The $15 million renovation of Fiesta Resort Guam in Tumon is near completion.

The hotel which opened in 1971 as the Dai-Ichi Guam has been temporarily closed for renovations since April 2004. Asia Pacific Hotels Inc. a subsidiary of Tan Holdings Corp. acquired the Dai-Ichi in May 2002.

The resort’s soft opening is scheduled for September. Despite the late arrival of freight containers filled with new furniture to complement the modern-fiesta décor Jeffrey Schweizer general manager is confident the resort will be ready to accept room reservations. Guam’s employment numbers will also slightly peak as the resort has brought 180 new employees onboard prior to the resort’s soft opening.

“We’ll start accepting reservations in September for the soft opening. There still will be some areas not quite ready. The grand opening is scheduled for October and we’re still planning the festivities ” he told the Journal.

The totally renovated property offers a transformation design featuring fresh tropical décor with contemporary amenities. Helping to get the most for the resort’s construction dollar was local company Setiadi Architects LLC. Schweizer said the resort owners contracted John Setiadi president of Setiadi Architects LLC before Schweizer came to the project as the resort’s general manager.

“He’s done a fabulous job. He’s captured a fiesta vision representing fun but also there’s that warm culture and tradition combination. His design also captures the contemporary feel in many aspects ” Schweizer said.

Resort visitors will be welcomed by the new glass-enclosed floor-to-ceiling view of the ocean-side lobby and elegant touches of light and dark wood interior wall features. Locals may remember the Creole Café and Claret restaurant at the hotel. Schweizer said the resort will now boast one main restaurant the World Café that can seat up to 280 in the different sections of the restaurant including a breakfast buffet two private dining areas the Cho Cho outdoor lanai area a front bar and a newly equipped kitchen that will have a display counter of cooks at work. The resort will also offer a Häagen Dazs ice cream shop at the entrance of the lobby. The once-popular Shimbashi restaurant will be turned into a Japanese-style steak and seafood restaurant.

Some of the hotel’s old amenities will stay a part of the resort’s structure such as the two swimming pools. However one pool has added an area for children. Also undergoing a facelift are the outdoor covered terrace bar the 150-seat banquet room and tour/travel companies and car rental office spaces.

One of the major changes the resort expended on was the addition of balconies on all 77 oceanside rooms affording guests a commanding view of Tumon Bay. According to the resort’s Web site individuals and families will have the choice of six types of rooms beginning at $110 to $280 a night. The hotel also has three Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA-compliant rooms and one Royal Suite.

The Dai-Ichi also catered to younger generations for several decades with clubs like Hibiscus and later the Chameleon. Now the nightclub-themed section of the hotel will open its doors as the new Club Pash.

Schweizer said “I can’t go anywhere without talking to someone who didn’t have an experience at the Hibiscus like a high school prom or a ceremony. It’s exciting to bring it back. And bring it back in style.”

He has been working in the hotel and restaurant industry since he was 16 and at the Pacific Islands Club Guam for almost 15 years. This will be his first time as a general manager to open a hotel. He said it is a privilege to be part of Asia Pacific Hotels and specifically part of the development of this new product for Guam.

Schweizer is confident of the future of Guam’s tourism industry. “There has been some growth and I am confident it will continue to grow.”

One of Schweizer’s recommendations to the resort’s floor plan was a coin-operated laundry room. He says it’s a simple recommendation but many families especially those in the military have longer-than-usual stays in hotels. Simple additions such as a coin-operated laundry room would be convenient for individuals and families. The resort is looking into being approved for the list of a military program for Temporary Lodging Allowance.

“Guam needs something new and fresh and Fiesta Resort Guam will be that new product. The entire market wants to be inclusive as possible. You need the Japan Korea Taiwan and even the military market to be competitive.” MBJ