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by Dave Mark, student writer

Over the past month, the curtain has slowly risen on the much-anticipated Outrigger Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street. Actually, the curtain is only half-way up, but the results already impress.

Gone are the concrete sidewalks leading to rowdy crowds at The Red Lion and The Irish Rose. The 8-acre project, which started renovations in April 2005 and officially opened on Jan. 2, is the largest redevelopment in Waikiki history. It is anchored by five hotels; the Outrigger Reef, the Embassy Suites, the Ohana Islander, the future Trump Tower, and the Wyndham Timeshares. Outrigger, Wyndham, and Embassy are currently open for business. The only unaltered building on Lewers Street is The Imperial of Waikiki. The new Beach Walk connects nicely with the refurbished Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

At the base of the new Embassy Suites is ultra-contemporary, new three-story shopping and dining area. With gorgeous landscaping and tiki torches lighting up the night, the S-shape of the new building leaves it unrecognizable from its past. Many shops are already open, and most of the eateries are in their final phase of construction.

A stroll down the lane will show Waikiki staples such as Maui Divers and ABC store, and also new boutiques such as Oasis Lifestyle, Tabora Art Gallery, and Head to Toe. The requisite surf shop is there, with Volcom and Sunshine Swimwear ready to outfit tourists for their ocean experience. Some food items are available, with Beard Papa’s offering pastries and desserts, and Mondo Gelato, which opened Jan. 1, offering a healthier take on the Coldstone Creamery experience.

Restaurants will be moving in shortly, with some high-end eats on the menu. Roy’s Hawai‘i, Ruths Chris Steak House, Holokai Grill, and Kaiwa Waikiki are finishing up construction. The Yard House, boasting a bar and large restaurant, opened Feb. 11 in the Wyndham building.

Visitors Ray and Colleen Warmouth left the building’s fourth floor after enjoying an evening of Hawaiian music. An escalator tucked in a corner of the lobby is the final approach to the top level with a huge rooftop pool and lounge area that is easy to overlook because it extends from the corner of the shopping area all the way behind the new Embassy Suites, which opened Dec. 18. A band entertains the crowd while a waterfall, pool, and hot tub set the mood.

The new Beach Walk should be a welcome addition to the revitalized Waikiki. A bartender at the Embassy Suites pool bar said, “I had some good times getting crazy at Red Lion, but I’m also really looking forward to the new upscale atmosphere.”

More information on future opening dates and maps of the area, visit www.waikikibeachwalk.com.

Beachwalk 411

• The Beach Walk Tower is expected to have 300 to 400 residential units and cost $200 million.

• The project features a combination of 40 specialty retailers, four major restaurants, entertainment venues, vocation ownership, and four world-recognized hotels.

• The old Ohana Reef Towers located at 227 Lewers Street will be converted following a $56 million renovation to Fairfield Hawai‘i at Waikiki Beach Walk including a 195-unit vacation ownership with 96 one-bedroom units, 83 two-bedroom, and 17 two-, three- and four-bedroom luxurious presidential suites.



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