Other Places, Other Builders
South of Rockefeller's Mauna Kea, California Oil Millionaire John M. Jackson is opening Kona Village in September, which will consist of 130 cottages spread around a lagoon, each decorated and designed in Malayan, Fijian, Samoan or Tahitian style. Public facilities will be housed in an authentic long house built over the ruins of an old meeting house. Because a tortuous, seven-mile trail is all that connects the village with public highways and commercial airports, guests will have to be ferried in by private plane or boat.
All of the outer islands, which ten years ago had only one hotel room for every four on Waikiki Beach, are bustling. On Kauai, the Sheraton Corp. of America is about to start spadework on a 200-room luxury hotel, and the foundations were recently begun for the 250-room Royale Gardens Hotel that will look out over the island's east coast. On Maui, the first 160 rooms of Kaanapali Hotel recently opened. Eventually, the hotel will cost $60 million and provide 2,500 rooms, three 18-hole golf courses, a shopping center and convention facilities. Kapalua Beach north of Kaanapali is slated for four new 200-to 400-room resort hotels, one to be built by Hilton.
Oahu developers are not sitting on their lanais. Five miles east of Waikiki, the Hilton chain two winters ago opened a ten-story, 300-room monument to the American tourist. From its 2,500-lb. crystal chandelier in the lobby to its cabana-rimmed oval swimming pool (60 ft. from the ocean), it is a midsummer night's dream of opulence. Higher-priced suites feature divided his and hers bathrooms, hers sporting an oversized bathtub, his a stall shower. Outside, porpoises frolic in a large garden pool shaded by trellises loaded down with bougainvillaea. As a finishing touch, the Kahala Hilton has opened its own heliport, which cuts the hops to Honolulu's airport from 40 to ten minutes.
Equally lavish is the new 30-story Ilikai Hotel, which looms over Waikiki Beach. This towering, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious structure (Julie Andrews is now in residence) was built by Hawaiian Tycoon Chinn Ho and is described by him as having "more aloha per cubic foot than any other hotel in the world." It houses 509 condominium apartments and 506 hotel rooms, each of which commands a matchless view of Diamond Head or Koolau Range, and has its own kitchenette, complete with refrigerator, toaster and coffee maker.
Guests can come and go to their rooms via a glass-walled elevator suspended outside the building or sit by a musical fountain whose waters dance and change colors in harmony with piped-in music. Next project on Ho's agenda is a 5,000-acre development along the northwestern Makaha Beach (famed for its 30-ft. surfing waves). When finished, it will comprise 4,000 hotel rooms, 5,000 homes and a 36-hole golf course.
If the tourist estimates hold up and the new resorts pay off, thousands of Hawaiians will find themselves with a lot of cash on their hands. What will they do with it? Probably spend their vacation in Tokyo or New York City, just to get away from it all.