Hapuna changes marching on

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HILO — Ongoing renovations to a Kohala Coast resort will be completed next year as it partners with a nationwide hotel chain.

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HILO — Ongoing renovations to a Kohala Coast resort will be completed next year as it partners with a nationwide hotel chain.

The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel will be renamed the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort in February after Mauna Kea Resort LLC signed a franchise agreement with Westin Hotels and Resorts in August.

Vicky Kometani, director of public relations for Mauna Kea Resort, said the partnership does not represent a change in the hotel’s ownership or management and is “strictly a branding exercise.”

“We’re very excited about the new branding,” she said. “It’s a strong brand, a wellness brand, and it’s ideal for the island.”

The rebranding also shouldn’t interfere with the hotel’s status as a kamaaina destination, Kometani said, as discounted kamaaina rates will continue under the new name, although Kometani added that rates have not yet been determined.

The rebranding will coincide with the completion of a $46 million series of renovations, the first large-scale renovation project at the hotel since its opening in 1994, Kometani said.

The renovations include redesigned guest rooms and suites, an adults-only beachside pool area, an updated lobby, a new wellness center and more. In addition, the hotel’s dining options will all be renamed and reimagined.

Most of the renovations are anticipated to be completed by Feb. 19, 2018, although renovations for one wing of the hotel will continue through March.

However, Kometani noted the extensive renovations might cause minor impositions on vacationers. While the hotel will remain open throughout the renovations, parts of the resort will not be accessible.

“It will definitely be a place under construction,” Kometani acknowledged. “We’re not trying to hide it.”

As an additional incentive, special vacation rates will be available during the renovation period, as well as shuttles to Hapuna Beach’s sister hotel, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, for free access to that hotel’s pool.

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Kometani said all construction will take place only from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., leaving mornings and evenings as relaxing for guests as possible.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.