Prior to 1986
The vision for Waikoloa was originally created in the 1960s and 1970s through land purchased by Boise Cascade Corp.'s real estate subsidiary, headed by Ron Boeddeker, and later Mr. Boeddeker's company, Transcontinental. Mr. Boeddeker envisioned "a terrain of lush seaside golf courses and rainless rain forests with two hotels, more than 400 condominium units and a shopping center" on the 35,000 acres. 1
Mr. Boeddeker gathered investors to finance the grand project, including hotel developer Chris Hemmeter. 2
Mr. Hemmeter became the principal developer of a relatively small portion of the 35,000 acres, the 62 acres surrounding Waiulua Bay. This is the area that would become Hyatt Regency Waikoloa, and later Hilton Waikoloa Village. Originally sketched on a cocktail napkin, various models and plans were created to design a resort hotel unlike anywhere else on earth—on an island that is unique with its own rich culture, an active volcano, rain forests, waterfalls, valleys, snow-capped peaks and warm beaches. 3
Construction begins, turning a 127-year old lava flow into a tropical oasis—a world of experiences with boats, trams, dolphins, pools, spa, a museum quality art collection and influences from cultures around the Pacific.
Towards the end of the year, resort development is progressing well with work focusing on Palace Tower and Ocean Tower, as well as service buildings and underground infrastructure.
The following year, work begins on Lagoon Tower and Main Lobby and continues on Palace Tower and Ocean Tower—this groundbreaking oceanfront resort was now at an advanced stage, attracting huge interest from the media.
Hundreds of palm trees are rescued from active lava flows on the opposite side of the island and flown by helicopter to the resort. Construction continues on all towers. Work begins on pools, the unique tram and boat systems, and landscaping.
Art is acquired from around the Pacific, including marble sculptures from a remote mine 300 miles north of Beijing, China where Waikoloa representatives journeyed. It would be the start of one of the world’s largest hotel art collections.
The resort opens as Hyatt Regency Waikoloa, welcoming guests including celebrities, heads of state, and executives. Initial amenities include carriages drawn by Clydesdale horses and private butlers in the five presidential suites.
The resort is sold to Global Resort Partners in a deal worth a $76million. Following the sale, the company changes the resort’s name to Hilton Waikoloa Village as it is known today.
Hilton Hotels Corporation purchases 100% of the resort in a deal reportedly worth a massive $150million—making Hilton Waikoloa Village completely owned and managed by Hilton.
New developments to the resort include the new Hale Aloha wedding chapel and a new fresh seawater pumping system for the canal ways. Switching systems and tram cars from the original tram system are replaced in 2009 with new air-conditioned trams using advanced electronics and safety systems.
Lagoon Tower underwent a complete renovation including knocking down walls and running new support systems throughout the building. The result is a fresh, modern Hawaiian experience for our guests, with plans to renovate Palace and Ocean Towers in the next few years.
The resort celebrates 20 years as Hilton Waikoloa Village, and just over 25 years since the doors first opened. With an appreciation for our heritage, team members and guests who have shaped the history of the resort, we look to the future with a renewed focus on delivering the most unique experiences, rich culture and diverse activities anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands.