31 Aug The Beloved Queen Kapi’olani Hotel
After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.
She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.
The Beloved Queen Kapi’olani Hotel
BY JILL WEINLEIN
On the island of Oahu, a hotel named after Hawaii’s beloved Queen Kapi’olani was built in the mid-1960s. It was one of the first modernistic properties in the Waikiki area. Located across Waikiki Beach, Kapiolani Park, and Honolulu Zoo, the 19 story, 315 room hotel starting losing her luster years ago.
ProspectHill Group and Hawaii hotel executive Patrick Fitzgerald saw her potential and acquired the property. After investing $35 million dollars to renovate the hotel, the Queen Kapi’olani is celebrating a debut of her new modern amenities. With the help of Hawaiian designer Mary Philpotts of Philpotts Interiors, the interior of the hotel features Hawaiian colors, local art, comfortable furniture and engaging public spaces.
The owners are honoring the rich history of the Hawaii’s most beloved royal with an art gallery on the second floor featuring portraits of Queen Kapi’olani, along with King Kalakaua and other Hawaiian ali’i and dignitaries.
The Queen’s motto was “Strive for the Highest” and she did this by establishing the Kapiolani Home for Girls and the Kapiolani Maternity Home in the late 1800s. Her lasting legacy is The Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children. This deep commitment to health, education, and well-being of the Hawaiian people lives on, as the hotel staff provides enrichment opportunities to guests.
Meeting Joy Shinobu Tomita, the Director of Sales and Marketing at the onsite Knot’s Coffee Roaster for a Plantation ice tea and Mai Tais on tap, she showed me how the hotel provides memorable experiences.
Touring the large open-air lobby that fronts Kapiolani Park, the reception and corridors have Waikiki’s Golden Age classic posters featuring “the Good Old Days of Waikiki.” Each floor is decorated in vintage airline and cruise ship artwork. The hotel is helping local artists Mike Field, Nick Cutter and Katie Borden by commissioning them and displaying their wall-sized pieces.
Educational experiences include surf lessons by instructors from the onsite Hans Hedemann Surf School. In the afternoon the staff offers Hawaiian Coffee tastings at Knot’s Coffee Bar, and visits to the nearby Farmers Market (on certain days) for guests to learn about Hawaiian flowers and produce.
After a day of sightseeing or beach time, guests can enjoy the 8,000-square-foot third-floor lanai perched above Kapiolani Park overlooking Waikiki’s best view of Diamond Head. This area has a sparkling new pool, lounge area and Honolulu’s most sought-after talent in the Hawaiian music scene. Guests can listen to contemporary music while sipping poolside cocktails and enjoying a variety of pupu’s at DECK, a sleek and chic al fresco restaurant offering Modern American cuisine with a slight Hawaiian flair.
After my tour, I entered my room #1816, and admired the wall of windows looking out to the Pacific Ocean. This light and bright one bedroom suite has two bathrooms, a kitchenette, and large outdoor lanai overlooking Waikiki Beach to Diamond Head. I also had a bird’s eye view of the flamingo pond, elephant habitat and beautiful Hawaiian flowering trees while standing on the lanai and looking down at the Honolulu Zoo across the street.
As part of the rebranding and renovations scheduled to be completed by September 2018, the hotel has identified KoKua Hawai’i Foundation as its Community non-profit beneficiary. Established by Jack & Kim Johnson, the foundation provides educational experiences to Hawaii’s youth to better understand the sustainability and how to be good stewards of the land. Guests can contribute $1 per day of their stay to support the environmental education programs in the local schools and communities.
For reservations to stay at the Queen Kapi’olani call (808)922-1941 or go to – https://www.queenkapiolani.com.