Hale Lihue becomes Kauai Palms Hotel

LIHU’E — Not so long ago, the old Hale Lihue was an eyesore, luckily off the beaten track, a place where commuting construction workers would lay their heads after their eight hours on the job, and a place where it seemed the hotelroom doors were barely hanging on.

Enter Rick Scott.

He purchased the property at the corner of Kalena and Kress streets a couple years ago, knowing the building itself was solid, though in need of some fixing up.

After all, renovating plantation-era buildings “is what we do,” he said.

Scott, 58, of Kapa’a, saw the former Hale Lihue building as a “older, strong building. It wasn’t trashed. It was in good shape,” he said.

“It just needed a new facelift, light restoration and renovation,” Scott continued. “It was not worn out or termite-ridden.”

The restoration work transformed the place, “making it more attractive,” with landscaping, new paint and railings on the outside, and a head-to-toe renovation of room interiors as well, he continued.

It has a Hawaiian feel to it now, said Scott, who is marketing the property to three distinct groups of travelers:

  • Local families;
  • Mainland visitors, mainly via the Internet;
  • Interisland travelers like construction and government workers who want to be in town close to government offices and lots of places to eat.

His daughter, Jordan Lee, now attending college in New York, came up with the name Kauai Palms Hotel, and her father liked the name. She also came up with the marketing plan for the place, which the father also incorporated, so far with good results.

For the 22-room hotel that has just opened, business has been good, he said.

Dennis Haferkamp is the hotel’s resident manager, and Scott has already moved onto another project, remodeling two beach houses elsewhere on the island.

“I’m not hands-on,” Scott said. It’s Hafer-kamp’s job to run the hotel, he added.

The hotel is smack in the middle of what Scott calls “the Lihu’e restaurant district,” with no fewer than 16 restaurants with everything from American to Vietnamese fare within walking distance.

Just five minutes from Lihu’e Airport, Kauai Palms Hotel is “clean, stylish and affordable,” with rooms starting at $65 a night, he said.

The hotel’s deluxe rooms feature “islandstyle” furnishings complete with new Simmons beds, new furniture, new flat-screen televisions, and complimentary coffee service.

The one-bedroom studio units sleep four, and one-bedroom studios with kitchens will also accommodate up to four guests.

Laundry facilities and free parking round out the list.

As an added feature, members of management at the Palms also provide a “Walking Guide” from the hotel to the Lihue restaurant district (consisting of 16 dining establishments and their menus, and a convenient, color-coded map on how to get to each restaurant).

For more information, please call the hotel, 246-0908; fax 246-0902; e-mail info@kauaipalmshotel.com; or see the Web site, www.kauaipalmshotel.com.

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