HI Travel Guide
Exactly what you want to see after a long flight to Hawaii.
In today's extremely competitive luxury hotel market, high-thread counts, personal assistants, and in-room dining menus from Michelin-starred chefs simply won't cut it anymore. Airport Lounges, however, will set you apart from the other five-stars out there. And that's just what the Four Seasons Resorts Lania (which includes Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele) has done at the Honolulu International Airport.
Located in the commuter terminal, the 1,000-sq.ft. luxury lounge allows guests special treats and amenities while waiting for their quick flight to Lanai (it's about 25 minutes.) That includes food, beverages, iPads, Wi-Fi access, charging stations, luggage holding areas, magazines, newspapers, and HDTVs. There will also be a lounge concierge on hand to assist with check-in, activity arrangements and restaurant reservations.
And since guests will be arriving at various terminals in the Honolulu airport, the Four Season Lounge can arrange a "Concierge Transfer" from Island Air which will pick guests up at their arriving terminal and either walk or drive them over to the Four Seasons Lounge.
Yesterday, Montage Hotels officially announced their plans to take over The Residences at Kapalua Bay in Maui. We had heard that Montage would be taking over the residential property but we weren't quite sure what the plans were for the hotel side of things. Well, now we know. Here's what they are planning:
The expansive resort, set atop the world-class, picturesque Kapalua Bay, will undergo a multi-million dollar improvement program beginning this fall, with plans including 56 Montage branded residences offered for sale and the introduction of a 50 room all-suite Montage hotel.
Those hotel suites will feature spacious living rooms, large private lanais, fully equipped kitchens, elegant master suites and luxurious bathrooms. Sounds like heaven.
Montage Hotels has already assumed management of the property yet it will continue to be known as The Residences at Kapalua Bay on an interim basis. As the spot gets closer to unveiling their 50 hotel suites, that's probably when a name change will happen. In the meantime, you can keep up with their hotel's new website here.
Andaz Hotels / Maui Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel NEws / → All Tags
In our sneak peek of the Andaz Maui in May, we were given plenty of details about the eagerly anticipated Andaz resort, from the high-end Rockwell Group Design to the private beach, the Hawaiian apothecary spa, a new restaurant from Chef Morimoto, two outdoor bars and the seriously chic guest rooms. Except there was no confirmed opening date. Well, now we finally have one.
The Andaz Maui will open on August 15. Aloha! However, right now, we can't actually seem to make a reservation for that day. We tried various dates in August on the website (as well as over on Expedia) but everything was coming up as Sold Out. We hope that it's just a minor issue with the reservations system and that we can start reserving rooms soon.
However, we were able to find a room on September 9 for $509 a night for an Andaz Garden King. Ocean views were not available but will presumably cost more. Also the Morimoto restaurant is expected to open later in the fall. But at least the WiFi is free!
[Photo: Rockwell Group]
While the bath amenities may vary amongst Four Seasons Hotels, they are always top-notch skincare lines. For example, the Four Seasons Los Angeles features Bulgari products while the Four Seasons Costa Rica uses L'Occitane. And now in Hawaii, the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii, is offering a custom line of toiletries, made exclusively for the resort and called Kāwili Project.
The word Kāwili means "to blend" and the products are made with base formulations of Hawaiian oils, salts, sugars, and land and sea botanicals. The products include shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, after-sun lotion and body soap and all are free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic colour and synthetic fragrance.
But perhaps what's the bigger eco story here is that Four Seasons Hualali has done away with toiletry bottles, choosing instead to put the new amenities in large refillable bottles which they estimate will result in the elimination of more than 100,000 disposable plastic bottles annually.
Hotel Design / Design Thursdays / Hawaii Hotels / Andaz Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Hype / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
The 297-room paradisiacal hotel, which will debut in late Summer, is well on its way to becoming our most anticipated hotel opening of the year (literally), for its private beach, free WiFi, and signature restaurant, Morimoto Maui. Sure, that's a big statement. But we dare you to disagree after taking a look at these images, straight from the offices of the property's designer, David Rockwell:
The Modern Honolulu has only been open for a little over two years but already its undergone two management changes. The first happened when Marriott’s Edition brand was unceremoniously shoved out of the property by the hotel’s owners, M Waikiki, back in the summer of 2011. Now, the management company that took over for Edition, Modern Management Services LLC, which is part of Hawaii's Aqua Hospitality has been sold off.
