Surfrider Resort Hotel opens in CK


In 1964, Robert H. Jones was one of those who put up Royal Taga, Saipan’s first hotel where Saipan World Resort now sits.

Last Friday, Jones led the ribbon-cutting of his company’s Surfrider Resort Hotel, an island-themed hotel near the beach in Chalan Kanoa.

“We are very proud of it. We’ve got a lot of nice rooms,” said Jones, who is chairman of Triple J. Enterprises Inc.

The four-story Surfrider Resort Hotel has 53 rooms, including the governor’s suite that is located on the second floor of the Surf Club Restaurant. It offers modern amenities such as high-speed internet and satellite TV.

Surfrider Resort Hotel used to be the Pacific Gardenia Hotel and Silver Resortel. Surf Club Restaurant, which is located behind Surfrider Resort Hotel, is the former Sunset Bar & Grill.

In his brief speech, Jones turned emotional when he recalled that his wife, Margaret, who helped in the hotel’s room decoration, could not witness the ribbon-cutting as she passed away last summer.

Jones thanked many people who built and also those who supported the hotel project.

In an interview, Jones said they are looking forward to having a lot of tourists and local people enjoy their stay in the hotel.

Jones did not disclose how much the company spent for the construction of the hotel and only stated that no construction is cheap on Saipan today.

“It’s well built and we’re very proud of it,” he reiterated.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios led Cabinet members and other government officials in attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In his speech, Torres congratulated Jones and his family for their continued investment on the island.

In an interview, Torres said Jones and his family really bring good quality products to Saipan.

The governor cited Triple J’s many businesses such as Tony Roma’s, Capricciosa, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Surf Club Restaurant, Triple J Auto Motors, Saipan Comfort Homes, Sandy Beach Homes, and Triple J Payless Superfresh and Truckload Store.

Jones said it took them three years to complete the hotel project due to the delay caused when human bones were found during the excavation at the site.

He said they have to respect the local culture and their heritage so the project was delayed a year to relocate and study the bones.

Jones said they will be reburying the bones at the same site this December.

“It takes a while because we have to study the bones and take them off-island, and brought them back,” he said.

The hotel consists of three divisions—staff building or main lobby building and the north and south buildings.

Maria Valentina Haberman, the marketing director for Triple J Saipan Inc., said the main lobby building and the south building cater more to the business-type tourists—the smaller jet-setting tourists and also the business-type tourists that come from outer islands to meet on Saipan.

Haberman said the rooms, which are equipped with modern amenities, are between 38 square feet and conjoining rooms up to 81 square feet.

The governor’s suite has two bedrooms and a kitchen, among other amenities. It has a huge living room that opens up to the ocean view.

“So that’s our prized possession,” Haberman said.

Haberman said they had a couple of construction phases for the hotel.

First, they started with the Surf Club Restaurant, then opened up the south portion of the building with 22 rooms.

Habberman said they just finished the lobby building, the middle phase, and now the north suites for another 30 rooms, for a total of 52 rooms.

Including the governor’s suite, total rooms are 53.

“Today, we are now in full service. We take reservations on line. We got different rates, depending on the season,” she said.

Haberman said they have two target markets—independent young travelers who are coming to Saipan to explore and also business tourists or the people who come in from Guam, their business partners or from outer islands or even the U.S. government or the federal government that come to help the island or work here for projects.

“We cater to them because all of our rooms have microwaves, small refrigerators that are for long-term stay,” she said, adding they have amenities for them to be comfortable to stay even three to six months.

Haberman said they have a good relationship with the China market, through the Marianas Visitors Authority, and also the Korean market, which is a huge market.

Haberman said they had a couple of setbacks when Super Typhoon Soudelor struck in 2015 and Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018.

“We had to stop the focus here and take care of the construction team because our warehouses, our barracks…we had to stop and rebuild our infrastructure for the company. That’s why we had to extend,” she said.

Haberman said once they were settled, everyone of their employees were taken cared of, then they resumed the construction of the hotel.

Haberman said it’s a very big investment, however, Mr. and Mrs. Jones love Chalan Kanoa as it holds a very special place in their heart.

Haberman said the son of Robert Jones, Jeff, who is now Triple J Enterprises chief operating officer and president, grew up in the area.

Haberman said their matriarch, Margaret Jones, who just passed away last summer, actually helped them in the hotel project.

“I worked with her personally to decorate to make sure that certain pieces in the bathroom, vanities, the artwork would be set up,” Haberman said.

She said the south side of the hotel has been opened for two years now, mostly for their business partners from Guam and from the U.S. government.

Triple J Saipan Inc. construction operations manager senior superintendent Mario F. Valentino said the hotel project was very challenging because of the CW-1 process that they had to undergo to get manpower, plus the two super typhoons.

Filipino CW-1 workers of Triple J Construction built the hotel.

Valentino said during the excavation phase, they unearthed artifacts and 52 human remains, causing a delay for over a year.

He said the skeletal remains had to be exhumed so they had archeologists flown from outside.

Valentino said for Triple J it is very important to respect the community.

He said as the site is the resting place the remains have to be buried in a tomb back into the same ground.

Valentino said a swimming pool is among the future plans for the hotel.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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