Viva Las Vegas! “The 9th Island”!

A big part of the reason it is called that is due to the “California Hotel & Casino,” just around the corner from Historic Downtown!

Right on their website, the very first word to greet you is “Aloha,” with pictures of the staff in Aloha shirts! Their restaurants that serve chicken katsu, fried saimin, chili with rice, lau lau, and even oxtail soup, all under $10, make us Hawaii residents feel right at home! And they even partner with Hawaiian companies like ‘Vacations Hawaii’ to make it easy for Hawai’i residents to travel there.

No, this isn’t a promo for them! The fact is, for over three decades, California Hotel has become a mecca for Aloha. The question is …why?

How did this nearly forgotten casino hotel decide to reinvent itself to cater to those living in Hawaii? What was the inspiration behind such a monumental change of focus?

Authors Dennis M. Ogawa and John M. Blink take us into the history of this now-famous locale, including the experiences of the family man William Boyd who (with his father) created a unique experience amongst the numerous previously existing casino-hotels.

While being a fascinating history, “California Hotel and Casino: Hawaii’s Home Away from Home” is also a wonderful look at the wide spirit of Aloha (wherever you are) and a really excellent look at how some of the oldest common-sense business practices (i.e. “give customers what they want” and others) can be applied regardless of what is “trendy” or what the “experts” say.

The Boyd’s took the risk on the Hawai’i market and it has paid off… big time!

We can “bet” (Yeah! Go, Baby!) that you will find this book as interesting a read as we did (and that is an easy bet to win)!


Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.


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