MAKAHA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The receptionist at the Makaha Resort still answered the phone, 'it's a great day in Makaha,' which is the usual greeting. But really it's been a tough day as the 95 employees at the resort learned they'll lose their jobs.
In anticipation of the upcoming closure, maintenance crews put up a gate at the front entrance of the resort which had previously been wide open. This as the resort announced it is temporarily closing because of financial reasons.
The last day is October 31. It's unknown when it will reopen.
During the closure the resort plans to renovate the bar, spa, pool and meeting room areas. It will also turn the 172 rooms into 102 timeshare apartments. However the company has not secured the money to do the project yet and all the employees will be out work.
"It's going to be hard but we're going to try and keep our heads up and hope for the best," said Kaui Manners, a housekeeper at the resort who has worked there seven months.
The resort has struggled in the past. The current owners Northwynd Resort Properties, based in Canada, sold off the golf course last Spring. The course is now closed as well undergoing two years of renovations.
Still the Makaha Resort remained a popular spot for locals. State Senator Maile Shimabukuro stayed there just three weeks ago.
"It was really crowded. You go to the pool and there were tons of people," said Sen. Shimabukuro, who represents Makaha, Waianae and Ko'olina. "It's such a great, positive thing for the community to have. It's the only resort on the whole Waianae coast."
Businesses down Makaha Valley Road are also concerned because they say they get between 15 to 25 percent of their business from resort guests.
The resort is also affordable for kamaaina. Tina Martinez has been staying there the past month while her own apartment is being renovated. She planned to stay there into November.
"I know over the year's we've closed, opened, closed, opened but we were hoping this time with the new owners we would stay open. I don't see why it would close even for renovations. Nothing is wrong with any of the units. They all look fine. The unit I'm in is in great shape. I don't see any reason for closing," said Martinez.
The Makaha Resort was also just part of a Groupon special. People paid $262 for a three night stay. That's 45 percent of the original price. It was supposed to expire January 31, 2012. Now the resort says people should contact the vendor where they bought the coupon for a full refund or they can try to use it before October 31.