Outrigger Hospitality Group has celebrated a significant milestone this week (Apr 25), with the official Grand Opening of the company’s flagship property, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, following an extensive US$80 million transformation.

Approximately 500 VIP guests, including elected officials, key executives, partners, musicians and beloved community members, gathered at the iconic resort for a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kumu Blaine Kia and dedication ceremony for the contemporary beachfront retreat, rooted in Hawaiian culture.

The event symbolised another exciting stride towards completion of the resort and further emphasised Outrigger’s pride of place in its hometown of Waikīkī, according to Outrigger’s President and CEO, Jeff Wagoner.

The CEO shared words of aloha with the audience, reiterating the company’s drive for authentic hospitality and renewed commitment of the place – divulging that Outrigger is spending upwards of US$300 million across its Hawai‘i assets to uplift the destination while preserving and perpetuating the vibrant heritage of the Islands.

 “It is with great pride that we welcome friends old and new to celebrate our reimagined Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort,” he said.

“Through this extensive transformation, our goal was to ensure that this was a place for locals and visitors alike to come and enjoy Waikīkī as it should be – where Hawaiian music lifts our spirits, where local foods nourish our bodies and local culture enriches our minds.”

In true Outrigger fashion, an exceptional line-up of award-winning local musicians performed throughout the evening.

Artists included GRAMMY Award nominee Amy Hānaialiʻi with Jeff Peterson, three-time GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist Kalani Pe‘a and beloved slack-key guitarist Sean Na‘auao. Impromptu appearances by treasured Hawaiian music artists including: Kimié Miner, Josh Tatofi, Bobby Moderow and more, further enhanced the night’s merriment. 

A highlight of the night was the dedication of the stage at Kani Ka Pila Grille to Cyril Pahinui – legendary slack-key guitarist who was a regular performer at Kani Ka Pila Grille and bestowed the venue its name – which means “let’s play music” in Hawaiian.

The vibrant music was complemented by ono (delicious) food provided by acclaimed Chef and Outrigger partner, Peter Merriman, who will spearhead the resort’s newest oceanfront eatery, Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, slated to open in late 2022.

Additionally, an iconic Outrigger canoe from the Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa served as the evening’s dazzling centrepiece in the swimming pool – a nod to Outrigger’s rich voyaging heritage. The couple in the canoe added to the magic of the night as before they exited, he got down on one knee for a wedding proposal – to which she happily accepted.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management