In the Mix: Honolulu Club celebrates reopening
BY JASON GENEGABUS / email@example.com
Following a two-week closure last month and $3 million in upgrades and renovations, the Honolulu Club is ready to party — and everyone is invited.
THE SUMMER PARTY
Honolulu Club Grand Reopening Celebration
» Where: Honolulu Club, 932 Ward Ave.
Local professionals have utilized the members-only club’s location on Ward Avenue as a convenient destination for a morning workout, quick business lunch or pau hana cocktails for more than three decades. After first purchasing the building in 2008, local businessman Richard Gushman and California-based real estate investor Douglas Emmett moved forward with plans to take over management of the Honolulu Club in May 2013.
“This is a very prestigious brand, and it went … downhill,” said Honolulu Club general manager Troy Henry. “We’re just now getting to the starting blocks of heading in a new direction.”
Henry would know. The Sacramento native has been with the club for nearly eight years, starting as a personal trainer before moving into management. Many of the club’s 156 employees have worked there for an extended period of time, he said. The return to local management and major reinvestment in the club itself have served to reinvigorate both paying members as well as employees.
“All of the equipment is brand new,” Henry said before taking the Pulse on a tour of the facilities on Thursday. “There were some infrastructure changes made (in the lobby) and we opened up our bar and lounge (so) it has a more inviting feel.
“If you go downstairs, there were offices removed and more space opened up, which allowed us to put more equipment in there. … Now in 2014, we’re a full-blown fitness facility and we have amenities that cater to our membership with a social component.”
The social component is the focus of renewed effort to reconnect members with the Honolulu Club’s “glory days,” Henry said. With 64,000 square feet of space on three levels, the club is already an established destination for workouts.
Some of Honolulu’s top personal trainers offer their expertise as part of the club’s monthly dues, and members have access to various fitness classes offered throughout the day. It is also one of the only places in town left to play racquetball.
Despite all the amenities that already come with the club’s monthly dues of $174 — which also include access to a full-service spa (that’s also open to the public), plush locker rooms with upgraded digital lockers, wireless Internet access and up to five hours of validated parking per visit — Henry said members deserve even more. Staying healthy is important, but so is social interaction.
“One thing that’s been lost with the Honolulu Club is the social aspect of it,” he said. “If you go back to its origins, it started as a social club … and that’s something a lot of people don’t recognize. The Honolulu Club was a social club that happened to have a little gym.”
Saturday’s The Summer Party will serve as a celebration for members who have stuck with the Honolulu Club through its recent transition period, while also opening the club to the public and providing an opportunity to check out all the cosmetic changes in a party atmosphere.
“Everything we do, we’re always keeping our current membership base in mind,” Henry said. “We want to do things to make them happy as well as expose ourselves to a new generation of members.
All three floors of the club will be in use, with live entertainment by Cool Aina, Medium Rare, Fabulous Tradewinds and Kupaoa alongside DJs Jim Browskee, GL and Vince.
“(The Summer Party is) a progressive party,” said Henry. “We’ll have a nightclub theme with appetizers in the lounge. And if you head upstairs to the roof, that’s where we’ll have our main course with the buffet. If there’s any one thing, that’s what I’m the most excited to see. I can’t wait to see what it looks like at night with the stars up there. That’s going to be my favorite.”
Those with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss the club’s pool deck, which will be transformed with an all-white theme to go with a dessert bar, crepe station and specialty cocktails featuring KAI vodka.
Tickets for Saturday’s event start at $50, with discounted admission for current Honolulu Club members. VIP bottle service is available; follow the club’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook for the inside scoop on potential last-minute discounts for the late night crowd.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.