Tsunami Temporarily Closes Two Resorts

Two resorts on Hawaii’s Big Island bore the brunt of the wave, and both are closed as a result. By: Marty Wentzel
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai employees pitch in to clean up the property. // © 2011 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai employees pitch in to clean up the property. // © 2011 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

When the tsunami generated by the deadly Japanese earthquake reached Hawaii’s shores, the visitor industry infrastructure fared pretty well. There were no deaths or serious injuries reported and all airports are open and operating normally.

But two resorts on Hawaii’s Big Island bore the brunt of the wave, and both are currently closed as a result.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai will be closed for six weeks, with a scheduled reopening date of April 30, 2011. The storm surge brought water, sand and debris onto the grounds, mainly affecting pool areas, landscaping, a restaurant and 12 guest rooms and suites. Resort staff has been instrumental in the early clean-up efforts and will remain so throughout the restoration.   

“We had planned on opening the resort earlier, however upon further inspection and damage assessment, we determined it best to sustain the closure until April 30, in order to limit impact on the guest experience,” says Robert Whitfield, general manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. “While there is no significant structural damage, we are well aware of what our guests desire and our need to provide that experience at the highest level possible.”

Meanwhile, at press time, the 45-year-old Kona Village Resort was closed indefinitely. According to local reports, the tsunami knocked some of the classic thatched-roof accommodations off their foundation, while others were badly damaged. The resort’s gas and electrical infrastructure, restaurants, ponds and landscaping suffered from the wave as well.

“They are still assessing the damages,” said Kona Village spokesperson Karin Joret. “We hope to know more soon.”
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