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Royal Kona Resort (Kona Hilton)
Intended to evoke the slope of Mauna Loa, the sleek, white, Royal Kona Resort swoops up seven stories from its oceanfront site on Paakai Point. The open-air first story, the tapa-inspired designs on the terrazzo floors, chandeliers composed of large, carved fish-hooks, and Japanese paper lanterns further connect the building to its Hawaii setting. The courtyards of the two adjoining six-story towers faintly echo those at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (HA74).
The Kona Hilton, the first major national hotel chain to open on the island of Hawaii, became the largest hotel on the island with the completion of the first of its two towers in 1969. One of the few major resort hotels in Hawaii without a beach, the owners remedied nature's omission in 1969 when work was started on a saltwater enclave with sand brought in to make a beach.
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