Business Monday: OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa begins new era with $60M face-lift

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OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa has gone native. Hawaiian.

The 22-acre, 511-room resort recently completed a $60 million redesign, honoring its history and embracing the essence of its home Keauhou, which means “new current” or “new era” in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language).

Native Hawaiian practitioner kumu Keala Ching conducts a blessing May 1 for the newly redesigned OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)

“The OUTRIGGER way is based on caring for host, guest and place — which includes a commitment to celebrate and share the host culture of the destination,” said resort leadership.

The phased face-lift started in 2022 following an in-depth sense of place exercise. OUTRIGGER Resorts & Hotels, which operates the Big Island resort and several other resort and hotel properties throughout Hawai‘i, Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean, do the exercise before any property transformation.

A traditional Hawaiian blessing by kumu Keala Ching was done on May 1, Lei Day in Hawai‘i, at the center of the property to commemorate the resort’s rebirth.

The new design was guided and inspired by the concept of “kōī‘au,” symbolizing a flowing current and eloquence. Ocean currents and wave motifs are incorporated into the interiors, reflecting the enchanting spirit of Keauhou Bay.


Glass artwork in shades of blue at the resort’s entrance mirrors the flowing current of the Pacific Ocean fronting the property. The rug pattern in the guest wing corridors and rooms mimics flowing currents and schools of fish. Black wooden dressers in guest rooms feature a subtle resin engraving that features waves crashing.

Light fixtures are light tones and have round edges, referencing flow and natural fibers.

A wide variety of art pieces, wayfinding motifs and fixtures are featured throughout the resort to emulate the contrasting colors and finishes of the bay and land. Artwork by local artists such as Kristine Kosmides and Margo Ray is included.

The new motif even extends to key card sleeves, guestroom door drop signage, entry pedestal and elevator cab murals.

“Like waves, the design brings the exterior into the interior and back — a true reflection of Keauhou Bay,” resort leadership said.

A look at the lobby of the newly redesigned OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)

The redesign also blends the property’s heritage and reverence for voyaging with modern aesthetics. Custom Sig Zane Designs carpet was installed in the Kaleiopapa Convention Center and free reef-safe sunscreen stations from Raw Elements are found throughout the pool areas with a custom Mike Field design.

Hawaiian culture and the historic significance of Keauhou Bay, the birthplace of King Kamehameha III, are also at the forefront of the resort’s new look, honoring the monarch’s legacy.

His rule marked a pivotal point in Hawaiian history. He embraced Western ideologies and traditional Hawaiian values, allowing the fishing village to flourish.

To exemplify that duality, key new design features include lashing on the modern-style bed frames to pay homage to Hawaiian voyaging canoes, patterns inspired by ‘ulu, historically prominent trees of the area, use of natural finishes and contrasting colors and finishes, tying together the blue ocean and black encroaching lava rock.

The iconic resort atop cliffs overlooking the bay offers breathtaking ocean vistas and a renewed dedication to authentic experiences steeped in Big Island traditions. You can find myriad landmarks in Keauhou, setting the stage for an unparalleled experience.


That includes the Hōlua Slide above the resort on the slopes of Hualālai. It is the largest and best-preserved slide made of rock in Hawai‘i.

He’e hōlua (sled surfing or land sledding) was once a popular sport in the islands. People would ride papa hōlua (sleds) made out of trees, often reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

The Hōlua Slide snakes down the mountain 1,300 feet, from the top of a hill onto the edge of Kaleiopapa Street, but archeologists estimate it once spanned 4,000 feet.

The resort team also curates OUTRIGGER Signature Experiences that encapsulate the soul of the islands — the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of Hawai‘i, deeply rooted in its traditions, history and connection to the land and sea.

The excursions allow guests to immerse themselves in island culture and environment.

OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa general manager Geoff Pearson speaks during an event May 1 celebrating the resort’s new redesign. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)

“Through meticulous design and a deep-rooted cultural narrative, OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa invites guests on a transformative journey, embodying the essence of kōī‘au — a flowing current of experiences that resonate with the captivating spirit of Keauhou Bay,” said the resort’s general manager Geoff Pearson.

