[ Coco Palms ]   Remembering and Reviving the
Coco Palms Hotel
Kauai, Hawaii
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Mahalo to Christopher Robertson of British Columbia for sharing these great memories and photos of the Coco Palms.

Christopher & Christine were married in Lihue, Kauai in April of 1991 and went on to spend a few wonderful days in the Queen's Cottage at the Coco Palms Resort. Short as their stay was, the memories will never be forgotten and were well recorded on the family camera.

Coco Palms by Christopher Robertson - 1960

Christopher shares with us some fond memories from his 1960 Visit to the Coco Palms with his parents.

Although I cannot remember his name, there was a big Hawaiian fellow who worked for the resort in 1960, who told me that he also dove for black coral. He was part of the torch lighting crew and a fabulous musician.

After dinner, the young people, including myself, would gather around the front of the hotel just off Kuhio Highway and he would play his guitar and sing to us. He also told me that he was actually not supposed to be diving since he had already had the bends but the money was just so good for black coral that he could not resist.

Having been there on that first visit in 1960 for such a long period, I remember it felt like living at the resort! The food was always incredible and the staff so nice to us young people.

My parents (Alan & Mary) had a corner suite on the second floor of the big building with windows that faced toward the lagoon & Wailua River side of the resort.

I can remember as clear as day going up to their room just before dinner and it suddenly pouring with rain only to stop seconds before we all went over to the main dinning room.

Best of all were those canoe paddles in the lagoon and I do remember thinking on one that I never wanted to leave but felt great that we still had months to go!!!

In 1960, shark teeth necklaces were all the rage! These where not real but all of us young kids just had to have them. The big Hawaiian fellow who I mentioned earlier had a real one of course and great stories to go along with it!!!

The store at Coco Palms was a place that I often visited. When Chris and I went back in 1991, we bought our Coco Palms T shirts there and lots of postcards.

We also questioned the store attendant about the current state of the hotel. She sadly reflected that it was not a good one and that everything was on hold waiting to see what the owner would be doing. Fortunately, this did not dampen our spirits one bit!!!!

The Robertson's 2001 Anniversary Coco Palms Visit

Chris & I also made a special trip back to Coco Palms, post Iniki in 2001 (our 10th wedding anniversary) and once again I applied my camera.

News of Iniki devastating Kauai came to us on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada almost immediately as it was happening and of course all of us were wondering how Coco Palms Resort had fared.

In the years that followed, we got varying reports, some saying that the property was far beyond repair and others, that seemed more hopeful that it could be brought back.

Late in 2000, Chris and I decided to return to Coco Palms ourselves and to do it on our 10th wedding anniversary since the resort had been such a part of our honeymoon in 1991. We booked to be there in April, 2001 and I can remember being excited in spite of my apprehension!

On April 8th, we landed in Kauai but decided not to visit the property until the next morning. At noon on the 9th, we drove down from our hotel to the Coco Palms site.

From my 2001 Journal:

I parked our rental car just north of the Coco Palms property and we hiked down to the ocean side of the road until we came to the Coco Palms Seashell Restaurant.

A close inspection of this building simply amazed me. Still, I do feel it could be resurrected. Across the street Chris and I could just see the beginning of the Coco Palms main building. We ran across the street and peered through the shrubs and trees.

Not only had the storm of 1992 caused incredible damage but worse still was the fact that the building, now left unattended for the better part of 10 years, was showing terrible signs of total dilapidation.

A once magnificent and huge structure, three-floors high, lay in a state of deplorable disrepair. Through dirty weather beaten windows, we could still see evidence of suite furniture and both hanging and standing lamps. Even the odd picture could be seen still hanging on the wall. The roof was, for the most part still covering the better part of the building but in places, pieces had been ripped off and were lying on the grass below.

We continued walking south along the road, and where there were breaks in the bushes we could see the driveway and the long building behind. Finally, we arrived at the main entrance just off Kuhio Highway. From this vantage point, we could walk into the southwest parking lot and about 300 yards back into the property.

As I looked down the big driveway north into the Coco Palms Resort, I saw the overhead covered crossing, which was on one side of the gift shop and on the other as I recall, was the access to the main reception area. This all looked to be still all very much intact.

The roadway onto the property was clear and on the other side of the main building, we could see the restaurant where we had enjoyed the fantastic Hawaiian Pork Spit Roasted dinners while listening to Mr. Larry Rivera!

All still looked so peaceful and serene on that beautiful placid lagoon. In fact, with a little imagination, this part of the resort was much like it had been in 1991 when Chris and I walked the grounds.

The palm grove and lagoon had not really changed in what we could see. We went down so that we could better view what was left of the cottages. Once again all seemed to be OK.

I really would have liked to go inside the buildings but we felt that it wasn't our place to do so and besides, they could have well have been structurally unsafe. The Queen's Cottage was still in place and my memories cruised back to the two delightful nights Chris and I had enjoyed there.

With these views established, we agreed that we had seen enough and walked back to the main parking area entrance where Chris took one last snap of myself with the Coco Palms sign. We said our goodbyes to this old familiar friend and headed back to our hotel.

As sad as it had been to visit Coco Palms this time around, we both felt pleased to have seen it one last time.

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