Historic Volcano House Gets New Lease On Life

Aqua will manage the historic Hawaii Island lodge
Historic Volcano House // (c) 2012 National Park Service
Historic Volcano House // (c) 2012 National Park Service

The Details

Aqua Hotels and Resorts

Aqua Hotels and Resorts announced that its affiliate, Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company, was recently selected by the National Park Service (NPS) as the 15-year concession contract operator for the historic Volcano House hotel.

Volcano House enjoys a unique location on the edge of Halemaumau Crater within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The current Volcano House dates back to 1941 but the original Volcano House was built in 1846.

Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company is a partnership that unites Aqua and Ortega National Parks, an operator of NPS concession contracts.

"We are extremely excited about this rare UNESCO World Heritage Site management opportunity," said Ben Rafter, Aqua's president. "It's been a long three years since we started actively following the Volcano House operations with the government. The Volcano House and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park represent many things Aqua and Ortega believe in: tradition deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture, concessions that will source almost all products locally, historic buildings representing a vital piece of Hawaii's tourism history and partnership with the NPS, one of America's greatest achievements."

The Volcano House announcement has been anticipated since December 2009, when the last contract expired. NPS has invested over $4 million in safety enhancements such as seismic retrofitting and fire suppression systems at Volcano House, which has been closed for over two years.

"We are also investing an additional $2.5-$3 million into renovations and refurbishments," said Tanya Ortega of Ortega Family Enterprises. "This is a special place and our goal is to bring the dignity and grace back to this iconic hotel. Staying at the Volcano House should be a memorable and special experience. It's a place worthy of celebrating special occasions and we will make it that way again."

Campgrounds and other smaller areas within the park are also part of the contract and are being addressed with similar focus.

The renovation start date hasn't been determined, but it will take approximately eight months to complete. The current plan calls for the Volcano House to be partially open during the process.

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