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 Ground-breaking Held for The Grand Waikikian, a 38-story Timeshare
Development at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa
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HONOLULU - June 15, 2006 -- A ceremonial ground-breaking today marked the official start of construction for The Grand Waikikian, a 38-story timeshare and retail development at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa(R). When completed, The Grand Waikikian will be the largest and most luxurious timeshare resort in Waikiki. 

The Grand Waikikian will be operated by Hilton Grand Vacations Company, the timeshare division of Hilton Hotels Corporation. It is the company's fourth timeshare development in the State of Hawaii. Upon anticipated completion in late 2008, The Grand Waikikian will join HGVC's existing 236-unit Lagoon Tower and 72-unit Kalia Tower projects at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and the recently opened 120-unit Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island. 

Projected to include 331 units, The Grand Waikikian will be built on a site adjacent to the Lagoon Tower and will feature 34 floors of one-bedroom and two-bedroom timeshare suites, plus an additional four floors of retail, office and guest amenity space. The top five floors of The Grand Waikikian tower will be designated as exclusive penthouse levels with spectacular views, added amenities and expanded guest facilities including a private check area, concierge and lounge on the 35th floor. The penthouse floors will also feature a selection of 3-bedroom suites with panoramic ocean views. 

The Waikikian project will include a retail shopping arcade, beachside restaurant and super pool with three slides and a "lazy river" theme designed especially for families. Hilton Hotels Corporation is also making improvements to a number of public areas adjacent to the development, including extensive work to the Village's famed salt-water lagoon. 

According to Mark Wang, HGVC Senior Vice President for Hawaii & Asia, the architectural design of the Grand Waikikian will evoke the ambience of a grand hotel, while offering guests the convenience and comfort of a luxury condominium. 

"As a purpose-built development within the Hilton Hawaiian Village grounds, we have the opportunity to create the ultimate timeshare experience," Wang said. "The Grand Waikikian will offer elegant, residential-style suites and a sense of exclusivity for everyone who stays here. 

"But through arrangements with the Village, our owners and guests will also enjoy the services and amenities of a world-class resort hotel." 
Wang added that The Grand Waikikian will offer benefits found nowhere else in the State of Hawaii. "We are creating an unparalleled guest experience, located within one of the world's most famous resorts and overlooking Waikiki's best stretch of beach. This will be a landmark development for the timeshare industry in Hawaii." 

Antoine Dagot, President and CEO of HGVC, said the construction of The Grand Waikikian is clear evidence of the growing market for timeshare product in Hawaii, and Hilton's commitment to being a leader in that market. 

"Since we began sales at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in 2000, our results have far outpaced our original expectations," Dagot said. "We are very enthusiastic about Hawaii, and the potential this market has for timeshare development and sales." 

Dagot added that product quality has been the key to Hilton's success thus far in the timeshare market, both in Hawaii and highly competitive mainland destinations like Las Vegas and Orlando. "The quality of our resorts and the benefits provided by our Club system are the critical difference for us," he said. "The Grand Waikikian is a clear example of our commitment to quality." 
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Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa is Waikiki's only self-contained destination resort. The resort spans 22 acres, offering the finest dining, shopping and entertainment center on Waikiki's best beach, as well as an oceanfront lagoon, waterfalls, five pools, gardens, an exquisite art collection and exotic wildlife. The Village features more than 20 restaurants and lounges, with fine cuisine ranging from ethnic specialties to traditional steak and seafood menus. The resort is also home to more than 90 shops and retail outlets, including the extensive Mandara Spa in the Kalia Tower. 
 
Hilton Hawaiian Village® Beach Resort & Spa History

1928
Niumalu Hotel opens on the site where Hilton Hawaiian Village® Beach Resort & Spa now stands.

1954
Fritz B. Burns and Henry J. Kaiser purchase the Niumalu Hotel with eight oceanfront acres of the John Ena Estate.

1955
Construction begins on thatched-roof guest cottages with 70 guest rooms and suites. The Tapa Room, gardens and three swimming pools are also completed.

1957
Ocean Tower is completed (Ocean Tower is now Ali‘i Tower®). Geodesic dome showroom is built in just 20 hours for the premiere of “Around the World in 80 Days” and the Symphony Polynesia, starring the famed Alfred Apaka.

