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Tsunami damage extensive at two Big Isle resorts

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 4:34 p.m. HST, Mar 16, 2011


Massive structural and infrastructure damage at the Kona Villa Resort from Friday's tsunami is so extensive that it could take weeks to determine total losses, while the reopening date for the neighboring Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has been pushed back to April 30. 

Patrick Fitzgerald, president and chief executive officer of Hualalai Resort and Kona Village Resort, said today that representatives for majority owners MSD Capital, a company formed by computer magnate Michael Dell, and Rockport Group, are meeting with insurance adjustors and building specialists to survey damage at Kona Village Resort.

"We are trying to review when it can possibly be opened again if at all," Fitzgerald said "The entire south side of the resort and most of the areas around our pond were impacted." 

Up to 20 of the 125 thatched-roofed hales at the Kona Village Resort sustained major structural damage, he said. 

"Some of them are off of their foundations," Fitzgerald said. 

Another 20 to 30 have varying levels of water damage, and furniture, carpets and landscaping are also damaged, he said. 

Kona Village's 250 employees have not worked since the resort was evacuated late Thursday. 

"They cannot return to work — it's too dangerous," he said. "Right now, they are still on the payroll. We'll meet with them later this week or early next week to give them an update. This is a different situation than what we've got at the Four Seasons Hualalai." 

Damage at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai were significant enough to postpone its reopening; however, the newer resort fared better than Kona Village Resort. The storm surge brought water, sand and debris onto the hotel grounds damaging the pool areas and landscaping. A restaurant and 12 guest rooms and suites also were damaged. 

The resort's reopening, which had been set for March 21, now will have to wait six weeks. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai general manager Robert Whitfield said concern for guest experience was the primary reason for the delay.

While the resort is closed, employees will be scheduled to work on the restoration and other projects, said Brad Packer, director of public relations at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The resort will pay its 560 employees their standard rate of pay based on an average number of hours worked per week over the past three pay periods and benefits will be maintained, Packer said. In addition to the base rate, tipped employees will receive average hourly tip/service charge over the same period, he said.

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