Our Kauai Hotel History Celebrates Over 100 Years of Island HospitalityStep back in time to the Hawaii of yesterday. Set on three tropical acres at the end of Nawiliwili Bay, this plantation Inn was the first on Kaua'i and retains an old Hawaiian charm. The Kaua'i Inn was the first hotel on Kaua'i, when John Wayne and the cast of Donovan's Reef relaxed poolside talking with guests.
Moments in History
1890Newspaper article stating that the original Kaua'i Inn called the Fairview Hotel at the time opened in 1890 and was ran by a Mr. Spitz. Before the hotel was built travelers relied on the hospitality of Kaua'i residents. It later became known as the Lihue Hotel.
1925In 1925 the Lihue Hotel, originally known as the Fairview Hotel, opened.
1935An overview of the Kaua'i Inn's tropical gardens and scenery with pool side lanai.
1940During this time reservations could only be made by mail or overseas cable.
1950A luau held for 150 travel agents hosted by the Kaua'i Inn, which offered a room with all meals for $5 a day. This Hawaiian extravaganza was held in the Kaua'i Inn pool area with blossoms floating on the water's surface.
1950The Gift Lanai at the Kaua'i Inn featuring an ad of the latest trends during the 1950s. The advertisement included bathing suits for $6.95 and sundresses at $4.95.
1956The Miss Kauai Contest was held at the Kaua'i Inn's pool lanai area and at the Kaua'i High School gym. Pictured here are contestants from the Miss Kauai Contest before meeting with judges for a personality contest.
1991In 1991 the Kaua'i Inn was finally finished after nearly 3 million dollars was invested in years of renovations. The new pool, refinished landscape, and remodeled buildings helped to enhance the Kaua'i Inn's tropical atmosphere.
1991An advertisement for room specials at the Kaua'i Inn starting at $69 and for $10 more you can receive a rental car. Since then prices have defiantly gone up for both rooms and rental cars in Hawaii.
1992Here is a magazine article discussing the newly done Kaua'i Inn with all of its modern amenities at the time.
Almost a year after renovations Kaua'i was hit by possibly one of the worst hurricanes of its history. Hurricane Iniki reported winds up to 225 miles/hour atop Kokee. Owners of the Kauai Inn were devastated by the disaster. Soon after Tom and Jami McKnight found themselves owners of the hotel which didn't even have a roof at the time.
1993Immediately the new owners, the McKnight family, went to work on the Kaua'i Inn. Buildings were moved further apart to take advantage of the 3 acres. New foundations were poured of concrete while plastic tarps served as temporary roofs until time allowed for the construction of new ones.
1994Heavy machinery was purchased to help aid in the massive construction of new roofs, landscape, plumbing, and electrical.
1995Eldest son Tony McKnight replaces old walls with new ones aided by the assistance of some hired help. At most times the crew was no more than one or two hired workers along with the McKnight family of five, Tom and Jami with children Tony, Aaron, and Megan (probably why it took 10 years to complete).
1997Some things never change . . . the wood floors were kept and refinished along with the redwood trim and crown molding which was recycled and refinished displaying the Kaua'i Inn's depth in history.
2001Nearly a decade later, the Kaua'i Inn opens 24 of its 48 units.The Garden Isle Newspaper does an article on the significance of the rebirth of the Kaua'i Inn.
2003Over a decade later, the Kaua'i Inn is fully functioning. At almost anytime or day you can stop by and talk with family members that struggled for over 10 years to put the historic Kaua'i Inn back together, most likely they checked you into your room!