Maui Brewing Co. is one of two restaurants that will debut at Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger. // © 2018 Outrigger Hotels & Resort
Feature image (above): Designed to feel residential, Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger’s renovated rooms will draw inspiration from the sand and the sea. // © 2018 SFA Design
Clients who stay at the new Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger later this year will find themselves in a setting that channels a blend of timeless and contemporary Hawaii.
Built in 1970, the 496-room hotel — formerly a Holiday Inn — was reflagged Feb. 1. A $25 million renovation of the property is scheduled to start in June and wrap up by late fall, and work will take place floor by floor to minimize any intrusion on guests.
During a preview tour, I learned about the dramatic changes in store for the resort. Here’s what travel agents should know.
A model room offered a firsthand look at the hotel’s bold new direction. The revamped accommodations will feature furnishings and artwork inspired by the ocean and Hawaii’s beaches, where hues of deep teal are offset by sand-colored carpets and splashes of orange.
Behind the bed, a wall-size mural of the sea establishes a calm, relaxing mood, while a hanging light resembles a glass fishing ball. Intricate rope art, carved wood and Hawaiian tapa (barkcloth) designs accentuate the guestroom’s authentic Hawaiian nature. And, instead of standard terrycloth bathrobes, clients will find blue kimono-style wraps to wear during their stay.
The new rooms promise all the expected modern amenities, including a 55-inch flat-screen television with technology that allows guests to stream their own shows and movies.
“For travelers these days, it’s all about connectivity,” said Mike Shaff, vice president of hotel operations for Waikiki and Guam for Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. “Each room will have enough outlets for nine different devices.”
Renovations in the hotel’s public spaces — including the lobby, corridors and elevators — will take their cue from the room decor. And to court business travelers, the property will add a 1,500-square-foot meeting room set just off the lobby.
Fun Food, Great Location
The hotel lays claim to two on-site eateries, and both have been open for one year.
Hawaiian Aroma Cafe is a cheery, locally owned hub that serves homemade food, specialty coffees and eclectic cocktails. The cafe benefits from a convenient location between the lobby and pool, and the pool deck will be upgraded to encourage more sociability, Shaff says.
The other restaurant, Maui Brewing Co., sports an industrial-chic ambiance. Each evening, it draws visitors and locals with its games, live music, craft beer and island-inspired meals.
Outrigger is also touting the hotel’s prime perch on Waikiki’s main thoroughfare of Kalakaua Avenue.
“Waikiki Beachcomber sits in the heart of Waikiki,” Shaff said. “It’s adjacent to the reimagined International Market Place and steps away from the beach. There are no towers on either side of it, so it offers good views and breathing room.”
Shaff predicts that, as a result of the renovation, Waikiki Beachcomber will shift from an upper-midscale offering to an upscale-tier property.
“We’re guessing that with these upgrades, the age range of our guests may drop a little bit,” he said.
For 2018, the hotel is promoting its Beachcomber Experience package, with nightly rates starting from $259. Clients booking the package will receive a $50 daily credit for Maui Brewing Co., complimentary Wi-Fi access, a souvenir tote, a spa upgrade, unlimited trolley rides around Waikiki and Honolulu and free Waikiki Aquarium admission for kids. The package is valid for stays through Dec. 31.