Coco Palms Resort, which closed in 1992 from damage caused by Hurricane Iniki, will reopen in 2018. // © 2016 Agor Architects
Feature image (above): Like the original resort from 1953, the renovated Coco Palms will be embraced by lagoons and palm groves. // © 2016 Agor Architects
The long-awaited revival of Coco Palms Resort is closer to reality, with a projected reopening in the second quarter of 2018.
Located on Kauai’s east side, the iconic hotel has been closed since 1992, after damage from Hurricane Iniki. Demolition of its former structures is now underway, according to Tyler Greene, whose Coco Palms Hui is developing the property at a cost of $135 million.
Plans for the 350-room resort include a main hotel restaurant, grab-and-go food, three swimming pools, 25,000 square feet of meeting space and various wedding venues.
Coco Palms Hui is also renovating Seashell Restaurant across the street. It’s slated to open in 2017 with popular Hawaiian chef Jean-Marie Josselin at the helm.
When it reopens, Coco Palms will be a member of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, known for its distinctive, upscale properties.
Coco Palms made its debut in 1953 on a culturally significant site surrounded by one of Hawaii’s largest coconut groves. In its heyday, it called to VIPs and movie stars as well as regular Kauai visitors, who were attracted to its novel touches such as clamshell sinks in guestroom bathrooms and thatched-roof pavilions. Elvis Presley fans continue to hold Coco Palms dear thanks to its role in the 1961 Presley movie “Blue Hawaii.”
The cultural and historical aspects of the property were what drew Greene and his team to the project in the first place.
“We hope to bring back the spirit, traditions and lessons of the past and the inclusiveness that embodied Coco Palms prior to its closing,” Greene said. “This will be done in a way that engages and excites the younger generations of today so that they, along with older generations, will be able to shape the future of the property.”
While the restored resort will lure a broad range of visitors, Greene says it will have particular appeal to clients seeking a unique Hawaii experience.
“Travelers who will enjoy their stay the most will be those looking to soak up the sense of place provided by the physical location, cultural dynamics, storied past, relaxing vibe and chance to experience some adventure along the way,” he said. “We believe that Coco Palms will once again be the ‘it’ place on Kauai for locals and visitors alike.”