Iconic Hilo Bay hotel no longer closing its doors - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Iconic Hilo Bay hotel no longer closing its doors

(Image Source: Uncle Billy's Hotel) (Image Source: Uncle Billy's Hotel)
HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

BY JAMIE LEE

After more than 50 years in business, Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel was slated to close today, Feb. 1, but now plans have changed.

The hotel's owner, the Kimi family, initially decided to shut down operations on Banyan Drive rather than renew their lease, leaving only their Kona hotel open.

“We have spent more than simply money in attorney’s fees, appraisal evaluations, business plans and, not to mention, keeping an aging property in service beyond its functional capacity; we have exhausted our emotional reserves,” said Aaron Whiting, hotel manager and grandson of founder, William J. Kimi Jr.

“It seemed unimaginable that our little iconic Hawaiian hotel that so reflects the heart and soul of the Hilo community would one day not exist."

On Monday, hotel owners announced they would no longer be closing. A local hotel operator showed interest in keeping the place open, and that's exactly what will happen. Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay Hotel will switch to new management on Feb. 12 and stay open through Merrie Monarch

"In the end, this is all about preserving our employees' jobs and the little bit of old Hawaiiana this property offers the community" said Uncle Billy (William J Kimi, Jr.).

Twenty-seven hotel employees were originally slated to lose their jobs. 

All of the Merrie Monarch reservations made before the change in management will be accommodated. 

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