1958
Village Tower is built (Tapa Tower® now stands in its place).

1960
The expansion of the Village continues with the addition of Diamond Head Tower®.

1961
Conrad Hilton acquires a majority of the property. Hilton-Burns company is founded and the Hawaiian Village becomes Hilton Hawaiian Village.

1965
Hilton Lagoon Apartments are completed with 279 apartments.

1968
Rainbow Tower® opens with the world’s largest ceramic-tile mosaic spanning 286 feet high by 26 feet wide on each end of the tower. More than 16,000 colorful tiles are used to complete the mosaic.

1969 
Mid-Pacific Conference Center superstructure is completed, including the Coral Ballroom and a garage with a parking capacity of 1,800.

1970
Rainbow Bazaar opens with more than 40 ethnic shops and restaurants, a Thai temple, a replica of a Japanese pagoda, and an entire Japanese farmhouse – which was shipped from Japan.

1977
Fritz Burns sells 50 percent equity interest in Hilton Hawaiian Village to Prudential Insurance Company of America.

1979
Village Tower is torn down.

1982
Tapa Tower is opened on the site of the former Village Tower. The total number of hotel rooms becomes 2,614. Plans for a $100 million architectural renewal begin. 

1987
Ocean Tower is renovated and “rebuilt” with two additional floors added. Renamed the Ali’i Tower, it becomes the Village’s exclusive “hotel within a hotel” for guests who desire higher levels of service, such as private concierge service and registration. The project was part of the overall Village master plan, and included the construction of the Main Lobby building.

1988
Kaiser-Burns’ master plan, calling for four “skyscraper hotels,” is completed.  Hilton Hawaiian Village, now offering 2,523 rooms, has a grand reopening.

Hilton Hawaiian Village completes its milestone, $100 million architectural renewal, “Return to Paradise.”  As part of “Return to Paradise,” the hotel unveils its new porte cochere and open-air lobby, which provide breathtaking views of the 10,000-square-foot Super Pool and Waikiki Beach.

1996
The Tapa Bar and main lobby are renovated.

1998
Hilton Hotels Corporation buys Prudential’s share of Village ownership, making the Village a true Hilton property. 

1999
The Hilton Dome is torn down. Construction of Kalia TowerTM begins.

2001
The 453-room, 25-story Kalia TowerTM opens culminating what was the first major resort development in Waikiki in more than a decade.  The tower offers tropical gardens, spacious walkways, waterfalls and Hawaiian art, creating a new gateway to the Village. Lagoon Tower completes an extensive renovation, and Hilton Grand Vacations Club begins offering a new category of accommodations at the Village — studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom condominium suites. 

Mandara Spa opens on the 4th floor of the Kalia Tower.  Independently owned and operated, the spa provides hotel guests with a full-service spa and salon.

2005
Ground is broken on the site of the Ocean Crystal Chapel, a $6 million chapel that will become Waikiki’s first free-standing resort chapel.

2006
The $6 million Ocean Crystal Chapel opens with a lavish grand opening ceremony culminating years of planning and nine months of construction.  Set amidst lush landscaping and waterfalls, the chapel seats 85 people and offers stunning visuals.

Ground is broken on the site of the Grand Waikikian Tower, a 39-story timeshare tower that will be the seventh tower on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  Construction is expected to last through 2008.

Restoration of the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village begins.  The project is expected to last until late 2007.

Historical Overview

In 1954, entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser and partner Fritz Burns purchased eight oceanfront acres of the John Ena Estate in Waikiki to build a resort.  Requiring additional property for such an ambitious undertaking, the partners purchased the adjacent site of the Niumalu Hotel and several contiguous lots from individual owners totaling 20 acres of what Hilton Hawaiian Village currently occupies.  

In mid-1955, guest cottages were hand-built by Hawaiian Samoans from Oahu who came to the site to weave coconut fronds into thatching.  Within three months, workers had completed the first unit of 70 guest rooms and suites, and the Tapa Room (now the site of the Tapa Tower), with gardens and three swimming pools.

Next, construction was completed on four traditional lanai houses ranging from 18 to 56 guest rooms, on the site where the Rainbow Tower stands.  The Long House was the first meeting facility— a convention auditorium patterned after a Polynesian chief’s hut with a seating capacity of 1,000.

