Kona resort aims for 2022 reopening

  • Courtesy of KENNEDY WILSON A rendering of the Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort.

KAILUA-KONA — Kona Village Resort is coming back to life.

Construction is underway at the iconic Kona Coast getaway as real estate investment firm Kennedy Wilson prepares to reopen the resort that has been shuttered since the March 2011 tsunami devastated the grounds. Should the complete renovation go as planned, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, anticipates reopening in 2022.

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“We will narrow in on a time of year and then a specific month as construction progresses and we come closer to completion,” said Dave Eadie, senior vice president of entitlement and development at Kennedy Wilson, on Wednesday.

Eadie anticipated in October that the resort might reopen in 2021. In 2016, when Kennedy Wilson signed an agreement with Kamehameha Schools to reopen the 81.4-acre resort, Kona Village was expected to be “fully operational” by this summer.

Eadie attributed the most recent delay to “fine-tuning components of the project.”

“Looking ahead, completion could occur faster or slower depending upon a myriad of circumstances related to the construction process,” he said.

Eadie did not provide an estimate on the cost of the renovation but noted, “We are conducting a major renewal of the original resort that includes deconstructing numerous existing structures by hand and associated utility work throughout the property.”

Upon reopening, ultra-luxury hotel group Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage Kona Village. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio includes 24 luxury properties in 15 countries, with 23 new hotels under development.

Eadie said that the company shares Kennedy Wilson’s vision for creating a hotel that delivers a world-class experience while also honoring the history of the location to provide a sense of place to guests.

Sonia Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotel Group, said in a press release that the company is honored to bring its “sense of place” philosophy to “such a hallowed resort in the most stunning of destinations.”

Welcoming back guests will be 150 unique, standalone guest hale with locally inspired decor and spectacular views. Each accommodation, spear-headed by Hawaii-raised architect Greg Warner of Walker Warner Architects, will feature a private lanai and outdoor shower.

An array of distinct dining venues, including the original resort’s beloved Shipwreck Bar and Talk Story Bar, will offer elevated yet relaxed food and beverage experiences.

Guests will also have access to new leisure facilities including a Rosewood spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple pools and tennis courts, as well as outdoor recreational activities. There also will be a cultural center “that will grant both locals and visitors access to extensive Hawaiian lineage, providing a link between the resort and its surroundings,” according to Kennedy Wilson.

“We look forward to welcoming back ohana to Kona Village … and introducing new guests to this one-of-a-kind destination,” Eadie said.

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Kona Village, located just north of the Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai, originally opened in 1965. The March 11, 2011, tsunami damaged the property, destroying utilities, 20 of the 125 bungalows, two restaurants and the main office and activity center. The resort’s closure resulted in more than 250 lost jobs.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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