Westin Maui renovation done; more work on way

The Westin Maui Resort & Spa recently completed a $70 million renovation of a 500-plus-room tower but is looking to do more over the next few years, with plans to add 400 parking stalls and to expand other key buildings on the property, its general manager said Thursday.

The renovation of the resort’s Ocean Tower, which has 553 guest rooms and suites, was completed in March and features new furnishings, glass-enclosed showers and redesigned balconies.

“We gutted that building right down to the studs in the wall and rebuilt the whole building,” Gregg Lundberg said. “We replaced electrical, water, wastewater and put in a new fire alarm system; it’s a brand new building. The difference is remarkable.”

The project took about a year to complete and has won praise from customers and workers, Lundberg said. He said 90 percent of the work involved the interior of structures – the exceptions being the balconies and the repainting of the building – which helped limit the disturbance to the pool, spa and restaurant users.

“Customers are very happy with it, and our engineers and mechanical guys are all happy, because there’s brand new equipment so maintenance is much easier,” he said of the renovated Ocean Tower. “It’s working out really well.”

The future $55 million project calls for a new 3- to 4-story parking garage to be built on top of an existing self-parking lot and expansion to the resort’s Haleakala Ballroom and spa.

Lundberg said there are three key reasons for the parking garage expansion.

First, the hotel leases parking space for workers at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, meaning that there is a decent walk to work. Second, when the hotel is at full capacity, the resort has to offer complimentary valet parking at Whalers Village to visitors and guests at because the lot is full. Finally, Lundberg said, the hotel wants to “be more competitive with catering” and needs more parking stalls for large groups and businesses looking to hold events at the Westin.

The hotel hopes to triple the size of its ballroom from roughly 4,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet, which also will help attract large groups and businesses looking for event space, he said.

“It makes us a little more competitive in the market when you have facilities” that attract bigger clients, Lundberg said.

As for the spa, plans call for a 4,200-square-foot expansion of the women’s locker room and treatment room area to the current 15,000-square-foot facility.

The Westin Hotels and Resorts brand is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Lundberg said that the company “put some serious money” into the two projects to meet consumer expectations. This continues a long list of improvements to the hotel since its original rebranding and reopening in 1987 as a Westin property.

The hotel initially opened as the Maui Surf Hotel in 1971 but closed for major enhancements in 1985, according to Sumithra Balraj, director of public relations at Westin. Enhancements included construction of the Beach Tower and five outdoor pools.

In the past two years, the resort has welcomed two new restaurants, a business center, fitness and workout rooms, and a redesign of its 20,000-square-foot Aloha Pavilion, where events are held.

Plans for the parking lot, ballroom and spa expansion are currently under review for a special management area permit, which Lundberg expects to take a year, and a building permit, which could take six months to a year to obtain.

“There’s still some pretty big hurdles out there before we can worry about scheduling” construction, he said.

* Chris Sugidono can be reached at csugidono@mauinews.com.