$13M in upgrades for Eastside resorts

KAPAA — If Ray Free didn’t own a timeshare, he wouldn’t go on vacation.

“This is like being at my own home,” said Free, a timeshare owner at Pono Kai Resort in Kapaa.

And with ongoing renovations and upgrades at his timeshare resort and two others on the Royal Coconut Coast, Free and other timeshare owners have more incentive to spend their vacations on the Garden Isle.

“The upgrades are a lot nicer. It makes more like a homey situation,” he said. “Things get old when more people use them. Once they get then upgraded, it’s like a brand-new condo.”

Pono Kai, Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy and Castle’s Kaha Lani Resort are investing over $13 million on their resorts. These projects follow $9 million in renovations in 2014 and $20 million in 2012 and 2013.

“In short, Kauai’s Royal Coconut Coast is consistently providing the latest in resort improvements,” said Hilmy Dole, president of the Royal Coconut Coast Association.

The largest investment — $7.9 million — is at Pono Kai Resort, which will result in complete renovation of 150 condominium units with entire kitchen and bathroom remodels, new furnishings, cabinets, countertops, fixtures, decor and new bedding.

This project started this year, with the final phase finishing up in 2020, said Peter Sit, Pono Kai Resort general manager.

“That is beneficial to the timeshare owners as well as the exchange customers. We have about 40 percent exchange customers,” Sit said. “It’s very important that we update our property.”

With 38 units completed, the upgrades and renovations for the Pono Kai’s G and K buildings started in January and were completed in five months.

“The K building was owned by the timeshare owners, so we were able to shut it down completely to redo the interior without disturbing everybody else in the building,” he said. “The other building outside is a mix of private owners, timeshare owners, association owners, so it’s a little bit more difficult.”

In January, Pono Kai will start work on buildings A and B. One of the major improvements will be replacing carpeting in some parts of the resort.

“It costs a lot more money to tile, but there’s more benefits: it’s easier to clean, to maintain; they have a longer life; and the noise level between the floor cuts down to 40 percent,” Sit said.

Troy Spalding, Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy general manager, said the resort is updating units, hallways and the lobby.

“We’re going to a much more modern look. A full design renovation was in 1998, so we have some outdated things,” Spalding said. “While it’s still in good condition, it’s still outdated — for example, the countertop. We’re just giving it a fresher look.”

Renovation for the 108 units, hallways and lobby are slated to begin in September 2017.

At a per-unit cost of $50,000, guests will find new paint, fixtures, furnishings, décor, flooring, bathroom upgrades, new beds and bedding. The total investment for the resort amounts to $6 million.

In order to finish the upgrades by December, Spalding said the resort is going to shut down one building at a time, which allows contractors to work without disturbing guests.

“That allows contractors to move a little bit faster when you don’t have concerns about being too noisy or interfering with a guest’s experience,” he said.

Spalding added: “What we’ve done is close it down so as people are booking, they’ll book the other two (buildings). And when it’s full, they stay with another timeshare that they own.”

Also investing in the six-figure range is Castle’s Kaha Lani Resort. The resort will spend $250,000 on new paint and repairs.

Representatives from Kaha Lani Resort did not respond to inquiries from TGI by press time.

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