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Former Kona Seaside Hotel to reopen as Pacific 19 Kona

KONA — Another longstanding hotel in Kona has changed ownership and is undergoing renovations and rebranding.

Nine Brains Big Island LLC obtained the lease for the Kona Seaside Hotel last year, and has been remodeling the 122-room hotel with an anticipated April 1 opening day. The new boutique hotel, on the corner of Palani Road and Kuakini Highway, will be known as Pacific 19 Kona.

“We are working with Honolulu-based design team The Vanguard Theory to renovate the hotel (built in 1972), which includes the lobby, guest rooms, and public spaces,” said Nine Brains Managing Partner James Evans. “When designing Pacific 19 Kona, we wanted to create something that speaks closely to Hawaii without being cliché, and not go the corporate brand route.”

She said they are aiming to attract a new generation of traveler who is digitally savvy and connected, is searching for local authentic experiences, and prefers thoughtful design versus traditional luxury, all wrapped in a value-oriented hotel stay.

Evans and Thibert Lussiaa of Nine Brains are the managing partners in the venture and bring local expertise to enhance guests experiences.

“Nine Brains has a deep-rooted connection to Kona through co-founder and managing partner Lussiaa, who grew up in Kona and was a competitive and highly awarded paddler prior to starting his hospitality career,” said Evans. “Today, he continues to give back to the local community through WeGo!, his nonprofit foundation that aims to help athletically talented youth from low income homes in Hawaii.”

Evans pointed out Alii Drive has lacked investment in recent years and become largely oriented toward servicing the cruise ship crowds that surge in and out. That means lots of ubiquitous T-shirt and gift shops, with a spattering of bars and restaurants that not many locals frequent.

“We hope that Pacific 19 helps take a step towards elevating Alii Drive’s offerings, attracting a new generation of more conscious travelers, and regains local’s interest not only through its own art and culture offerings, but also by attracting new restaurants and retail concepts to the area,” he said.

Evans said the Pacific 19 concept is about inspiring guests to experience all that Hawai‘i Island has to offer.

“We’re not trying to keep guests busy with on property resort amenities and programming all the time, but instead we want to recommend the best places to eat, activities to do, and local partners to check out around the island,” he said. “We feel that the best way for our hotel to be successful is to ensure that our surrounding community is thriving as well, ensuring a virtuous circle and providing an overall elevated travel experience for guests who stay with us.”

Lussiaa says he feels very blessed and grateful to be a part of the iconic Kona Seaside Hotel.

“I will do my best as a steward of the property to firstly honor the Greenwell family who owned this amazing corner property since the 1800, and secondly to the Kona community by instilling the culture of Aloha and the importance of ‘ohana feeling to every travelers and Kama’aina that stays with us,” he said. “I also see it as a gift and an opportunity to really be able to serve a purpose beyond the normal corporate brand name by creating a well thought design and concept that will reflect the Big Island for the new generation to come.”

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Source: The Garden Island

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