Outrigger Hospitality Group celebrated a significant milestone 25 April 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 community members, gathered at the resort for a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kumu Blaine Kia and dedication ceremony for the contemporary beachfront retreat, which is 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.
Outrigger’s President and CEO Jeff Wagoner shared words of aloha with the audience, reiterating the company’s drive for authentic hospitality and its renewed commitment to Hawaii. He said that Outrigger was spending upwards of US$300 million across its Hawaii assets to uplift the destination while preserving 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,” said Mr. Wagoner. “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 lineup 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 included 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 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, which is scheduled to open in late 2022. Fresh Hawaii grown oysters from Kualoa Ranch were served and shucked by Hawaii’s one-and-only mobile oyster bar - Oysters Hawaii, alongside fresh fish stations from Superb Sushi. Guests sipped on custom cocktails, including the famous Monkeypod Mai Tai and beers from Kona Brewing Company throughout the evening.
Event partners for the Grand Opening included: Travel Weekly, Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, Superb Sushi, Kualoa Ranch, Royal Hawaiian Helicopters, HARA, Hawaiian Agriculture Foundation, Hawaii Volcanic Water, Kona Brewing Co., Polynesian Voyaging Society, Orchid Lei Co. and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Hawaii.
Outrigger CARES – a newly established company foundation was the event beneficiary, with US$5,000 going to support local Hawaiian and non-profit organisations.