Since the occupancy rate of the hotel was rapidly growing, more rooms were needed.  Within 90 days, the three-story, 100-room Ale Ale Kai was built.  Giant palm trees were moved in, tropical gardens planted, and particular care was taken to preserve the existing flora.

Guest facilities were expanded with the addition of the Ale Ale dining room, cocktail lounge and beach terrace for dancing (later called the Makahiki Restaurant and Garden Bar).  The Tiare Tahiti nightclub, the Golden Dragon (still one of Honolulu’s finest Cantonese restaurants), and the Sunset Room (today’s Hau Tree Bar®) were subsequently added.  The Hilton Dome, a geodesic dome at the corner of Kalia Road and Ala Moana Boulevard, was the first of its kind built in the world and was the brainchild of Kaiser and the design of Buckminster Fuller.  Fuller wanted a showroom that would afford a completely unobstructed view of the stage from anywhere in the room.  Standing 49.5 feet high and 149 feet in diameter, the aluminum structure was assembled in just 20 hours for the world premiere of “Around the World in 80 Days” and the Symphony Polynesia, starring the famed Alfred Apaka.

The next task was development of the sand surface along the beach and ocean sports area, accomplished by blasting and dredging the shoreline and replacing it with 30,000 cubic yards of sand.  Palm trees were added to shade and enhance the spectacular beauty of the beach, named after Olympic swimmer and beach boy, Duke Kahanamoku.  Shortly thereafter, the tropical lagoon and catamaran pier were created.  Today, the Village fronts and maintains the widest beach in Waikiki.

During the 1950s, the Kaiser-Burns’ master plan called for four additional “skyscraper hotels.”  The skyscrapers included the 14-story Ocean Tower constructed in 1957, and the 13-story Village Tower built in 1958.  The 17-story Diamond Head Tower and the 31-story Rainbow Tower were constructed in 1960 and 1968, respectively.  The 10-story Diamond Head apartment building was purchased in 1966.

In 1961, hotelier Conrad N. Hilton purchased Kaiser’s interest in the hotel.  The name Hilton was added to Hawaiian Village, and the familiar “Kaiser pink” was replaced by “Hilton blue.”  Due to continued growth, the 25-story Hilton Lagoon Apartment’s room count increased 279 apartments in 1965, giving the Village 1,556 guest rooms.  The Mid-Pacific Conference Center superstructure was completed in 1969 and rests atop the 1,800 vehicle-capacity parking garage, becoming the hotel’s major meeting facility.

Completed in 1970, Rainbow Bazaar with more than 40 shops and restaurants sat along Rainbow Drive. Housed within the complex is a Thai temple, massive granite lions guarding the moon gate at the entrance to Hong Kong Alley, a replica of a 50-foot-high Japanese pagoda and an entire Japanese farmhouse, which was disassembled and shipped from Japan to be painstakingly reassembled in the bazaar.

In December 1977, Fritz B. Burns, his son F. Patrick Burns and close associates sold their 50 percent equity interest in Hilton Hawaiian Village to Prudential Insurance Company of America.  Hilton Hotels Corporation, through a subsidiary, retained the remaining 50 percent equity interest in the resort, and Hilton continued to manage the hotel on behalf of the joint ownership until purchasing Prudential’s share in 1998. Since then, Hilton Hawaiian Village has been owned and operated entirely by Hilton Hotels Corporation.

Then in 1988, the Hilton Hawaiian Village completed its milestone, $100 million architectural renewal, “Return to Paradise.”  As part of “Return to Paradise,” the hotel unveiled a new porte cochere and open-air lobby, which provide breathtaking views of the 10,000-square-foot Super Pool and Waikiki Beach.  Bali by the Sea and Golden Dragon, two of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants, converted into open-air dining experiences with stunning views of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean.  The Village’s Ali‘i Tower unveiled its new concierge tower fronting the beach.  Additionally, the hotel completely renovated its signature Coral Ballroom, and added the South Pacific Ballroom and Sea Pearl Suites, giving the Hilton Hawaiian Village the largest meeting and convention facilities in the Pacific.
In what would signal the beginning of the revitalization of Waikiki, the legendary Hilton Dome is torn down to make way for the $95 million Kalia Tower, which would become Waikiki’s first major resort development in more than a decade.  Over the years, the Hilton Dome hosted legends such as Alfred Apaka and Don Ho, and before its end, John Hirokawa’s “Magic of Polynesia” magic show.

