Global firm to rebuild controversial Coco Palms resort by 2026; promotes ’boutique luxury setting’

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A rendering of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ planned resort on the Coco Palms property. Photo Courtesy: IHG Hotels & Resorts

A global hospitality company on Wednesday announced plans to build its first Hawai‘i location – on the controversial site of the former Coco Palms resort on the East Side of Kaua‘i, which has stood derelict since its destruction via hurricane in 1992.

IHG Hotels & Resorts – headquartered in England – intends to rebuild Coco Palms under its Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants brand, and with plans to open the new resort in 2026.

The original Coco Palms resort famously catered to Hollywood royalty including Rita Hayworth and Gene Autry; Elvis Presley filmed his 1961 musical “Blue Hawai‘i” on its grounds. However, the area also occupies a major space within Native Hawaiian history and culture.


Community group I Ola Wailuanui is leading a local initiative to forestall construction of a new resort in favor of a community cultural center. Its efforts before county and state land use bodies have largely been stymied.

IHG Hotels & Resorts touted “a historically sensitive restoration of the iconic property” providing “an authentic, culturally rich experience.” The company also claimed the rebuilt resort will include a cultural center and museum.

“Hawai‘i beckons travelers seeking both relaxation and discovery, and this wholly reimagined resort will welcome not only visitors, but also the local community, with unique, culturally respectful experiences all within an inspiring boutique luxury setting,” said Leanne Harwood, managing director for “Luxury & Lifestyle Americas” at IHG Hotels & Resorts.


When it opens, the rebuilt Coco Palms resort will become “the west coast resort flagship” for Kimpton business in the Americas.


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