Maui hotels pitch in with recovery efforts

Maui’s lodging industry has played a pivotal role in early recovery efforts, with Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announcing a no-cost hotel program for locals displaced by wildfires.

An initial 500 hotel rooms have been secured and made available. Additional rooms have been made available to temporarily house first responders. 

Green added that his office was working with Airbnb to turn short-term rentals listed on the platform into longer-term lodging options. Green said he expected “hundreds” of Airbnb rentals to be available for displaced individuals receiving housing subsidies.

According to an Aug. 13 update from the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA), many hotels across West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings.

“At this time, many hotels are housing their employees and families until the fires in West Maui are fully contained and travel on the roadways is safe,” said the MHLA. “These same hotels are preparing to house evacuees and first responders working on disaster recovery.”

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While West Maui hotels and resorts in Kaanapali and Kapalua remained intact, the same couldn’t be said for many properties in the hard-hit Lahaina historic district. 

Among downtown Lahaina’s more than 2,700 structural losses were two longtime lodging landmarks: the Best Western Pioneer Inn and the Plantation Inn. The Pioneer Inn was built in 1901 while the Plantation Inn opened its doors in 1987.

The Plantation Inn had recently been acquired by Outrigger Resorts & Hotels along with the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

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