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The Iconic Ilikai Apartment Building – Rich History & The Future Ahead

Rich History
Much has been said about the rich history of the iconic Ilikai. Most may remember the time-lapse opening helicopter scene of the famous Hawaii Five-O TV show, sporting a young Jack Lord on the penthouse lanai of the Ilikai Apartment Bldg. Many of the early episodes of this famous TV show were filmed in and around the Ilikai, giving the Ilikai global name recognition and reinforcing its iconic status.

Ilikai Seen From Across Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon

At the time of completion, 50 years ago, Waikiki’s skyline was to be changed forever. Impressive and forward thinking with a unique “Y” shape footprint, the building towered 26 stories tall over an otherwise relatively sparse and architecturally mostly flat Waikiki landscape.

Condominium ownership in a high-rise luxury hotel right on world famous Waikiki Beach was considered trendy and ‘hip’, but available only for a few well to do. With more than 1,000 units, indoor-outdoor lobby, porte cochere, tennis courts, pool, exercise room, meeting rooms and a huge sunset terrace, the building was considered colossal at the time.

Ilikai - close upThe project almost never happened if it wasn’t for the clever ingenuity of developer Chinn Ho who combined both the high rise condominium concept with a hotel. Hawaii’s very first ‘condotel’ was born. Many celebrities enjoyed their vacations here over the years.

Instead of rehashing the rich history, let’s discuss what makes the Ilikai special today and beyond… in the future:

Recent renovations of the Ilikai included the 2nd floor retail shops, lobby, elevators, porte cochere, pool deck and the complete renovation of the top four floors below the penthouse level, 22nd through 25th floor. These high floor units had never been offered for sale before. During a 2009 foreclosure auction iStar Financial acquired approximately 200 units for pennies on the dollar. Today 2014, all units on the 22nd through the 25th floor are completely renovated with high-grade materials, top of the line appliances, full kitchens and upscale hotel furniture packages. Turn-key and ready for occupancy, these units, as well as the fully remodeled hallways look fabulous. The Ilikai has moved into the next century and looks better today than ever before.

There are mainly two floor plans available:

a.) A 1-bedroom floor plan with 500 sq ft interior living space and a wide lanai with a whopping 120 sq ft.Most of these units actually look and function as spacious wide open studios, as the original shoji screen door separating the bedroom and living room has often been removed. The vast majority of all Ilikai condos are these standard units located along each side of the three building wings.

b.) A 2-bedroom, 2-bath floor plan with 1,000 sq ft interior living space and super wide 240 sq ft double wide lanai space. Most of these 2-bedroom units are located on the right and left corner-end of each tip of the three respective building wings. Besides these large corner-end units, there are just a few more 2-bedroom units scattered throughout the building.

There are also some spectacular 2 & 3 bedroom penthouse floor plans available, some as large as 2,378 sq ft interior living space.

Compare the Ilikai unit layout with today’s new luxury-class condotel projects such as Trump Tower Waikiki and the brand new Ritz Carlton Waikiki, and you recognize how the Ilikai’s wide unit layout and maximum lanai frontage offers a better broad view and a superior indoor-outdoor lifestyle, especially on the ocean side of the building, away from any traffic noise.

Ocean and Sunset Views
There are two spectacular view channels towards the ocean.

Ilikai - Lagoon view

Both, offer a truly relaxing and magical experience either overlooking the Hilton Lagoon (south west), or the Yacht Harbor (west) with the Ala Moana Beach Park beyond.

Unobstructed sunset views are spectacular from all even number unit stacks -02 through -10, and all odd number unit stacks -27 through -43.

Ilikai - marina view

Maximum Flexibility of use & Short Term Rental Income Potential
Most condos in Honolulu and Waikiki are zoned for residential use with limited 30-day minimum rental terms per tenant.

As one of Honolulu’s few condotels, the Ilikai gives you maximum use flexibility. You can live here full time, part time, rent it long term, or rent it as a short term vacation rental. The front desk hotel operator could facilitate the property management for you.

If you are looking for a condo to enjoy just part of the year, and want to enjoy maximum rental income for the rest of the time, than you might want to consider a condotel purchase like the Ilikai. Here you can have both.

Ilikai - view up
Location, Location, Location
Here is the top reason why we are excited. The Ilikai is one of only three Waikiki condo buildings that has direct beach access. There is something very special about exiting the gorgeous lobby and immediately reaching pristine white sandy beach next to the Hilton Lagoon. There is no need to cross the street!

This is not just any beach. The beach here is one of the widest and finest section of white sandy beach in all of Waikiki! Palm trees provide shade, and…, in case you have a 5-year old daughter like I do, ice cream is always close by.

Hilton Lagoon

Compare this direct beach access location with any of the two dozen new Honolulu high rise condos planned for the next decade. The Ilikai’s unique location could not be duplicated today.

We believe that the superior location in combination with the other above mentioned factors make the Ilikai rare and special, which could lead to higher property valuations. The Ilikai’s future might well outshine its own rich history.

Consider the potential, and make the Ilikai part of your future, today…

See condos for sale at the Ilikai Apartment Building.


The Iconic Ilikai Apartment Building – Rich History & The Future Ahead was last modified: November 12th, 2021 by George Krischke
George Krischke
Principal Broker (R) Hawaii Living See my other articles

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