Four Seasons and Atlantis are among the major hotel names which have been recently tapped to share beachfront space with Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. But what is the status of these resort projects?
Rendering © Kerzner International Holdings Limited
Our good friend Werner Weiss from Yesterland.com has penned a wonderful overview of development progress in the Ko Olina area of O'ahu. Twenty-five years ago, the lagoon was designed to host up to 8 beachfront resorts. In August 2011, Aulani debuted as just the fourth Ko Olina tenant.
But things appear to be picking up setam with the recent conversion of JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa to Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina and the announcement of an Atlantis-branded resort.
For complete details, check out Disney Goes Hawaiian, Part 28: Neighbors of Aulani Past, Present, and FutureNeighbors of Aulani Past, Present, and Future at Yesterland.com.
China Oceanwide acquired the site for it in August 2016. Atlantis was officially announced in December 2016. It's reportedly a $2 billion project, so we shouldn't expect detailed constructions plans, permitting, regulatory approvals, funding from investors, and contracts with construction contractors to happen overnight. There's already been demolition on the Atlantis site.
In October 2007, Disney announced plans for the resort that would become for Aulani. For more than a year, nothing happened on the 21-acre site, but there was undoubtedly a lot of work happening elsewhere. The ground-breaking and traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony happened November 2008. Preliminary site work was underway by March 2009. Aulani welcomed its first guests in August 2011, with the resort only partially completed on the interior.
If Atlantis follows a schedule similar to Aulani, everything is fine.
Then again, plans for the $1 billion Grand Ko Olina Resort & Spa were announced in January 2005. Nothing ever happened. That 24-acre site is now the site for Atlantis.
Ah yes, the float is not a nice addition. When we were there it was hardly if ever used either.
I also am not a huge fan of the Four Seasons blocking off the the beach path heading North West from Aulani. Previously this was shared land with a nice area to walk and look down the coast. Now it is an extension to the resorts private land. I was politely told there is still a public path however, but it looked to be buried in the bushes and not exactly welcoming. Oh well.
I just hope any new developments don't spoil the atmosphere of Ko Olina with traffic and crowds. I was relieved to see the artist rendering of Atlantis was far more modest than some of their overseas resorts.