Hotel Guests Benefit Too
Even as the Vacation Club guests will begin to arrive and enjoy the new look and feel of the property, so too will hotel guests benefit. In addition to the refreshed guest rooms and common areas, a new lobby level restaurant called Aku Ula (Red Sunset) is expected to open mid-July. It will serve specialty coffees, pastries, and grab-and-go food during the day; and a farmto- table menu at dinner. Overseen by longtime executive chef Jayson Kanekoa — whose family has been farming on the island for generations — the new menu will focus on smaller plates served pupu style, and ingredients such as locally farmed boutique lettuce and tomatoes, and locally made boutique ice cream. The emphasis on local ingredients is something currently found at the resort’s three-meal restaurant, Hawaii Calls, but the new outlet will take the concept a few steps further. “Everything at Aku Ula will be focused on the Big Island,” Yannarell says. “We’ll have torch-lighting seven days a week, and live music. It will be eclectic and fun, and from the lobby level the sunsets are amazing!” Meanwhile, Hawaii Calls is receiving new flooring and furniture, and the Paniolo Ballrooms are likewise being freshened up. The last major renovation to the property was in 2007.