Princess Kaiulani Hotel to Be Razed for New Tower

By Schaefers, Allison | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, February 13, 2019 | Go to article overview

Princess Kaiulani Hotel to Be Razed for New Tower


Schaefers, Allison, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


COURTESY KYO-YA New redevelopment plans for the Princess Kaiulani Hotel call to raze the property and build a new 33-story hotel with approximately 1,009 rooms.

Kyo-ya is gearing up to raze the existing Princess Kaiulani Hotel to construct Waikiki’s first new all-hotel tower in nearly 40 years.

The Waikiki Neighborhood Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a plan from Kyo-ya to develop a new 33-story hotel tower with approximately 1,009 hotel units on the 4.1-acre site where the Princess Kaiulani Hotel has long stood. All existing hotel towers, retail buildings, the parking garage and other structures, some dating back to the 1950s, would be demolished.

The new development also includes an attached six-story podium offering retail, food and beverage, and meeting space. There will be a recreational deck featuring an infinity edge pool, a lazy river, a gym and a pool bar. A courtyard with water features, a garden and a legacy library are part of the design to pay homage to the history of the hotel, which was built where the gateway to Princess Kaiulani’s estate Ainahau once stood. Also, there will be a 695-space parking structure, a bus landing area and an underground delivery zone.

Michael Takayama, Kyo-ya’s director of real estate and development, said the new plan better meets “the needs of the community, Hawaii’s visitor industry and Kyo-ya’s corporate values and philosophy.”

“We’ve been in Hawaii for over 55 years. It’s about doing the right thing. We’re different than the typical hotel ownership group that has a seven-year outlook plan. We don’t have an exit strategy,” Takayama said, adding that the project’s new design significantly increases open space and improves views.

Takayama said the city ruled last month that Kyo-ya did not need to complete a new environmental impact statement. He said Kyo-ya plans to seek permission from the city next month to modify its existing project permits.

If all goes according to plan, Takayama said, Kyo-ya would begin demolition and construction in mid-2022 with an anticipated completion date of 2025.

The future of the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, which was Kyo-ya’s first hotel property in the United States, had been on hold for about a decade as Kyo-ya struggled through ownership changes, a court land-use battle and more recently a protracted hotel strike. …

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