Ilikai set to reopen - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ilikai set to reopen

Ben Rafter Ben Rafter

By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - After being closed for two weeks, the Ilikai is set to reopen tomorrow.

And workers are gearing up for a new beginning.

The scene of the hotel in the opening of "Hawaii Five-0" is what made it world famous. And the Ilikai is looking into the past as it heads into the future.

"We're looking to restore that traditional Hawaiian classic feel. It was one of the first iconic landmarks in Waikiki and we're gonna restore that landmark status," said Ben Rafter, chief executive officer of Aqua Hotels and Resorts, which is providing support services to manage the Ilikai.

He says guests can expect the same great customer service. But for now, the lobby sits empty, since workers don't return until noon on Friday.

"We're excited, I know the employees are excited. It's good to reopen the Ilikai," said Rafter.

The Ilikai was losing money and its new owners, iStar Financial, decided to close the landmark Waikiki hotel earlier this month. Union members and iStar reached an agreement on a new contract, rehiring most of the hotel's workers by seniority.

With the reopening, guests can expect discounted rates, with some rooms under $100. The Ilikai hopes to attract new guests, along with familiar faces as it gets ready to reembark on a new era.

"I wouldn't say this is a short term thing, it's a long term thing, and this is an icon here in Waikiki and so we're looking years into the future," said Rafter.

The Ilikai will have an official, re-grand opening in six to eight weeks.

It'll include a Hawaiian blessing and more discounted rates for guests.

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