Coco Palms in its current state of disrepair. Photo by Adrian Sear.
Kauai’s hidden gem…
Kauai has always been cherished for its natural splendor and ability to dissolve the stresses of the outside world. Long before the popular visitor destination spots of sunny Poipu on the south-side or the breathtaking bluffs and vistas of Princeville up north, there was a magical hotel on the east-side that opened its doors way back in 1953. This hotel and its guests were greeted each morning by the amazing sunrises that bless this side of the island and was THE number one spot to stay on Kauai for decades.
Home to visiting royalty and movie stars alike, this hotel was host to many cherished memories made on beautiful Kauai. Even though the majority of the timeless epic “South Pacific” was filmed on the distant Makua Beach in Haena and the bluffs overlooking Hanalei Bay, the cast was transported daily up there for filming and then luxuriated at this prestigious hotel every evening. Moloa’a Bay on Kauai’s north-eastern shoreline may have been home to the stranded SS Minnow from the most televised TV Show of all time (Gilligan’s Island), but the cast and crew were truly “stranded” at this hotel, while they shot the pilot 50 years ago. This hotel was also used in a large portion of Elvis’s most successful and adored movie from 1961 “Blue Hawaii” and it was where the wedding scenes were filmed. The hotel is none other than the Coco Palms Hotel of Wailua.
Nestled among one of the largest coconut groves on the islands of Hawaii and flanked by the aquamarine blue of Wailua Bay and by the meandering Wailua River to the south, its location is nothing less than timeless and magical. The area’s history goes far beyond the hotels; it was the spiritual center for Kauai and its royalty for over a thousand years.
The hotel was hit very hard by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and has not reopened since. The great news is that an Oahu hui is looking at restoring this historical hotel, and they just received the blessing from the County of Kauai this week for an ordinance to be extended. This will allow the developers to move forward with their planning. We hope the magic of Coco Palms will be brought back to all of its former glory, ambiance and charm. From the aloha spirit that the hotel was so well known for, to the tradition of the “lighting of the torches & conch shell announcement” that dinner was about to be served, we all look forward to this special hotel reopening its doors and welcoming guests new and old, back onto its grounds.