Aqua Hotels & Resorts is Hawaii's first 'employee-owned' hotel

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - About 500 employees at Aqua Hotels & Resorts will get to own a piece of the property.

Mike Paulin, owner & CEO of Aqua Hotels & Resorts, completed the final details of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan that converts Aqua into Hawaii's first "employee-owned" hotel company.

That achievement makes it possible for each employee to own 30% of the company after a fixed vesting period.

"I have no doubt that Aqua's ESOP will attract the best people in the industry to our organization contributing further to our highly regarded service," said Paulin.  "Our ESOP comes at a time when Aqua's excellent customer satisfaction ratings are leading Waikiki hotels.

The value of the initial percentage share of the company is just over $8 million.  Paulin plans to allocate more ownership of Aqua to his employees at a later time.

Three of Aqua hotels rank in the top 10 of the consumer-driven TripAdvisor ratings.   Aqua Waikiki Wave was awarded Hawaii Region #1 'Best Hotel Values for 2008' by Budget Travel Magazine.