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The People's Champ



Room at AQUA's Hotel Renew


“THE REVIEWS ON TRIP ADVISOR WERE SO GOOD, I wondered if they were real,” mused a visitor from Savannah, Ga., on a comment left at “All the reviews you read about this property, and its excellent personal service are indeed true.”

“This property” is Hotel Renew, which is’s No. 1 rated hotel in Honolulu, topping such venerated (and higher priced) hotels as the Halekulani and The Kahala.

With a $5 million renovation set for completion by March, Hotel Renew looks nothing like its former Ocean Tower Hotel self. “It was really a budget-type property when we took over and we’re moving more into the deluxe, high-end traveler,” says Terry Dowsett, Hotel Renew’s general manager.

At press time, most of the bedrooms had been renovated, with the lobby under heavy work. The design is entirely modern and unique to Waikiki; you will not find printed palm trees or bamboo anywhere. Designer Jiun Ho aimed for tranquility and elegance, using dark woods and monochromatic colors. For high-tech amenities, each room has either a 32-inch flatscreen HDTV or an 80-inch projector. The televisions are hooked up to personal computers using the InnNetwork system, an on-demand, easily navigable interface for entertainment and the World Wide Web. It is the first hotel in Hawaii to use the state-of-the-art system.

Aqua Hotel & Resorts manages the property and the 72-room Hotel Renew is the first in its Aqua Elite line. Aqua manages nine other boutique Waikiki hotels. “[Hotel Renew] allows new [building] owners to come into Waikiki and see Aqua in a different light, moving away from the budget and boutique category and showing that we can do an elite product,” says Elizabeth Churchill, Aqua’s vice president of marketing and guests services.

But it’s also for the guests. “I think it brings a whole new level of consumer who may not have thought about Waikiki in a long time,” Churchill says. And, if the trend continues, the type of tech-friendly consumer that leaves favorable comments on Trip Advisor.

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Hawaii Business,February