You can dive into the azure waters of the Pacific to swim with majestic manta rays, an adventure only possible in a handful of places around the globe. Immerse yourself in Keauhou Bay’s history on a cultural excursion, retracing Kamehameha III’s footsteps.

There’s also the Feast & Fire Lūʻau, with mesmerizing performances by Traditions Hawai’i and ono grinds under star-studded skies.

“The redesign aimed to create a deeper connection between guests and the island’s rich tapestry of history and traditions, enhancing their experience through upgraded amenities, cultural excursions and unique adventures,” resort leadership said.

Freshly enhanced spaces such as the Voyager 47 Club Lounge and Piko Coffee & Wine Bar also add to the overall indulgence and authenticity of the guest experience.

The Piko Coffee & Wine Bar, located in the center of the resort property inspiring its name, offers more than 35 different wines featuring a variety of white, reds, rosés and champagnes sourced from California, France, Italy and New Zealand.

A custom coffee blend was made by Big Island Coffee Roasters specifically for the coffee and wine bar, and it also has a rotating option from a local roaster to showcase the many talented coffee producers on the Big Island.

Coffee from White Nēnē of Hōlualoa is the current feature, and 100% Kona coffee from Pacific Coffee Research is available for “pour-over” service.

The Piko Coffee & Wine Bar at the newly redesigned OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)

All of the coffee and tea drinks express a sense of place through their ingredients.

The Mauka Fog is a twist on The London Fog, an Earl Grey latte. The bar’s Earl Grey tea originates from Second Alarm Farm on the Big Island and is sourced from Paradise Coffee Roasters. An ube lavender syrup was developed in-house.

The Pele’s Mocha pays homage to the Hawaiian volcano goddess by incorporating local Hawaiian chilies, blending them with chocolate and cinnamon. The Ocean Latte includes salt from a local salt farm and Old Pali Road Whiskey from Ko‘olau Distillery, which could be changed to a local rum, to create an in-house caramel sauce.

The Aloha ʻĀina, an oat milk matcha latte, features earthy flavors with cucumber sage honey syrup, borrowing all of these ingredients from the resort’s garden and apiary once they become available.

The Voyager 47 Club Lounge, exclusively for Club-level guests, overlooks the black rock cliffs of Keauhou and offers complimentary daily breakfast bites and freshly brewed Kona coffee every morning. Guests can also unwind at evening receptions in the lounge and enjoy delicious pupus, beer, wine and drinks.

The club and lounge features fresh fruit and starches sourced from the Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative, such as ‘uala (sweet potato) and kalo (taro) .

Other revitalized amenities include the Kaleiopapa Convention Center, an expansive premier event venue with more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, and a game room that includes a pool table, video games and lounge setup — a perfect hangout spot for teens.

Oh, and don’t forget the adults-only and oceanfront swimming pools. Both have upgraded lounge chairs and cabanas, providing a relaxing and luxurious poolside experience.

The OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa oceanfront swimming pool. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)

The 5,200-square-foot adults-only pool has depths between 3 and 4 feet. The oceanfront pool is 8,893 square feet, with depths of 3 to 5 feet, with an area just for keiki with depths from 0 to 1.6 feet.

The oceanfront pool also has a 200-foot waterslide that adds adventure and enjoyment for the young and young-at-heart.

To top it off, all guests checking in receive metal refillable water bottles and a reusable beach bag.

“Overall, the new design, approach and amenities represent a comprehensive upgrade aimed at providing a more authentic, culturally rich experience for guests,” resort leadership said.

Rooms and suites range from 420 to 900 square feet, and include resort, partial ocean or oceanfront views.

To learn more about OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa, weekly, nightly and kamaʻāina rates or reserve a stay to experience its remarkable transformation firsthand, click here or contact your preferred travel advisor.

You can also follow OUTRIGGER Resorts & Hotels on Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter.

  • The OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)
  • The OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa has a 200-foot waterslide, perfect for adventurous keiki and adults, on its oceanfront swimming pool. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)
  • The adults-only swimming pool at the OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou. (Photo courtesy of OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa)
Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel is a full-time reporter with Pacific Media Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism as a reporter, copy editor and page designer. He previously worked at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo. Nathan can be reached at
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