Waikiki hotel closes and takes guests money - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waikiki hotel closes and takes guests money

Cyril Pollock Cyril Pollock
Bob Walsh Bob Walsh

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaiiana Hotel opened in 1955. Some of the guests say they have been staying there every winter since the 1970's. Not only are they losing a place they called their second home but some are also losing their money.

The hotel is made up of four separate buildings owned by three different groups. The main hotel building has 32 rooms. It just sold to a new owner on Monday who plans to turn it into apartments. Two other buildings are already operating as student housing and will not be affected. The fourth is owned by a private businessman who hasn't firmed up plans yet.

Meanwhile the manager for Hawaiiana Hotel says the company is bankrupt and lost its lease and is closing hotel operations. It had been asking guests to pay in advance. Now it won't be able to pay them back. Cyril Pollock says he's out more than $2,600.

"I paid for late January and early February for three weeks which is gone as far as I'm concerned," said Pollock, who is visiting from Bowser, Canada. "You can't get money out of a stone."

The Hawaiiana is a low rise hotel in the shadows of the new Trump Tower high rise. Guests liked it because they could stay for several weeks over the winter for a reasonable rate. If they want to stay for the rest of their vacation they have to pay an additional $45 a day on top of what they paid in advance.

"I guess we're losing paradise," said Bob Walsh, who is visiting from Squamish, Canada, and fears other hotels won't have the same feel as the Hawaiiana. "If you go to a high rise you'll never see the same people two days in a row by the pool. That's the beauty of this place. You see everybody every day when you're here."

The hotel also has about 14 employees who keep showing up for work not knowing if they'll even get paid. It was that kind of service that kept people coming back year after year, but it's not enough to keep it open from here on out.

Crews with the new ownership group are already making changes. They could start renting out the rooms as apartments as early as next week.

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