're a growing island, development is unavoidable. I have always been a strong believer in "Keeping the Country, Country," as many of us see on stickers and T-shirts, so I'm somewhat on the fence here. I love everything about the North Shore that is NOT Waikiki. But at the same time, development would really boost our economy. So there are pluses and minuses here. We're even seeing development on the east side in Kailua, with Target and Whole Foods coming up. I know architecturally, Whole Foods is trying to make their building more culturally-sensitive, but then again, these huge corporate places just don't belong in Kailua. This makes me wonder what O'ahu will look like 20 years from now! Eek!

  2. It's always exciting to see new hotels being constructed because most of the resorts in Hawaii were built in the 70s. Instead of rebuilding new hotels owners have opted for renovating over and over again. Hotel rooms in Hawaii pretty much all look the same. Having more inventory on the North Shore outside of Waikiki certainly has an appeal.
    All of this great for tourism, however, I question whether or not this is really the right time. I have heard that building this project will increase the land value around the area which will be disruptive to local residents who won't be able to afford rent increases leaving them homeless. I think there should be a solution or at least a dialog about how to make sure developments like this don't impact long time North Shore Ohana.
     

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