The 453-room, 35-story Kalia Tower opened in 2001 offering tropical gardens, spacious walkways, waterfalls and Hawaiian art, creating a new gateway to the Village.  With the opening of the Kalia Tower came the opening of the independently owned and operated Mandara Spa on the 4th floor of the tower.  The spa features Hawaiian-Balinese furniture and 25 treatment rooms offering a variety of Hawaiian-themed treatments such as Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage, Vanilla & Pikake Facial and the Hawaiian Pohaku (Warm Lava Stones) Massage.  The treatments are performed by therapists and estheticians that must be professionally licensed in the state of Hawaii.

That same year in 2001, the Lagoon Tower also completed an extensive renovation, and opens with Hilton Grand Vacations Club offering a new category of accommodations at the Village – studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom condominium suites.

As demand for hotel rooms in Waikiki grow, so does the demand for Waikiki as a destination for weddings.  Best Bridal Hawaii and the Hilton Hawaiian Village entered into an agreement to begin planning and building the Ocean Crystal Chapel, Waikiki’s first free-standing resort chapel.  On June 22, 2005, ground was broken on the site, which is centrally located between Tapa and Rainbow Towers.  A retail store is re-located and an existing gazebo is torn down for the construction of the chapel.  Nine months later on March 16, 2006, the hotel and Best Bridal hold a lavish grand opening ceremony for the $6 million chapel.  The chapel offers views of the ocean and seats 85 people inside its stunning location.

As part of its commitment to the community around it, the Hilton Hawaiian Village enters into a partnership to begin restoring the state-owned Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon fronting the hotel.  The restoration process begins with the installation of seven salt-water wells and a pumping system to improve the water flow and facilitate water turnover.  The pumps help increase the turnover to approximately five times a day – a dramatic improvement over the previous turnover of every 48 hours.  A year-long project begins to construct a walkway around the entire lagoon creating a public promenade with extensive landscaping.  

Later that year, Hilton Grand Vacations Club holds a groundbreaking on the site of what will become the 39-story Grand Waikikian Tower.  The construction is expected to last through 2008.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Today
Today, Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa is Waikiki’s only self-contained destination resort. A vacationer or conventioneer finds everything necessary for a visit to paradise, yet is also within walking distance of everything Waikiki has to offer. The resort spans 22 acres, offering the widest stretch of beach on Waikiki, a beachfront lagoon, waterfalls, five pools, gardens, an exquisite art collection, and exotic wildlife, as well as nightly entertainment including the weekly King’s Jubilee, a Friday evening Hawaiian music and dance celebration that ends with a brilliant fireworks display on the beach. The finest dining, shopping and entertainment center on Waikiki’s best beach, the Village features more than 20 restaurants and lounges, with fine cuisine ranging from Italian to Asian to traditional steak and seafood menus. The Village also boasts more than 90 shops, as well as the full-service Mandara Spa and the Holistica Hawaii Preventive Medicine Center.

Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC (HGVC) is a division of Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT), recognized as the leading global hospitality company. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, HGVC develops, markets and operates a system of brand name, high-quality vacation ownership resorts in select vacation destinations. The company also manages two innovative club membership programs, Hilton Grand Vacations Club(R) and The Hilton Club(R), providing exclusive exchange, leisure travel and reservation services for 100,000 Club Members.

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Contact:
 

Hilton Grand Vacations Company 
Elena H. Norman, 407-521-3178
enorman@hgvc.com 
 

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Also See: LaSalle Hotel Properties Reports 1st Qtr Net Income of $33.3 million, Largely Due to Gain from the Sale of the Chicago Marriott; The 25 Luxury Hotel Portfolio Produces 13.7% RevPAR Increase from Prior Year / Key Lodging Statistics / April 2006
Seattle's Alexis Hotel GM, Howard Jacobs, Offers Guests In-Line Skating Program A Morning on Wheels / Sept 1998


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