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Resort and Area Timeline

The Hanalei Colony experience is truly unique among Kauai resorts. It’s not about the buildings or amenities. It’s about the place. And the experience begins before you arrive. Please review our property and area timeline to learn more about us!

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Early 1800’s

Census counts 65 Menehune living deep in the Wainiha Valley. 1842 A Wainiha Valley man named Naauole receives from his parents a small house plot and four taro fields near Kepuhi Point. His possession is later confirmed when he receives a royal patent in the Mahele, the legal process set up by Kamehameha III to distribute royal lands to all the people. This land is the location for the later Hanalei Colony Resort.


Mikahela Kekauonohi, an high cheifess of Maui and granddaughter of Kamehameha I receives a royal patent to all the common land of Wainiha in the Mahele


71 owners of individual properties within Wainiha pool their funds to form an organization, the Wainiha Hui, that buys the 15,000 acres of common land within Wainiha from Kekauonohi’s successors. This is essentially the first home owner’s association in the area.


The Wainiha Hui leases to McBryde Sugar Co. the right to use the water power of Wainiha Stream to generate electricity to power sugar operations on the south side of the island. A hydroelectric dam is built up the valley at the end of what is now “Powerhouse Road”. This is an early predecessor of today’s island electricity utility, the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative.

Early 1940’s

The US Marine Corps establishes a small U.S. Marine barracks near Kepuhi Point.


The Wainiha Hui is dissolved with heirs of the original owners and others who had purchased land from members of the Hui each receiving lots from the Hui as private property. The Nishimoto family receives Wainiha Hui lots 76 and 77 near Kepuhi Point.


A motel named “Hale Ho’omaha” (House of Hospitality) operated by the Nishimoto family near Kepuhi Point is destroyed by a tsunami.


Sherman Dowsett’s firm, Ha’ena Development Co., of Oahu buys Wainiha Hui Lots 76B and 77A and begins to create the project we now know as Hanalei Colony Resort.


The resort opens as a residential condominium called “Ha’i O Kauai Cottage Colony”. The name refers to a colony of houses on the edge of Kaua’i. The resort looks essentially the same as it does today. Purchasers own the buildings but the land is leased from the developer. Individual owners separately rent out their units. A formal rental program is not put into place until later. The restaurant is completed and operated initially as “The Anchorage” by Sherman Dowsett. It is part of the resort until the late 1970s.


The home owners association forms a communal rental program and begins to manage rental of all units as a single coordinated hotel operation.


The Dowsett Estate sells the whole property in fee simple to Ted James, a real estate broker from Honolulu. James then sells the fee simple property rights to individual condo lessees and to the homeowners’ association.


Ted James subdivides the restaurant property from the resort property. The name of the resort is legally changed to “Hanalei Colony Resort”.


Renovation of all residential buildings is completed. On September 11, Hurricane Iniki (Strong and Piercing Wind) devastates Kaua’i and severely damages HCR. There is no water or electricity for six weeks.


HCR begins to offer weekly Mai Tai parties. At first these are held at the pool and later they are moved to the Makana Room in the restaurant building.


HCR leases the restaurant facility from Charo and uses it for meeting and guest space, and then sublets it for restaurant operations. The Na Pali Art Gallery and Coffee House opens to provide a variety of Hawai’ian art, jewelry and coffee drinks.


The “Mediterranean Gourmet” begins offering a menu that adds Hawai’ian accents to traditional Mediterranean dishes, as well as a weekly luau.


The pool and barbeque area are completely remodeled and updated. Enhanced landscaping of recreation area includes a koi pond and traditional carvings.


The swimming pool and recreation area are built at the back of the property on land purchased from Ted James.


Ted James sells the restaurant parcel to Colin Forbes from Australia who operates it as “The Sandgroper.”


Hurricane Iwa (frigate bird) damages three buildings but the resort remains open.


HCR begins to offer weekly continental breakfasts at the pool. The entertainer Charo begins operation of the Restaurant as “Charo’s”. In the late 1980s, Charo leases the facility to a series of operators who then run the restaurant under a variety of names.


HCR reopens in November. It is the first resort on Kaua’i to reopen completely.


HCR’s 30th anniversary is celebrated with 3 days of events and a luau. HCR begins to offer a wedding coordination service.


The “Hanalei Day Spa” begins to offer a range of massage and wellness services. At first these are provided in the Makana Room in the restaurant building and the thatched “hale” at the beach and later move into the small cottage near the parking area.


A complete renovation of all residential buildings is finished. HCR’s 40th anniversary is celebrated with events and a dinner.


The office cottage is remodeled and expanded.


HCR begins a shuttle service to Ha’ena beaches, Hanalei Town and Princeville restaurants.