A 12,500-square-foot resort activity area called the Helumoa Playground opened at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort on December 29. As one development in a series of property enhancements from a $200 million master plan, the $8 million Playground sits between the Sheraton and the soon-to-be-reopened Royal Hawaiian hotel.
Breaking ground on June 14 and constructed on what was once a grassy, outdoor function area between the Sheraton and the Royal, the Playground, which will be run by the Sheraton, offers a family- friendly area for guests of both properties.
Sheraton Waikiki General Manager Kelly Sanders said the hotel’s new activity area will be the only one of its kind for a Waikiki resort.
“By transforming what was simply a grassy area into a ‘superpool’ similar to those like our neighbor island properties, Sheraton Waikiki will offer a family-friendly resort environment unsurpassed by other Waikiki hotels,” said Sanders. “Helumoa Playground is an important piece of our master plan to take the product and service in each area of our operations to a new level, reaffirming Sheraton Waikiki’s position as the hub of activity, vibrancy and entertainment in Waikiki.”
The Playground features two fresh water swimming pools, a 15-foot high by 70-foot long water slide, a staging area for outdoor functions, two large whirlpools with sweeping views of Waikiki Beach, an interactive fountain area for kids, fun and creative food and beverage, 10 cabanas, chaise water sunning benches, and a pool hut where guests can borrow towels and purchase pool goods including sun products, inflatable floatation devices and toys. The Playground also offers the perfect spot for family activities such as lei making, water slide races, hula lessons, story telling and star-gazing.
The two pools took 48 hours to fill with 165,483 gallons of fresh water, which will be treated by a state-of-the-art salt chlorination treatment system – a process that is gentler on the environment than traditional powder or liquid based chlorine pool systems. As a result, the treated water, which has been described as “soft and silky,” allows for a more comfortable swimming experience while minimizing potential drying and irritation to the skin.
Giving the Playground a Hawaiian sense of place is its verdant landscaping, created by Mike Motoda of Walters, Kimura, Motoda, Inc.
The native Hawaiian plant palette features plumeria trees, dwarf lauae ferns, sea grape shrubs, Queen Emma spider lilies, coconut palms, shell ginger plants, native white hibiscus, and many other plants indigenous to the islands.
Helumoa Playground is open daily for guests from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Pool- goers have two options for snacks and refreshments from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Light, healthy fare will be available at RumFire’s Diamond Head terrace area serving soups, salads and sandwiches. In addition, pool- goers can order from their lounge chair to enjoy hearty local-style plate lunches and refreshing shave ice cocktails to cool off from the warm Hawaiian sun.
Sheraton’s event and meeting attendees can use the Playground’s new outdoor function area for events, parties, luaus, incentive gatherings and private functions.
The Playground sits on a historically-rich area called Helumoa, which was so named when a giant rooster named Kaauhelemoa was said to have scratched the ground at the feet of King Kakuhiewa in the 16th century. Kakuhiewa, taking this to be a sign from the gods, planted 10,000 coconut trees in honor of this occurrence, and many of these trees’ descendants still survive to this day in modern day Waikiki.