12 Jun 2009

Cook Islands Hilton to welcome first guests in 2011

1:16 pm on 12 June 2009

The developer of a Cook Islands hotel that's been awaiting its first guest for over two decades says the resort will be completed by 2011.

The project, which began as the Vaimaanga Hotel in 1987, was plagued with problems and lay unfinished after work on it stopped in the 1990s.

The Hilton hotel chain put its support behind the venture in 2007 with two New Zealand property developers, McEwan and Tepaki, as joint partners.

Tim Tepaki says Dan McEwan's bankruptcy earlier this year has left him to finish the project alone but he's in the process of finalising a refinancing agreement with a United States financier.

"It's a matter of getting all the relevant approvals and of course you know the interest was signed on the basis of what they see as our projections, now we're going through what they call the prove-up time."

Tim Tepaki says he's hoping construction can begin in a few weeks.