The former Trump International Hotel in Waikiki has been renamed for a second time in just a few months.
The Star Advertiser reports that new owners Hilton LXR Hotels & Resorts renamed the hotel Ka La‘i Waikiki Beach.
That’s after some Hawaiians criticized the original name it chose, Wakea Waikiki Beach. Wakea is the god of light and the heavens.
“I saw the announcement of Wakea and I was like, whoa, Wakea is such a heavy name for anything,” said Kainoa Daines of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. “It was one of those gut feelings, the feeling of the na‘au — this isn’t going to fly.”
“Ultimately, there are differing opinions regarding the application of Hawaiian names and there was concern about cultural appropriation. Although our intent was pono to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, there were those in the Native Hawaiian community who did not support the earlier direction,” Scott Ingwers , managing director of the hotel said.
Hilton hopes the new name will set the controversy aside. KITV reports within the next year, the hotel will undergo a major renovation of its 462 rooms and swimming pool. It will remain open during the construction project.
“Today now marks another beginning, as you go forward to be able now to do everything that has worked in the past has worked very well. Everyone that has stayed at this place has always come away with pleasant memories as well as a great experience. I personally, and my family, have enjoyed being here,” said Hawaii Tourism Board Chairman Mufi Hannemann.
The new name of Ka La’i represents peace and calm.
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