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Residence Inn Oahu Kapolei averaged 75% occupancy during its first month of operation in November 2019. It sold out over the holidays, and it was 98% full in January.
Those are impressive numbers for a west Oahu hotel that’s 25 miles from Waikiki, the island’s traditional tourist hub.
So, what’s its recipe for success?
Ironically, the hotel’s location has been a huge selling point, says Brian Hunnings, general manager for Residence Inn Kapolei.
“We attract clients who are tired of staying in Waikiki,” Hunnings said. “That’s one of many reasons we’ve been getting so much buzz.”
An Appealing AddressThe all-suite hotel bills itself as a logical headquarters for clients eager to explore the celebrated attractions of Oahu’s North Shore. For instance, the shops and eateries of Haleiwa town are just a 35-minute drive away.
The hotel is close to such visitor draws as Wet ’n' Wild Water Park, Coral Crater Adventure Park and Paradise Cove Luau. And, while it’s not beachfront, the property is a two-minute drive from Nimitz Beach and five to 15 minutes away from several other beaches.
Meanwhile, it takes 10 minutes to travel from Residence Inn Kapolei to Ko Olina Resort, which is home to restaurants, a golf club and two upscale hotels (Four Seasons Resort Oahu and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa).
Residence Inn’s moderate rates are luring clients, as well. At press time, rooms began at $245 per night with no resort fee (although there’s a $25 nightly parking fee), compared to $500 at Aulani and $870 at Four Seasons.
As Hunnings puts it: “We’re the more affordable version of Ko Olina.”
Championing Oahu’s Second CityKapolei, considered Oahu’s “second city” after Honolulu, has come into its own in recent decades, primarily due to an influx of island residents and businesses.
Lately, however, Kapolei has introduced hotels, starting with Hampton Inn & Suites in 2016 and Embassy Suites by Hilton in 2017. There are plans for two more property openings in the next 10 years.
Residence Inn Kapolei’s employees come from west Oahu, which adds to its allure, Hunnings says.
“Our staff is made up of good people who know the area and can share their inside tips with guests,” Hunnings said. “They’re hand-selected, so they’re the best of the best.”
“We’re giving visitors a chance to stay where the locals live,” he added.
Part Condo, Part Hotel Pitched as a condominium product with a resort feel, Residence Inn Kapolei is courting a range of clients, including families, traveling professionals and brand loyalists.
Its lobby features seating and relaxation areas — Hunnings called them “dens” — where guests can hang out together and maybe play one of the provided board games.
Its 183 suites boast vaulted ceilings (creating a sense of space), fold-out sofas and swivel televisions with Bluetooth streaming. Accommodations have kitchens, a benefit for clients who don’t want to eat out all the time.
“Foodland and Costco are nearby, so our guests can make their own meals,” Hunnings said. “We’ll even go shopping for them, if they’d like.”
Included in the rate is a daily breakfast buffet that presents different dishes each morning. The hotel’s restaurant serves an all-day menu of American fare, and kids eat free.
The bar’s nightly happy hour comes with discounts on drinks and food, and there’s free evening live entertainment Thursday through Sunday.
“We try to keep the hotel fresh and lively for guests, since we generally get clients who stay more than just a few nights,” Hunnings said.
Perks AplentyThe hotel’s most popular spot for guests is its outdoor pool area with barbecue grills and a fire pit, Hunnings says. It’s a space that’s positioned to bask in sunshine 90% of the day while offering sunset views each evening.
Other amenities include a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and a laundry room, which is attractive to families and extended-stay guests.
Ultimately, Hunnings and his team want to promote Kapolei as its own destination.
“We take a lot of pride in this hotel,” Hunnings said. “It’s a building, but our people are the soul. It’s like a family here, and our guests feel the difference.”
The DetailsResidence Inn Oahu Kapoleiwww.marriott.com