Ask the Big Kahuna
“Answering the most common visitor questions”
Why hasn’t the “infamous” Coco Palms Hotel been restored? Blue Hawaii, with Elvis, was filmed there and it has a well known reputation. I understand re-creations of the wedding for folks are still being held.
The Coco Palms Resort on Kauai opened in 1953 and was the world’s most famous Polynesian resort until hurricane Iniki struck Kauai on September 11, 1992. The Coco Palms was severely damaged by Iniki and the resort was left to decay for over a decade. The costly repairs and insurance issues left the Coco Palms officially closed with no announced plans to reopen. A purchase by private investors may bring new promise to the legendary Coco Palms and a renovation at some as-yet-undetermined time in the future.
As you mentioned, Coco Palms was indeed the location of the famous outrigger canoe wedding scene from Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii, released in 1961, but the resort was also used in other films, such as South Pacific, Pagan Love Song, and the TV series “Fantasy Island.”
There are still weddings taking place on the lagoon amid the over 2,000 coconut palm trees, and limited tours are conducted by an outside company. Groups still make pilgrimages to Coco Palms to have their photos taken in front of the little grass shack where Elvis once stood.
Rumor has it that echoes of Elvis can be heard blowing through the palm tree leaves every Blue Moon. The next Blue Moon is December 31, 2009.
For a listing of the best places to stay closest to the Coco Palms, visit Kauai Accommodations. Choose your preferred accommodation type, then choose the towns “Kapaa-Wailua.”
Happy Elvis Sightings!