Find out what makes Outrigger a rapidly growing and truly Hawaiian family-friendly chain of hotels and resorts.
Outrigger Hotels and Resorts is Hawaii’s largest chain and one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Pacific, with 56 properties in 12 countries, including Australia, Micronesia, Fiji, Tahiti, and New Zealand. Still a family-owned business after several decades, Outrigger started with the vision of Roy C. and Estelle Kelley. This couple first arrived in Hawaii, then still just an underdeveloped territory of the United States, the day the stock market crashed in 1929. At that time, Hawaii was a isolated getaway for the extremely well-to-do, but the Kelleys wanted to extend the destination to more average, middle class travelers. They opened their first hotel in Wakiki in 1947, paving the way for both future expansion and a shift in Hawaii’s path as a tourism destination.
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, with Richard Kelley (Roy and Estelle’s son) as Chairman and David Carey (Richard Kelley’s son-in-law) as CEO, today continues to expand into new territory by extending beyond Hawaii and into other parts of the Pacific.
Family-Friendly & Filled with the Aloha Spirit
In Hawaii, the options for staying at an Outrigger hotel or resort are abundant. On Oahu, the Outrigger Waikiki and the Outrigger Reef in Honolulu represent the chain. Outrigger’s impressive Keauhou Beach Resort is located on the Big Island in Kailua-Kona. Fourteen Outrigger condo/all-suite resorts are now scattered throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including several on Maui and the deluxe Kiahuna Plantation on Kauai.
The company has identified the 25 features most requested by families, like spacious rooms, refrigerators, laundry facilities, and proximity to the beach, and has rated all of its properties in Hawaii to certify those that are truly family friendly. All 17 Outrigger-branded properties in Hawaii have received Outrigger’s “Family Friendly Certification.”
Outrigger’s extensive presence in Hawaii owes much to what the chain calls the “Aloha Spirit,” an evocation and preservation of Hawaiian culture, values, and tradition. Outrigger employees receive extensive training that includes education about place, tracing through history the literal spot where their hotel or resort stands. This understanding of place translates into warm hospitality for guests, since employees care about their property in a holistic sense. In addition, amenities and activities available to Outrigger’s guests are also often distinctly Hawaiian.
In 2006, the Outrigger Waikiki and Outrigger Reef both won certificates of merit from the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s “Keep It Hawaii” awards for their programs and workshops emphasizing local culture. Kid-friendly versions of such programs in the past have included kids’ cooking classes at Outrigger Keauhou Beach, and new programs are being developed and added seasonally at different properties.
The Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation children’s program is one example of a resort offering that both emphasizes family-friendliness and incorporates local culture. In cooperation with the Sheraton Kaui Resort next door, this program offers kids 4 to12-years-old a variety of activities like hula lessons, lei making, fishing, and arts and crafts. Children’s activity programs and various kid-oriented perks are available at several other Outrigger Hotels and Resorts around the world.
Encouraging Island Explorers
For 2006, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii continues to offer its Island Explorer Kit, a brightly colored backpack full of fun stuff, including the popular “Friends of the Reef Adventure Book” produced in partnership with Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Future Society. Each guest 5 to 10-years-old receives an Island Explorer Kit upon arrival when their parents have booked a stay of three or more nights.
The program is part of Outrigger’s latest tools to explore Hawaii’s rich ecology. The backpack is made of durable bright blue weather-resistant nylon colorfully decorated with sea creatures. Inside the backpack, kids will find the “Friends of the Reef Adventure Guide” and a “Lets Explore Hawaii” workbook that was written by the University of Hawaii exclusively for Outrigger. To aid kids in their exploration of the islands, the backpack also comes with mini binoculars and sunglasses.
“The Friends of the Reef Adventure Guide” was written by Dr. Richard Murphy, vice president of Science and Education for Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Future Society. The guide, which is an adaptation from Murphy’s book, “Coral Reefs- Cities Under the Sea,” consists of six full lessons on exploring the intricacies of the ocean, reefs, and shoreline. It even includes suggested indoor, outdoor and in the water activities. Upon completion, kids are invited to become members of the Ocean Futures Society free of charge by visiting www.oceanfutures.org.
Additionally, with Outrigger’s Family Plan, children 17 years and younger stay free when sharing a room with their parents, and most of Outrigger’s properties can accommodate up to four people in a room. For more information, call 800/688-7444 or visit www.outrigger.com.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.