By Brandon Bosworth, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public September 15, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii, Sept. 15, 2011 -- Five rooms at the Inn at Schofield Barracks, here, have been refurbished with code-compliant accessibility.
The recently remodeled rooms have been specifically designed not only for VIP guests but for those with disabilities.
Kumu Sherman Thompson conducted a traditional Hawaiian ceremony to bless the rooms, Sept. 9.
The Inn caters to Soldiers and their families. Offering luxurious and accessible rooms was an important part of the Inn's renovation plan.
"We have always received our VIP guests -- that is to say senior officers, warrant officers and equivalent Department of Defense civilians -- in accordance with their rank and status, but the recent refurbishment gave us the opportunity to develop five bedrooms specifically for VIPs and the disabled," said Pauline Barney, general manager, Inn at Schofield Barracks.
"Part of our thinking was based on the increased operational tempo of recent years and -- sadly, of course -- inevitably increased casualties," Barney said. "We judged that the number of (medical evacuation) cases and disabled guests would rise. We felt that it gave us an opportunity to create five code-compliant accessible rooms at the same time, which would be something special for those staying in them."
"There are Soldiers coming back from the Middle East, wounded and disabled," Barney said. "Those Soldiers are the VIPs to us."
One room even features a walk-in bath tub that can be useful for those undergoing physical therapy. The new rooms have amenities such as big-screen TVs, leather sofas and high-end coffee makers, and each room showcases Hawaii-themed art. Adding a high-tech touch, the bathrooms also feature special TVs built into the mirrors.
The Inn's conference room has been refurbished and features a big-screen TV, as well as phone lines and Internet access. One of the conference room's unusual features is the full bath, including a shower.
"Sometimes, we have visiting officers who may want to join in for PT," Barney said. "The shower allows them to do so and then freshen up."
The Inn at Schofield Barracks first opened for business 17 years ago, and it is the only fully privatized U.S. military hotel in the world. A deli serves breakfast and lunch, and a convenience store offers a wide assortment of merchandise for travelers.
Located in the heart of Schofield Barracks, the Inn is within walking distance of many community activities, including the swimming pool, tennis courts, Commissary and Main Exchange. According to Barney, the Inn averages 70,000 rooms rented per year.
She says the Inn, "strives to provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment, with a unique Hawaiian atmosphere, for military families and personnel."
The newly refurbished rooms are just one more part of that mission.