|The Honolulu AdvertiserMcClatchy-Tribune
September 16, 2009 - Nearly 350 employees are back to work at the St. Regis Princeville Resort in preparation for the hotel's reopening on Sept. 26. The hotel closed one year ago for renovation work and re-branding as Hawai'i's first St. Regis property.
General Manager Milton Sgarbi said 96.4 percent of the previous Princeville Resort staff has returned, some to their prior jobs, others in new positions. Sgarbi said that during the hotel's closure, all employees were kept on the company's medical insurance.
Watching employees greet each other and look around the property excitedly, Sgarbi said, "See this energy? That's what we were missing (during the closure). At the end of the day, the biggest asset we have is right here: the staff. They made this place successful before and they will again."
The hotel's grand opening is scheduled for Oct. 1. "Reservations are picking up," Sgarbi said. A gala evening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of films of the Pacific, including a visit from actress Mitzi Gaynor who starred in "South Pacific," filmed on Kaua'i, will take place Oct. 3. Kama'aina rates of $195 per night are available through Oct. 3.
The staff is currently going through intensive training, or "immersion" in the St. Regis brand. "It's anticipating the guests' needs," Sgarbi said. "It's service beyond expectations."
The remodeled hotel features extensive woodwork throughout, creating a warm feeling.
"I think it's more residential feeling now. It's more Hawaiian in influence, much warmer," said Rosemary Caldwell, director of food and beverage, whom many will recognize as she has worked at the property for 23 years.
Makana Terrace, the location of the former Cafe Hanalei, will be open on Sept. 26 and will serve Kaua'i and Hawai'i grown food. Poolside Nalu Grill will also be open. Kaua'i Grill, the hotels fine dining establishment, is scheduled to open Nov. 1.
For more information, visit www.stregisprinceville.com.
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