Hawaii’s Royal Kona Resort to reopen after 7-month closure

Hawaii’s Royal Kona Resort to reopen after 7-month closure
Royal Kona Resort (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — The Royal Kona Resort on Hawaii island plans to reopen to guests following a seven-month closure amid the coronavirus pandemic and a multi-million dollar renovation.

The three-tower resort overlooking Kailua Bay on the western side of the Big Island expects to open Thursday, West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday.

The Royal Kona is the only property in the area expected to reopen on the same day the state launches a program enabling travelers to avoid a 14-day quarantine by taking COVID-19 tests before arriving in Hawaii.

Since the implementation of the quarantine mandated by Democratic Gov. David Ige in March, visitor arrivals to the Big Island have dropped 97% and hotel occupancy has hovered at around 30%, the newspaper reported.

Royal Kona Resort General Manager Jay Rubenstein said there have been “quite a few” reservations already at the 428-room property owned by Honolulu-based Hogan Hospitality Group.

“Hell or high water, we’re opening,” Rubenstein said. “We’re going to chance it.”

An extensive renovation of the resort is nearing completion, Rubenstein said.

The renovation includes fresh carpeting and paint, new furniture and improvements to the pool area. He did not provide specific costs of the renovation project, the first at the resort since 2006.

“It’s a whole revitalization of the resort that once was,” Rubenstein said of the 53-year-old hotel.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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