Travel Weekly reports that Modern Management Services is now a part of TMH Operator LLC, a California-based independent hotel operator. Financial details were not disclosed and Aqua stated that the sale was voluntary.
JDV Hotels / Waikiki Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel News / Hawaii Hotels / → All Tags
We labeled it one of ten hotel openings we were psyched about and voila, the previously unnamed JDV Hotel in Hawaii is now open.
The Shoreline Hotel Waikiki opened its doors on April Fool's Day but it is serious about welcoming new guests. The 70s-inspired boutique hotel sits in the middle of some of Diamond Head's best shopping and restaurants. (The actual ocean shoreline is just under a mile away.)
While the vibe may be 70s inspired, the 135 rooms are outfitted with some of today's best modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. Rounding out the amenities are a Cha Cha Cha Mexican restaurant and bar, 24-hour front desk hosts and a Welcome Lei upon arrival.
And rates are totally affordable too. The hotel is celebrating its opening with a special room rate of $159 a night. Regular room rates won't be that much more starting at $195 a night. Go here to book.
Over the summer vacation, I took a three week trip to Hawaii and yes, in case you are wondering, I do still work.I just happen to do all my traveling at one time, and the rest of the year I am in the office.
And on this trip, I did something very cool which I had done once when I was a little kid, and was surprised to find out I could still do. I went stargazing, the real kind, not the Hollywood kind.
When I was a little boy, I used to stay with my parents at the famous Kahala Hotel in Waikiki. I was really excited when my partner Colton and I went to Hawaii to go back to the hotel and see if it was still as glamorous as it was when I was a child. And the former Mandarin Oriental property is just that!
It kind of reminds me of what Waikiki was in the 1950s (not that I was around to see it) but one can imagine. The mid-century building is totally refreshed and redone yet still has a very cool 1950s vibe.
What the property offers which I have never seen anywhere else is a natural lagoon full of dolphins that you can swim with! This is what I used to do when I was little and I wanted to see if the Dolphin Quest program was still going on. Boy is it ever!
Josh Flagg / Hotel Spas / Hotel Massages / Hawaii Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Trump Hotels / → All Tags
Our resident celebrity hotel hopper, Josh Flagg, star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing is back with another listicle. This time he's ranking his favorite hotel spas in Hawaii. Sit back, relax and let Josh rub one out for you.
Since my recent Best Hotel Pools in Italy list, I thought it would be fun to do a Top 10 list of Hotel Spas on my next vacation. Ten massages is quite excessive so we are going to do an abbreviated list just this one time.
Believe it or not, I actually had five massages during my trip to Hawaii and yes...each one was just as wonderful as the next one. I was in Hawaii for nearly three weeks except for the two days I was in New York to film "Watch What Happens Live" before flying all the way back to Hawaii. By the way, traveling 10 hours on a plane for a two-day trip, not so fun, but the filming experience of live TV is well worth it. And of course, I had massages to help me through the jetlag.
Speaking of, here is my list:
It's been almost a year since the calamitous takeover of the Waikiki Edition Hotel in Honolulu, but the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (full story here at Chicago Tribune)reports that business at the hotel has improved by "nearly 70 percent" since Aqua Hotels and Resorts took over the property and renamed it The Modern Honolulu. Occupancy is also up 30 percent from this time last year.
The hotel's new general manager, Vittal Calamur, told the paper that the hotel is offering something not usually found in Hawaii:
"There are of lot of great hotels in Hawaii, and people have come to know them, but the Modern brings something that wasn't here before," he said. "You can get this kind of a hotel experience in London and in Paris and New York, but in Hawaii, until now, you couldn't get this."
Yet while recent guests have reportedly been enjoying their stays at the Modern, there are still some hurdles for the hotel to overcome. For starters, the bankruptcy proceedings are still happening on June 1 and the result could include an $800,000 a year repayment to Marriott Hotels for breaking their management contract.
Hotel Fashion / Hotel Design / Trina Turk / Hotel Pools / St Regis Resorts / Hawaii hotels / → All Tags
The privileged beachfront nest is done up in Trina Turk colors and prints with amenities curated by Trina herself including an iPad pre-loaded with Trina’s favorite magazines, games, applications and websites; a special Trina Turk-inspired cocktail and lunch menu; retro board games for children and adults; and even Trina Turk white china, glassware and azure ceramic hurricane lamps to use for romantic beachside dinners.