In a move that sends either shivers of delight or shudders of loathing among fans of
The 800-plus-unit property, dubbed “Aulani, a
The 21-acre resort is being built in
Aulani is a different kind of development for
the first that isn’t linked to a theme park or its cruise line. The
hotel will be far from the famous tourist areas and beaches of
In a video presentation posted on YouTube,
“Now the word ‘aulani’ specifically means a
messenger of a chief … but when you use it to apply to a place like
we are making, it means the place is going to speak, to speak on behalf
of something greater than itself. In this case, that greater thing is
The YouTube video is typical of the buzz-building word-of-mouth campaign
Word was released through a
Customers will have to wait awhile to actually visit — the resort isn’t going to open its doors until
The images and video show a resort that will include an A-frame entryway that echoes the Polynesian resort at
“imagineers” to be embedded with subtle images of culturally
significant Hawaiian animals and legends. It’s the centerpiece of the
water park portion of the property.
There will representations of menehune, the mythical
small people of Hawaiian culture who were said to come out at night to
build structures (the Menehune Ditch on
is the most famous example). The menehune will be the Hawaiian resort’s
version of “hidden Mickeys” — tucked away in spots around the property
where children can find them in a kind of hide-and-seek visual treasure
hunt. The hotel will have a pool and water play area, a “lazy river”
for tubing, a snorkeling lagoon, a children’s club, restaurants and
perhaps the key — a convention center.
sure-footed with its plans, though its success is usually in building a
fantasy world removed from reality. An African adventure park in
Much of Rohde’s Imagineering work has been in
A resort that incorporates Polynesian design is a welcome addition to
the soulless tower blocks that have marked much of hotel development in
But Rohde is upping the stakes, and
An overblown, pretentious presentation of Hawaiian culture would attract a lot of criticism.
The danger here is that
(c) 2010, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Visit the Register on the World Wide Web at http://www.ocregister.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.