The Princeville Resort Kauai, formerly The St. Regis Princeville Resort, will be closing for renovations on May 1st, 2020.  Rumored for some time, this was confirmed only after we personally tried to book online, and then subsequently placed a call to their reservation line.  For those of us who live here full-time, the Living Room at the Resort is a drinking and dining rotation staple, as has been the "special occasion" Makana Terrace, and the "very special occasion" Kauai Grill.  The hotel has been a great brunch spot, world-class sunset umbrella drink destination and event central for the North Shore of Kauai.  It will be sorely missed, although it’s been in a slow decline for a while now as this “renovation” was impending.

For many locales, a resort closing may not be such big news, but The Princeville Resort and all of it’s previous incarnations since 1986 have served as one of Kauai’s (and certainly the North Shore's) largest employer for decades.  At approximately 600 job positions at it’s peak – the 251-room property has been home to a lineage of familiar faces from the moment you pull up to the porte cochere, through the front desk, your meal, event, Spa service, room service, poolside pau hana, surf lesson... you name it. Residents have worked there for decades – these are considered very good opportunities for an industry-sparse area where many folks are also balancing an island lifestyle (i.e. surf).  The closing will be an extreme hardship and financial challenge for many families.   Additionally local businesses will also feel the effect from fewer visitors, weddings, conferences, etc. There have been “renovations” in the past, but given the substantial nature of this one, it may be some time - a year or two perhaps - before "The 1 Hanalei Bay" opens its doors.

What we will lose in hospitality jobs for some time, we will gain in construction and all their peripheral industry and vendor opportunities.  Hopefully, the labor force will be more Kauai-based than not, it’s fairly common here to have Oahu-based companies and workers come to Kauai for these major projects and this "1" will be substantial.

This should also be a boon for all of the vacation rental owners in Princeville and the surrounding area.  The Resort generally ran at about 80% occupancy so at an average of 200 rooms lost per night that may sound small, but’s it’s actually a pretty big number in the intimate North Shore corridor.  It may drive visitors who traditionally come to the North Shore to the Southside – this past year we’ve worked with a number of folks who have pivoted from Princeville to Poipu recently primarily driven by the weather that we’ve experienced on the North Shore over the past 18-months.

Insert shameless plug here:  Perhaps it’s a good time to pull the trigger on that Princeville, North Shore acquisition – both short-term and long-term accommodations will be in short-supply (all those Oahu-based construction workers need somewhere to stay).  We have 12 vacant lots, 28 residences and 50 condos available in Princeville currently – a healthy level of inventory to choose from.

Welcome to the "1 Hotel Hanalei Bay."  As a member of the Princeville Community Design Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to see conceptual renderings, as have many other stakeholders in the community - 1 Hotel’s affiliates have reached out and seeked input into their concepts and aspirations for the new incarnation.  The 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay will be a stark departure from what’s present, from the Porte Cochere arrival to the vast and expansive marbled lobby, to the façade, to just about every aspect frankly.  It’s designed to meld into the landscape and will be a welcome visual relief from all perspectives.  It will be dramatic and subtle, rich and sublime, stimulating and meditative.  Albeit expensive and exclusive, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay promises to be an ultra-luxury (double negative?) wellness-spa retreat.  You can learn more HERE.

We’re hopeful; we hope the Resort employees land firmly on their feet, we hope the impact on Princeville and the surrounding area will be well-managed and minimal, we hope that the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay will be spectacular and becomes the shining jewel at one of the most spectacular world class destinations.  If there is to be a resort at that site, then it deserves to be one that honors its surroundings and space.  We hope that press releases keep their words and industry icons reach new heights: "We are just thrilled to have this opportunity to acquire and create what will surely be one of the most incredible resort properties in the world, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay," said Barry Sternlicht, Chairman of Starwood Capital Group. "There is no better location, nor more perfect microclimate, to create a wellness resort that will reinvigorate our guests and celebrate the intoxicating beauty of nature."

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For more information about local happenings on Kauai, or to inquire specifically about Kauai real estate, you can reach us at:

Sean Ahearn & Jim Karlovsky
[email protected]
(800) 808-6373