The on-again-off-again efforts to resurrect the iconic Coco Palms hotel on Kauai seem to have finally come to an end. Recent development all but confirms that there will be no Hyatt Unbound Coco Palms and probably no hotel at this site ever again.
Back in 2013, the Coco Palms Hui announced plans to reinvent Kauai’s historic Coco Palms. Made famous by Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii and shuttered by Hurricane Iniki, Coco Palm’s resurrection has been stymied by years of litigation. Work to clear the site did begin at one point but stalled back in 2019. If the resort did reopen, it would’ve operated under the Hyatt Unbound Collection brand, which includes just 25 properties around the world – including 11 in the US – right now.
There Will Be No Hyatt Unbound Coco Palms
The Coco Palms Hui defaulted on its $22.2 million loan. To date, the company owes $45.59 million in principal, interest, and fees. As a result, Coco Palm Hui’s lender, Utah-based Private Capital Group, filed a foreclosure against them in 2019. Two years later, 5th Circuit Court Judge Randall Valenciano approved the foreclosure. The foreclosure sale then went through on Monday, July 26, with just one bid. That bid came from, you guessed it, Private Capital Group for $22.2 million. In order to finalize the sale, however, a confirmation hearing in Circuit Court is needed. No date has been set for that hearing as of yet.
When asked by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser what will come of the property, a representative for the Private Capital Group said it’s too early to tell at this point. However, opposition to redevelopment on the site is growing on Kauai, with many in the community advocating that the site be turned into a cultural park.
In the early days of the project, I was all for the rebirth of the Coco Palms. The concept looked intriguing and the renderings were fantastic! But, given the historic and culturally sensitive nature of the area – home of Kauai’s last queen and a burial ground – building another resort here probably isn’t a good idea. What’s more, another hotel will only add to problems with over-tourism. The fact that an investment group was the sole interested party, though, doesn’t bode well for that. For now, all we can do is wait to see what happens next.
Cultural issues and anti-tourism sentiments aside, let us not forget that the beach is across the street, and it’s not a particularly nice beach at that. This just was never going to work on any level.
Island Miler says
This is true!
I had those same thoughts when we drive by a few years ago. I’d hope the cultural Park could work but $22M is a lot of money to devote to just the land
Island Miler says
Only time will tell. Since the lender is the one that purchased the property, you can bet they’re going to want to maximize their return on it. This doesn’t bode well for Kauai County’s ambitions.
Carl WV says
I stayed there 20+ years ago. For me it was very unique and interesting place, with plenty of beautiful property to roam around. I don’t think it would have ever been the same rebuilt. I wonder if they kept any of the the clam shell sinks.
I’ll guess I’ll have to just watch one of the movies made there. to relive it.
Island Miler says
Thank you for sharing the memories! It did seem like a great place and the renderings of the reimagined Coco Palms looked fantastic! I do believe the shell sinks were saved, though I can’t recall specifically what they did with them when demolition work began.