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5 Years After Storm, Kauai Hotel Reopens

September 07, 1997|SUSAN ESSOYAN

HONOLULU — The 414-room Sheraton Kauai Resort, closed since Hurricane Iniki pummeled the Hawaiian island nearly five years ago, is scheduled to reopen fully Dec. 1, helping to mark the island's recovery.

With the reopening, 88.5% of Kauai's visitor accommodations will be back in action, according to Nalani Brun of Kauai County's Office of Economic Development. Three other well-known hotels, however, remain closed.

Visitors today can find barely any physical sign of the $1.6 billion in damage from the storm--Hawaii's worst in a century--that struck Sept. 11, 1992. The island's tourist count has climbed steadily, reaching 969,000 last year, and officials hope to welcome 1 million this year--still short of the more than 1.2 million who visited the year before Iniki.

The Sheraton plans to open its garden wing Nov. 14, in time for the PGA Grand Slam tournament Nov. 18-19 at the Poipu Bay Golf Course. The entire resort will formally open Dec. 1 after $40 million in renovations, including a new fitness center and spa; a pool three times larger than before, with slides; and updated restaurants. Rates start at $192.80 under a Suresaver deal. Reservations: (800) STAY-ITT.

Still closed are Kauai's 426-room Waiohai Beach Resort and its smaller sister property, the 138-room Poipu Beach Hotel, as well as the 390-room Coco Palms Resort in Wailua. As of last week, none had announced plans to reopen.

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