Waikiki Biltmore Hotel

The Waikiki Biltmore Hotel was a resort hotel in Waikīkī, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, that operated from 1955 to 1974. The Biltmore was the first high-rise hotel on Waikīkī but operated for only 19 years, after which it was demolished and replaced with the Hyatt Regency.[1]

Waikiki Biltmore Hotel
General information
Address2424 Kalākaua Avenue
Town or cityHonolulu, Hawaiʻi
CountryUnited States
Coordinates21°16′34″N 157°49′31″W / 21.27611°N 157.82528°W / 21.27611; -157.82528
GroundbreakingNovember 1953
OpenedFebruary 19, 1955
DemolishedMay 28, 1974
Technical details
Floor count11
Design and construction
Architect(s)D.N. Ivanitsky and R.G. Waanabe
DeveloperJoseph Greenbach
Main contractorSawai Brothers
Other information
Number of rooms274

History edit

Permits were filed for an eight-story hotel in March 1953, with groundbreaking taking place in November of that year.[2] Joseph Greenbach constructed the building, which opened on February 19, 1955. Construction cost $4 million.[3][4] The hotel was built on the site of Canlis Charcoal Broiler, the first restaurant opened by Peter Canlis, which opened in 1947.[5] The opening was met with great fanfare, including a flight from California chartered by Greenbach.[6]

The hotel opened with 247 rooms, featuring amenities such as the Top of the Isle club on the 11th floor, the Kiki Room, and the Luau Lounge.[3] D.N. Ivanitsky and R.G. Wanabe were the architects of record.[7]

In late 1955, Greenbach sold the hotel to Massaglia Hotels, Inc.[8]

The hotel was sold again to the Kimi chain, operator of the Hukilau hotels, in 1966 for $2.5 million. The Kimi owners spent $100,000 on a renovation, but a planned renaming never occurred.[9]

In 1973, a man fired a shot at a woman sitting at an adjacent hotel from a room at the Biltmore.[10]

The hotel suffered a small fire on the 10th floor in August 1973 caused by a discarded cigarette, and a larger fire in November 1973 that destroyed the second-story Port O' Paradise nightclub.[11]

Closure and demolition edit

The King's Alley shopping center opened near the hotel in 1972, and after the hotel's purchase by developer Christopher Hemmeter there were plans to renovate the hotel as part of a $20 million area rejuvenation.[12][13] In 1973, the hotel began offering monthly rentals due to an oversupply of hotel rooms.[14] By 1974, the plans had changed to redevelop the hotel as two 40-story towers, which became the Hyatt Regency.[15]

The hotel was imploded at 8 a.m. on May 28, 1974.[4]

References edit

  1. ^ Bone, Robert W. (May 25, 1974). "Memories of a hotel's past". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com. 
  2. ^ "Application filed for million-dollar hotel". Honolulu Advertiser. March 3, 1953. p. 1.; "Waikiki-Biltmore Site". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. November 7, 1953. p. 14.
  3. ^ a b "Waikiki Biltmore captures island charm". Honolulu Advertiser. February 19, 1955. p. 11.
  4. ^ a b "Biltmore demolition set for Tuesday". The Honolulu Advertiser. May 25, 1974.
  5. ^ "Nostalgia reigns as Canlis' celebrates quarter century". Honolulu Advertiser. March 12, 1972.
  6. ^ "Greenbach Sons join father in hotel project". Honolulu Advertiser. February 19, 1955. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Hotel architect among special guests on plane". Honolulu Advertiser. February 19, 1955. p. B4.
  8. ^ "Hukilau Owners seek Biltmore". Honolulu Advertiser. December 15, 1965. p. A26.
  9. ^ "Kimi Chain buys Waikiki Biltmore". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. March 21, 1966. p. 28.
  10. ^ "13 Feb 1974, 25 - The Honolulu Advertiser at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2022-07-04.
  11. ^ "Minor loss in hotel fire". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. August 29, 1973. p. 3.; "$300,000 fire in Waikiki". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. November 30, 1970. p. B3.
  12. ^ "business indicators". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 23 June 1972. p. B7.
  13. ^ "Pair of 40-story hotels to go up near King's Alley". Honolulu Advertiser. February 21, 1974.
  14. ^ "Hulapaluzas". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. January 21, 1973. p. 5.; "Missed Opportunity". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. November 24, 1972. p. 18.
  15. ^ Wright, Carl (February 21, 1974). "Waikiki's Biggest Project in Works". Honolulu Star-Bulletin.