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Outrigger Reef Renovations Nearly Complete

The completion of a new cultural center and other key renovations at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort brings Outrigger Hospitality Group closer to its goal of investing more than $200 million in Hawai‘i.

Jeff Wagoner, president and CEO of Outrigger Hospitality Group, said the outlook for the company, which owns and/or operates 26 properties in Hawaii and six outside of the state, is optimistic. Read the full article HERE in the Star Advertiser (subscription required) or below.

Wagoner, who joined Outrigger in 2018 after KSL Resorts purchased the chain from the Kelley family, said the company bought three properties in Thailand six months ago and will close on another property outside of Hawaii later this month, while continuing to look for new opportunities in Hawaii and elsewhere. Outrigger also is gearing up for a $50 million renovation at the Ohana East and a $40 million renovation at the Outrigger Kona, he said.

Wagoner said Outrigger’s plans for the Ohana East include moving the fitness center to the pool deck, adding a new restaurant and bringing the lobby down to the first floor. All guest­rooms and corridors also would be redone, he said.

“There’s a lot of design work and permitting. If we start construction at the end of the year, it would be targeted to be completed by the middle of 2023,” he said.

Like the Outrigger Reef renovation, Wagoner said the Ohana East and the Outrigger Kona will focus on their connections to the people and places of Hawaii.

“The Ohana East is right across the street from the Princess Kaiulani Park. We’re looking at how we use that history to focus on the park and that important element of Hawaiian history,” he said.

The Outrigger Kona renovations, which will likely finish before the Ohana East, also will focus on its connections to the land that is the birthplace of King Kamehameha III, and to the manta rays that gather off the coast.

These renovations continue the company’s $35 million investment in the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger, which completed its transformation in May 2019.

Wagoner said the largest project in the company’s planned Hawaii renovations, the Outrigger Reef, is about 90% complete.

The Outrigger Reef makeover marks the first major renovation for the circa-1955 resort since 2009.

Outrigger Reef held a blessing Tuesday to mark the opening of its A‘o Cultural Center and the Herb Kane Lounge. The center, which has doubled in size, connects visitors to Outrigger’s long-standing partnerships with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Friends of Hokule‘a and Hawai‘iloa.

“We’ve always sought to let Hawaii’s host culture be the steward of the guest experience at the Outrigger Reef and we’re happy to strengthen this commitment even further through the new A‘o Cultural Center and the Herb Kane Lounge,” said Marcus Krebs, general manager of the Outrigger Reef, in a statement. “Both the lounge and cultural center are places where all can make meaningful connections to some of the most profound aspects of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance.”

The lounge includes four original Herb Kane paintings and faces the front desk, where a large-scale Kane mural of a traditional sailing canoe hangs.

A mural by artist Kamea Hadar, which depicts children of influential Hawaii figures from the last century, was unveiled Tuesday next to the center.

Other notable art includes a fiber sculpture by Marques Hanalei Marzan, a virtual exhibit of the Hokule‘a by digital artist Kari Keahu Noe, a sustainable sculpture made of discarded fishing nets by Ethan Estess and a 100-year-old outrigger canoe, which was restored by the Friends of Hokule‘a and Hawai‘iloa.

Outrigger Reef also partnered with Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum to curate art pieces to place in guest­rooms and throughout the resort.

A fall completion is expected for other items on the Outrigger Reef’s construction punch list, including renovation of the Diamond Head Tower, Waiola Wellness Wing and Coral Kids Club. The anchor restaurant Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman is expected to open by the end of 2022 in the oceanfront space formerly occupied by Shore Bird.

Renovation of some Outrigger Reef guestrooms already has been completed, along with an overhaul of the lobby, and an expanded Kani Ka Pila Grille with more seating and a new stage for live Hawaiian music.

Wagoner said more retail is also coming to the Outrigger Reef, along with a possible wedding chapel in the space formerly occupied by the Ocean House. Wagoner said Outrigger is talking to Asian operators about the chapel and expects to make progress once they can travel.

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