Construction of Maui’s first airport hotel, tailored for both leisure and business travelers, is slated to begin next week in Kahului.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday for Maui’s first Courtyard by Marriott, a four-story, 138-room hotel located near Kahului Airport and close to Maui’s business, commercial and governmental center.
“With Kahului being Maui’s commercial hub and Wailuku the seat of county government, we believe this new hotel will fill an important niche in serving inter-island and out-of-state business travelers,” Chris Tatum, vice president of Marriott Resorts Hawaii, said in a statement issued yesterday. Tatum added, “We also expect to serve travelers transiting the airport and attract visitors wanting to stay on this side of the island to explore upcountry Maui, Paia and other nearby attractions.”
Construction on the $16.5-million project is expected to be completed in early 2012. Upon opening, the hotel property, which covers a 3.35-acre parcel of land, will be managed by Marriott International, while developer, R.D. Olson Development, will retain ownership.
The hotel’s lobby will feature interactive 58-inch LCD touch screens, each loaded with local information, maps, weather and news, business and sports headlines. A nearby business center will allow guests to check e-mail and print documents, while semi-enclosed “Media Pods” — decked with flat-panel TVs — will serve as a place to work, meet or relax. The hotel will also offer 1,663 square feet of meeting space, including a boardroom.
Marriott now has 14 hotel and timeshare properties on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Its first hotel in the Islands — the Maui Marriott at Kaanapali — opened in 1981.
Plans to build a hotel near the airport first took shape about a decade ago but were put on hold by economic concerns. Alexander & Baldwin Inc. secured county approvals, including a zoning change in 2002, and later shelved building plans because of high construction costs.
A&B Properties Vice President Grant Y.M. Chun said in a statement: “We do believe the timing is right, the economy is coming back.”
Chun added, “We are confident this hotel — long anticipated, for sure — will be a welcome and convenient option for short-term visitors from the neighbor islands, government officials desiring proximity to Wailuku offices and, quite possibly sports event or family reunion attendees, visiting Maui for a few days.”
Photos: (top to bottom) Alexander & Baldwin Inc., R.D. Olson Construction/Marriott