Hilo Hawaiian lobby being renovated

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald The reception desk is outside of the lobby during renovations at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

  • The reception desk is outside of the lobby during renovations at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. (Hollyn Johnson/Tribune-Herald)

  • A rendering of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel lobby post-renovation. (Courtesy/Castle Resorts and Hotels)

HILO — One of Hilo’s most popular hotels is getting a face-lift this spring, as the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel’s lobby undergoes a $1.6 million renovation.

Until April, part of the Hilo Hawaiian’s lobby will be walled off as workers install new floors, furniture and touchscreen terminals, although the rest of the property will remain open for business.

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Robin Graf, vice president of operations for Castle Resorts and Hotels — which operates the Hilo Hawaiian — said the renovations have been planned for about a year and are intended to maintain the lobby’s Hawaiian roots while updating it to modern tastes.

Graf said parts of the lobby underwent minor renovations in recent years, but this renovation will be more extensive, requiring demolition of the lobby’s old floors. Most of the demolition work, which Graf noted is the loudest part of the process, already was completed.

The renovations will include new natural wood floors, with coral stone and dark wood accents, and a more open layout.

“We hope it will bring a new feel and a more welcoming experience,” Graf said. “When people come in, we want them to think, ‘Wow! This is Hawaii!’”

Graf said the lobby’s touchscreen terminals will serve as digital signage, directing guests to — and serving as advertisements for — local attractions and businesses.

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Graf said he does not expect the renovation work to present a significant imposition to guests, although he admitted construction noise will be unavoidable within the lobby. However, guests will receive a complimentary 15 percent discount for new and existing reservations until April 23.

“I think this is exciting,” Graf said. “These renovations show our commitment to the Hilo Hawaiian, to our guests and to the Big Island.”

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