Famous Waikiki Hotel Shuts Down
One of Waikiki's most recognizable hotels will no longer be open for guests. The Y-shaped Ilikai hotel on Waikiki Beach (shown above, hotel not pictured) opened in 1964 but came to national attention in the 1970s when it used in the opening sequence of the "Hawaii Five-0" television show. But now the hotel has closed because its new owners were losing several hundred thousand dollars a month.
In its nearly five decades the 30-story Ilikai has hosted U.S. Presidents and celebrities, especially during its 1960s and 1970s heyday when stars like Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder and Lucillle Ball visited. But the hotel has fallen on hard times recently. New York-based iStar Financial Inc. bought the hotel for $51 million at a foreclosure auction in May and has decided it was too expensive to keep the hotel open. The move puts around 75 employees out of business. There were 203 hotel rooms in the 1,000-unit hotel-condo-timeshare property and guests staying at the hotel at the time of closure were relocated elsewhere. Operations related to the condo units are not affected. The hotel was an 800-room hotel operation just a few years ago before it was sold off into time share chunks.
Employees have said their tearful goodbyes but are holding out hope that the new owner will reopen the Ilikai with the same union crew. On the day before the closure workers rallied to save their jobs. Hawaii has seen many of its tourism jobs affected as hotel occupancy rates have plummeted. Recently the Hawaii Tourism Authority unveiled a new initiative aimed at boosting short-term travel to Hawaii by focusing on courting visitors from Japan.
UPDATE: The AP is reporting that the four dozen employees of the Ilikai hotel got their jobs back on Friday when their labor union and the property's new owner struck a new deal. Those employees that won't be rehired will receive severance packages.
Gallery: Hotels In Transition