On Thursday, well-regarded Outrigger Hotels announced its acquisition of another Hawaii hotel. The new property expands Outrigger’s presence in Hawaii to yet another island and, hopefully with it, brings improvement to a once highly regarded hotel that has slipped into disrepair and mostly unreliable reviews.
The new property is the Kauai Beach Resort and Spa, located just north of Kauai’s airport in Lihue. The deal is still pending and is expected to close within 60 days on undisclosed terms. It may seem like deja vu to some of you long-time Hawaii aficionados since a quarter century ago, Outrigger managed the same property. On that note, Outrigger said, “This transition feels like a welcome home.”
Outrigger said that its “Legacy in Hawaii spans 75 years; we remain committed to being exceptional stewards of this special place and its rich cultural heritage while contributing to the prosperity of the local community.” — Jeff Wagoner, Outrigger Resorts.
There was no mention thus far of plans for improvements of the large 350-room property, which sits on 25 oceanfront acres. With this addition, Outrigger will have a resort presence again on all four major islands. The deal comes just after its acquisition of the Kaanapali Beach Resort on Maui. Following the Maui property’s recent $75M refresh, that deal will close next month. Outrigger has been on a Hawaii buying jag, with many new hotel deals consummated in the past 24 months.
Suspect TripAdvisor reviews of a tired old property.
We know that the hotel is run down. It was shocking to find that Fakespot, the AI review-checking website, says that of the 3,068 reviews on TripAdvisor, just “40.0% of the reviews are reliable. Our engine has profiled the reviewer patterns and has determined that there is high deception involved.” That’s the worst result we can remember seeing when checking Hawaii hotel reviews.
We went to booking.com to check reviews there since its reviewers theoretically have stayed at the property, which is not the case with TripAdvisor. Here are a few booking.com review excerpts from just this month alone:
Old musty carpets. Rooms need serious revamping. Housekeeping just threw the toiletries on bathroom counter. Reception staff does not smile.
The price was very high compared to the quality…The photos do not reveal the reality!
It is deceptive to call this property a “Beach Resort.” No inhabitable beach… The oceanfront does not have a walkway… There are no beach services, no chairs… Our expectations of a “Beach Resort” include a beach. And chairs… I feel like we were scammed.
Nice pools and a jacuzzi. The rooms were comfortable and clean. Restaurant fine dining, far from it, way overpriced and minimalist, food not cooked great. Rooms and food are very expensive. The shower was broken for two days before it was fixed, no apologies or offer to move us. Apart from two receptionists, most were abrupt and unfriendly.
A negative TripAdvisor review even managed to slip in between what Fakespot says are predominantly fake reviews: Very disappointing…reserved a 1 bedroom suite. It was not a 1 bedroom suite. It was one large room with back to back tv’s dividing it. There was no privacy… The room next door was under construction with lots of noise. The staff was aloof and didn’t seem to care about much, only blamed someone or something else. Never again!
History of Kauai Beach Resort.
The Kauai Beach Resort opened nearly half a century ago and has seen many iterations and better days. It was once a lovely Kauai hotel and was previously managed by Hilton Hotels, Radisson, and Hawaii-centric Aqua/Aston, among others. Upgrades have been modest; the last one we’re aware of was $18M more than 15 years ago, which is very little for such a large property. The hotel previously faced possible foreclosure, among other problems. About half of the units are individually owned and managed as vacation rentals.
Outrigger, please give this old resort a hand.
Outrigger properties generally fare far better than the Kauai Beach Resort, which leaves us very hopeful that under their wing, the Kauai Beach Resort may again be restored to something closer to what we remember fondly from decades ago.
We compared some Outrigger property reviews on TripAdvisor, starting first with the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. For that property, Fakespot reports that only 30% of the 6,257 reviews are questionable and that “Our engine has analyzed and discovered that 70.0% of the reviews are reliable.” We also checked the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort reviews on Fakespot and found that 70% of those 7,096 reviews are also reliable.
As a brand, Outrigger has a long-standing reputation for seeking authentic experiences highlighting Hawaii’s natural beauty and local culture. They also have resorts in Fiji, Guam, the Maldives, and Mauritius.