Seeing is believing. Construction on Maui Sands Resort, which will take over the Holiday Inn and the Holiday Inn Express at 5513 Milan Road, is right on schedule to open this spring.
And the $30 million expansion and renovation project looks bigger than what many people expected.
“Maui Sands Indoor Waterpark Resort will be the second-largest indoor waterpark in Sandusky ... it is second to Kalahari,” said Lexi Robinson, Maui Sands Resort marketing manager.
Construction on the expansion began in March. Preformed concrete for the walkways has been set. The roof trusses are in place, and electricians are currently working on the building’s wiring. Within the next few days, the construction team will begin sealing the building in preparation for winter. The 55,000-square-foot Hawaiian-themed indoor waterpark is slated to open April 15.
“We have an aggressive construction schedule, and we are really pleased with the progress,” Robinson said.
The current Atrium Hotel will be converted into the Maui Sands Village Hotel with 170 rooms. The Holiday Inn Express will also undergo the same island-themed renovations, remaining under the same name. The 40-room hotel will operate as the value-priced resort hotel. A new four-story, 96-room all-suite hotel will be built adjacent to the existing hotels. It will be called Maui Sands Family Suites and will offer the most upscale rooms.
“The renovations at both The Atrium Hotel and the Holiday Inn Express are major. We’re not simply updating a few pictures or adding a new Polynesian-style comforter — we’re completely renovating these hotel rooms,” Robinson said. “We want families to know that staying at Maui Sands Resort is a real treat.”
The indoor waterpark is also introducing a few water rides that are new to the area.
Riders will get to experience a bowl ride, which shoots people down a slide into a bowl that will eventually pull them through the bottom. Also new is the SurfRider attraction. The SurfRider is a stationary wave that creates a never-ending two-foot high Waikiki breaker. The attraction pushes out 150,000 gallons of water per minute with a 16-inch high water flow and riders can either bodyboard or stand up.
“We have the unique opportunity to be the first installation in North America of the only deep-water standing wave generator in existence,” said Scott Emerson, president of Maui Sands Resort. Emerson explained the ride is different from the FlowRider, which can be seen at other area resorts, because it requires real finned surfboards.
“The rider learns actual surfing techniques that he or she can take to the ocean,” he said.
The indoor waterpark resort will be a year-round resort featuring four waterslides, an aquatic play structure, a teen activity center equipped with basketball hoops and a lazy river.
A 6,000-square-foot family entertainment center — with a video game arcade — will have a separate outside entrance for the public to use for birthday parties, among other things.
For adults, the resort will offer a full-service salon and spa and a Cabana Village. The village will boast 70 cabanas with cushioned chaise lounges, armoires, televisions, mini-refrigerators and food-and-beverage service. A rooftop sundeck will also have chaise lounges available.
Names for the rides, room rates and pricing are still being discussed, Robinson said.
“There are a lot of indoor waterparks out there with great offerings ... I think Maui Sands is taking it to the next level,” she said.
“They literally have an attraction for every member of the family. Whether it’s for kids, an activity center for tweens, slides for teens or spas for mom and dad — there’s truly something there for everyone.”