New $800 Million Hokuala Kauai Resort

A new yet familiar Kauai resort is about to be launched called Hokuala. You may remember this as the Kauai Lagoons master community located nearby Lihue Airport and adjacent to Nawiliwili Harbor.

Following Hurricane Iwa in 1982, the property was developed as a super-resort in which it was intended that visitors would never need leave. Transport was via mahogany boats and horse-drawn carriages.  Shopping was on two landings that never really took off. In 1987, the project and hotel were branded the Westin Kauai Lagoons. The enormous resort featured a Jack Nicklaus golf course, and a lagoon replete with gondolas and wildlife. A second golf course was also developed, but financial problems stopped plans to build a second hotel, condos, time-shares and even a third golf course. At least until now.

Iconic property sold for $60 Million

Previous owner Marriott Vacations opted not to complete the 468 property, 450 acre development and instead sold it as-is for a mere $60 Million to Timbers Resorts of Colorado. The acquisition included the incomplete Ritz-Carlton residences, the clubhouse and the golf course.

Timbers, one of the largest developers of small resorts and residence clubs just announced that it will bring the property to fruition with the addition of $800 Million. The new name of the development will now be Hokuala, which is Hawaiian for rising star.

Construction to commence in 2015

Prior to year end, Timbers will begin work on its phase one, the Timbers Kauai Ocean Club and Residences. That will include 47 condos and townhomes of up to 3,600 square feet. Timbers will also redevelop the prior Jack Nicklaus designed Kiele golf course next year which will become the Ocean Course. That course features the most oceanfront golf of any course in Hawaii. Another golf course is also slated for development.

Hokuala features

In addition to residential units, a new clubhouse is in the works, as well as upgrades to the community amenities, and restoration of the prior water taxis that many of us still remember fondly.

Hokuala will feature direct shoreline access in addition to uninterrupted ocean and mountain views. Their new Timbers resort will include a likely award-winning boutique hotel and spa, restaurants, a private club, and a shopping village.

Restoring the lagoon waterways

While beautiful and having great potential, these inland waterways have been problematic from the outset.  Keeping them clean was in part done with use of toxic chemicals, including copper sulfate.  Since then however, the lagoons were largely abandoned. There are rumored to be huge monster fish overpopulation in the lagoons (tilapia, carp and others).  Recently,  however, more environmentally sound methods of lagoon management have been implemented to try to deal with a plethora of waterway issues.

Once reinstated, boats will be featured for excursions to shopping, dining and golf.

What’s your take on this latest luxury resort development on Kauai?

10 thoughts on “New $800 Million Hokuala Kauai Resort”

  1. What a shame! Perhaps I had better hurry and visit before these monstrosities get built. How far away from Nawiliwilli is this?

  2. Mega resorts of this caliber has proven to be out of touch with the 21st Century. Kauai is a unique island destination for the tourist industry. It should take the route of eco-tourism and educate visitors about sustainablity on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Planet Earth cannot handle the inlfux of more fantasy island resorts catering only to well-heeled tourists. Send them to Dubai. Kauai is a spiritual haven for weary travelers including kamaaina.

  3. It sounds wonderful! Kauai is my favorite Island .We hope to see it when it is done. We loved the mahogany launches and the Clydsdale horse drawn carriages when we stayed on Kauai many years ago!

  4. I think this might actually be a promising planned development on Kauai. More so than others I’ve seen over the last few years but I do have one reservation…

    This will not create extra traffic as the entry from the highway can handle, so no traffic issues that I see. Maybe improve the signage within the resort so people will choose to travel that entry/exit would be a good plan.

    This development will revamp the waterways and golf course which have really fallen into disrepair.

    One thing I’m concerned about though. I believe I remember the county council reviewing this group’s request for exception to the setback and do not know what the final decision was. I think all buildings should be setback quite a bit because how terrible a view to the cruise ships, coming in to the harbor and seeing buildings instead of the beautiful green cliffs of Kauai (yes, nice view even on that side). Also, what about the next hurricane? This will be a lot of visitors for the County of Kauai to be responsible for with the decisions they make. Best to leave it back from the “uninterrupted ocean and mountain views”. Welcome to Kauai, Timbors Resorts, and we hope you will take care of the malama aina on Kauai for a successful partnership.

    “To malama `āina is to take care of the earth that feeds us. The minute we lose sight of that, we have signed our own palapala make, our death warrant.”

    –Sabra Kauka, Storyteller, from AINA

  5. Timbers has always been a great source of redevelopment and hope we get invited to tour the property while visiting our other property location in Princeville!

  6. With this new resort, the Coco Palms being rebuilt and the Princeville development, Kauai stands to receive a lot more visitors. Unfortunately the county’s highways are not developing as fast and it seems like traffic, especially through Kapaa, is going to get even worse, which is hard to imagine. Most of us come to Kauai because it’s not Maui. Now we’re losing our quaint Kauai.

  7. I have mixed feelings. While I think it is great that it is being taken care of, I continue to be saddened by all the building and congestion. I hope they honor the island and the people of Kauai. Now, what is the story with Coco Palms? We did not see any movement in September.

  8. Hi Guys…..As a frequent golfer at Kauai Lagoons, I’m hoping they don’t raise the PRICES too much for us local retirees……At the same time, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the property improved……especially the SECOND golf course!!!!…..Mahalo…..Bill

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