Nearly every guest at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach this summer has been dazzled by the newly renovated rooms and oceanfront suites that now feature a blend of contemporary island-style furnishings and décor reflective of the land that surrounds this 530-room beachfront hotel.
By November 2003, every guest will experience this new décor as the last remaining 105 guest rooms on three floors will be fully renovated, marking the completion of the project that began quietly in Sept. 2002. The $15 million room renovation includes all 500 guest rooms, 30 oceanfront suites and public corridors on 15 floors.
Built in 1967, the Outrigger Waikiki is located on the very beach where Hawaiian royalty surfed the waves of Waikiki and taro grew in the marshlands created by the fresh water springs and streams flowing from Manoa Valley. To this day, the Apuakehau Stream runs directly under the hotel and feeds into the ocean in front of the hotel, creating the largest sandy bottom swimming area in Waikiki.
According to General Manager Kimberly Agas, all designs, materials, colors and appointments were carefully selected to reflect the historical and cultural heritage of Waikiki and the hotel property, which is still part of the Queen Emma Foundation.
"Our goal is to embrace the wonderful history of Waikiki by reflecting the original attributes of the land," said Agas, the only Waikiki beachfront hotel general manager of Native Hawaiian ancestry. "We selected artwork, patterns and colors that depict the history and culture of Waikiki and the Hawaiian people. We used cool shades of green and rich natural woods like you'd find in a Hawaiian rainforest to reflect nature's influence and importance."
The taro leaf was adopted by the hotel as a common design theme to retain the historical tie to the hotel's location, which for years produced large quantities of taro, a major dietary staple of the early Hawaiians. Pairs of hand-carved taro leaves adorn the guestroom entry doors.
Renovations to the 500 guest rooms and 30 oceanfront suites began in September 2002 with the replacement of carpeting, wall coverings, fabrics and furnishings with new colors and patterns reflecting the stylish tropical feel for which Hawaii is famous. Fifteen oceanfront rooms were specially outfitted with oversized whirlpool bathtubs offering great ocean views. Tropical wood furnishings are accented with shutters and woven insets.
All 30 suites are appointed with interior accents, such as poi pounders by Oliver Sanchez, hand-carved wood bowls, a variety of framed shell and seed lei, old Hawaiian framed prints and bronze-like replicas of a Hawaiian hula dancer sculpted by Kim Taylor Reece. Hawaiian patterned quilts and an original oil painting by N. Robert Wagstaff reproduced on canvas are framed in koa and used as art in the suites and guestroom corridors. Accents in every room include Hula Girl lamps with woven shades and brass pineapple desk lamps.
Artwork includes historic photos of the hotel's property with the grass shack structures of the original Outrigger Canoe Club and the Waikiki coast of the early 1900s. Other artwork by noted Hawaii artists includes petroglyph prints by Lynn Cook, "A Gift of Lei" and "A Lei Never Forgotten" giclees by Peggy Chun, and limited edition prints by Al Furtado and Garry Reed. Other art includes circa 1940 photos of red ginger from the Kauai Botanical Society. Artwork is framed in bamboo to match the framing of the vanity mirrors, which ties in with woven tissue covers and wastebaskets in the guest bath. Wallcovering of palms in muted tones complete the tropical bath décor.
For reservations or information, call your preferred travel professional or Outrigger Hotels & Resorts toll-free at 1-800-OUTRIGGER within the U.S., Guam and Canada. Elsewhere call 303-369-7777. For online information or reservations, Internet users can log onto www.outrigger.com. Outrigger's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.