Renovations underway at Princeville

PRINCEVILLE — Large-scale renovations of the Princeville Resort began Friday as part of its rebranding as The St. Regis Princeville Hotel.

Speaking publicly about the closure for the first time since becoming general manager of the Princeville in July, Milton Sgarbi said the changes will provide greater opportunities for career growth and development through the worldwide St. Regis associate training program.

“We fully acknowledge that our associates are the backbone of everything we do so it’s vital they receive strong job security during the renovation period,” Sgarbi said. “Our associates will not just return to their job, they will be part of one of the world’s leading luxury hotel and resort brands.”

An estimated 360 workers will be temporarily laid off during the seven-month renovation.

Princeville workers are guaranteed job security following the completion of a five-year contract with Local 142 of the International Longshore Warehouse Workers Union. The agreement also provides pay increases and continued access to medical benefits during the renovation.

“Collaboratively, we worked very hard to get pay and benefits to the highest levels on the island,” Michael Machado, ILWU Kaua‘i negotiator, said.

Some Princeville workers have transferred to the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, while additional work placement opportunities are being sought at other Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. properties in Hawai’i.

Some have elected to accept employment at external companies while others are using this as a chance to take unpaid vacation.

St. Regis is a worldwide leader in luxury hotels and resorts known for excellence in hospitality and service.

Renovations will include a complete re-design of the 252 guest rooms, meeting facilities and function spaces with contemporary interiors, original Hawaiian art and new technologies; a modern lobby; a new swimming pool; and the introduction of new dining concepts and an exclusive spa. The refurbishment is scheduled for completion in April 2009.

“We have greatly appreciated the support of the community over the years, and look forward to enhancing this relationship at The St. Regis Princeville” Sgarbi said. “We recognize the dedication of our associates to this special place, and feel honored to begin this new chapter in the introduction of the first St. Regis property to Hawai’i.”

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