Waikiki Hotels Prepare for Hurricane Lane

Aug 25, 2018

Waikiki Beach on Thursday, August 23
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Tourists in Waikiki are weathering the storm as Hurricane Lane moves closer to O’ahu.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.   

Elaine D'Sa from San Francisco would like to leave Hawai'i early
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

There are an estimated 70-80-thousand tourists in Waikiki on any given day.  Elaine D’Sa from San Francisco is sitting on the beach under cloudy skies and a slight drizzle, looking out at a choppy ocean.

“I just made a decision to come, based on the information I got, saying it was going to be downgraded and it’s going to track away from the islands.  But, we got here to find out that it’s getting worse. I think I want to get out of here but I’ve been trying to get flights out of here. It’s impossible.”

The Boone family from Sydney, Australia, on their 2-week vacation
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Chip Boone, his wife Kirsten, and their two daughters, are from Sydney Australia. They’re enjoying their last day on Waikiki Beach.

“It’s just an annual family holiday and we go somewhere and this time it was Hawai’i. We had a great time here so far. We spend 5 days on the North Shore and 7 days here.  So, we leave on Friday.  Hopefully. If the plane can fly, we’ll fly and, if not, we’ll probably have a longer holiday.  What can you do?  If it comes it comes.”

Jerry Dolak, director of Security and Safety, Outrigger Resorts
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Meanwhile, Outrigger Resorts director of security and safety, Jerry Dolak, oversees the 10 Outrigger properties in Waikiki, currently under the threat of Hurricane Lane.  

“We’re treating it as a hurricane coming straight although the predicted course is a turn left but we prepare for the worst case scenario.  For example, on the beach front we have storm barriers and storm curtains to protect us from wind, rain, storm surge, but then we also have backup generators which can power the hotel for a couple of days.  So we’re good in that area.”

Outrigger has an Emergency Management Team that sets out plans and priorities for most contingencies, from bad weather to a nuclear attack.  For Hurricane Lane, Outrigger employees will be housed at the hotels and be available throughout the storm.  Dolak says customers will not go hungry and will get what they want to eat, when they want to eat it.

“And they realize that it’s gonna be a 24-to-36-hour timeframe of their two-week vacation, they can deal with this because the hotel will accommodate them, they’re not gonna kick them out to a shelter, overnight.  The staff is going to entertain them.  They’re gonna enjoy themselves regardless.”

Jorge Zamarron from San Jose is on his 5th trip to Hawai'i
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

On Waikiki Beach, Jorge Zamarron from San Jose is visiting for the 5thtime.

“My grandmother came out.  This is her first time.  Well she’s kinda taking it all in.  She’s at the hotel right now, resting and getting her prepared for whatever’s gonna happen.  I think we’re just gonna keep our eyes open –you know – see what’s happening and try to be safe.”

The Outrigger’s Dolak says they will be taken care of.

“Those return visitors know that we’ve got this.  You know, we can handle this and it’s just a small glitch in their longer vacation.  We’re ready.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.