Maui wildfires destroy historical hotels

Two historical Maui hotels — the Plantation Inn and Best Western Pioneer Inn — are among the many downtown Lahaina properties that have been destroyed by wildfires.

Lisa Paulson, executive director of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, confirmed the loss of both structures, though the status of other popular lodging landmarks in the area — including the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort — remains unknown.

The Plantation Inn was acquired by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, in tandem with its takeover of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, earlier this year.

Resorts in the Kaanapali area are “still standing,” according to Paulson, but have now gone days without power. Communication with some properties in Kaanapali, where several hotels and resorts still have staff and guests sheltering in place, also remains limited.

Lisa Paulson

“There is no direct communication,” Paulson said. “We are communicating via satellite phone and radios, but that’s all we have. We are looking at getting relief workers in there tomorrow to help.”

Paulson said that bus evacuations in these impacted areas remain ongoing.  
Farther south, in Wailea, hotels and resorts remain fully operational, but Paulson urged any incoming visitors to follow guidance from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“The HTA is advising that if it’s nonessential travel at this point, to please look at rebooking, because we have to go into recovery mode,” said Paulson, adding that accommodations across other parts of the island are full, housing locals who have had to seek temporary shelter. 

Paulson also encouraged those looking to help with disaster relief to consider contributing to the Maui Strong Fund, which has been set up by the Hawaii Community Foundation. 

“We’re inundated with supplies, water, food and all of that, but I think at this point, as we move into recovery, it would be wonderful if donations were filtered through a trusted organization [like the] Hawaii Community Foundation,” Paulson said.

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