By: Patti Fukada, MDC Committee Member
On Thursday, September 28, 2017, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce members were greeted by General Manager Chuck Abbott as they gathered in the lobby of the Prince Waikiki for tour of the newly renovated hotel. Our visit started with some background on how all of the hotel’s thoughtful design and rebranding elements were meant to perpetuate its “sense of place” by sharing the story of its Waikīkī location’s intriguing history and heritage as a gathering place.
In bringing its story to life, the hotel chose distinctive elements that once flourished at the site: the muliwai, or thriving estuary; the Pi‘inaio, a convergence of three fresh water streams; the naioflower, an indigenous restorative plant; the hinana, a nourishing fish; and limu ‘ele‘ele a rejuvenating seaweed. These symbolic elements served as the foundation for the redesign and rebrand.
One of the most impressive examples is the signature art piece suspended in the lobby named Hulali i ka lā, meaning “glistening in the sun.” Designed by acclaimed local artist Kaili Chun, this artful exhibit is so significant and symbolic of the hotel’s new identity that it is embodied in the hotel’s new logo. Over 800 pieces of shimmering copper and silver representing hinana are the collaborative creation of artists, employees, and guests. Another native Hawaiian artist inspired by the story, Solomon Enos, created vibrant abstract paintings displayed throughout the hotel.
We were able to see a few of the hotels 563 remodeled guest rooms and a suite. The rooms showcase floor-to-ceiling ocean views with windows that open to tropical breezes. The décor and interior design also reflects the hotel’s historical sense of place. The carpet reflects sand dunes that was once formed by the estuary where the hinana fish flourished and the hand painted wall mural captures the naio flower, which thrived along the banks of the Pi`inao waterway.
We walked through the new “100 Sails Restaurant & Bar”, “100” representing the address of the hotel and the “Sails” for the sail boats docked across from the hotel. And also took a glance of the newly renovated meeting space available including a ballroom, multiple conference rooms, configurations and numerous breakout areas.
After the tour members gathered together for a surprise and the final piece of our tour. Banquet Chef Mark Miura prepared three new dishes that he asked us to taste and critique. The dishes included seafood ceviche and braised beef belly. As well as two chicken oysters dishes one was prepared fried and other with lemon thyme butter. While members shared their comments with the chef. All of the dishes were enjoyed by all.
A big Mahalo to Chuck Abbott and Cathy Nakahara as well as Kiele and Glenn who took us on our tours. And Chef Miura for our tasting. Our tour of the Prince Waikiki exceeded our expectations. As we departed we were all given a package of delicious Prince chocolate chip cookies.