Great news! The much anticipated Doubletree Grand Naniloa is now open in Hilo, on the Big Island. It’s the first Doubletree on the Big Island, and is the only name brand hotel on the Hilo side of the island. The Naniloa will undoubtedly be the best hotel in Hilo, too. That being said, the Naniloa is not a new hotel.
The Grand Naniloa Hotel was formerly known simply as the Naniloa Hotel. Built in the mid-1960s, the hotel has had a rough history, especially in recent years. Back in the early 2000’s the property was purchased by a local tour company. At the time, Starwood was interested in turning the property into a Four Points by Sheraton, while Outrigger wanted to turn it into an “Ohana” brand hotel. But the local company edged out their bids and embarked on a extremely protracted renovation project. Only, not much was done, and many parts of the property fell into major disrepair.
Then in 2013, Aston-Aqua Hotels & Resorts took over management of the Naniloa. The property was then acquired by Honolulu-based Tower Development, which began renovations on the property. $30 million later, double what the project was supposed to cost, the renovation the Naniloa needed was finally complete. The property then received the Doubletree by Hilton brand, and will continue to be managed by Aqua-Aston.
The refreshed property features 320 rooms and suites. All rooms will features complimentary wired internet and wifi, complimentary coffee and tea, a 42″ HDTV, safe, hairdryer, microwave, mini-fridge, and shower/tub combo. Each room will also include artwork by world-renown local artist Kim Taylor Reece. Guests of the Naniloa will also enjoy access to the property’s fitness center, and a free round of golf… daily! Public spaces of the property were completely refurbished, too.
Refurbishing is really what the Naniloa’s renovation seems to have been about. The property looks largely the same, just nicer. This is especially true in the room bathrooms, and the property’s sole, tiny pool. In fact, the pictures of the suites (below) are particularly alarming to me. The rooms looks very spartan, doesn’t seem to have much in the way of lighting, and has what looks like a fairly old a/c unit.
What remains to be seen, then, is how comprehensive this $30 million renovation really is… especially since $4 million of that went to just the artwork. That being said, the Naniloa definitely isn’t a destination resort. It does look better that its former self, and way better than most of the other options in Hilo. But, if a destination resort is what you want, you’ll still need to head to Waikoloa or Hualalai. Increased options, though, especially ones where you can redeem points at are always welcome.
The Naniloa is priced at about a $129/night for a standard room. It falls into Hilton HHonors category 5, meaning an award night will set you back 40,000 to 50,000 points. And from now thru March 2017, Hilton is offering a 5,000 point bonus if you stay at The Grand Naniloa for at least 3 consecutive nights.