HI Travel Guide
There’s plenty of good uses for the concierge, but what we’re looking for is something above and beyond. That’s where Four Seasons comes in, as they’re taking the title of concierge and taking it to the next level of fancy.
At Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka‘upulehu on the Big Island of Hawaii the hotel has introduced something they’re calling Oceanfront Concierge Service—um, yes please. Basically the concierge team will be roaming about the beaches and pools in hopes of helping you plan this, that, or the other thing. Between 8am and 5pm you'll get assistance with the typical like dining reservations, but they’re also up for creating customized adventures and all kinds of ocean activities.
Historic Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Oahu Hotels / Waikiki Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
There is no escaping the modern day scale of development when you’re in Waikiki, but inside the 1927 historic wing of The Royal Hawaiian, we found a few things that remind you of a different age. One of them was this sign: the "Bather’s Elevator”. Despite 1920s bathing suits leaving the minimum amount of skin exposed, it was considered improper to take the normal guest elevators between room and swimming pool / beach. The solution: a dedicated elevator.
Killer View / Waikiki Hotels / Oahu Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / → All Tags
It’s perhaps not such a surprise that Starwood Hotels would be well-represented among Waikiki’s major concentration of Hawaii hotels. When we did the math during a recent stay at The Royal Hawaiian, we were still a bit shocked by the sheer scale of things: four hotels, all virtually neighbors. Two Sheratons, a Westin, and a Luxury Collection hotel (the Royal Hawaiian). And 4,100 rooms between them – over four thousand rooms. Solitude and isolation you won’t find here, that’s clear.
Perhaps you’ve heard the hype: the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort on Poipu Beach in Kauai has kind of an “It” status as a cool boutique alternative to the larger resorts on the island. In Hawaiian, koa kea translates to "white coral,” and the name is a tribute to the life-giving power of the coral reefs. We recently went to check it out for ourselves to see if the buzz was well-deserved and here’s what we learned:
Glenn Hanlon has been bartending in paradise at the Hyatt Regency Maui on Kaanapali Beach for 10 years – five of those stationed at the coolest bar along the famous Kaanapali Beach path: GrottoBar. Hidden between waterfalls in a cavern-like setting, it’s a day-drinker’s paradise offering a reprieve from the sun and an array of fruity frozen cocktails among choices like beer and wine.
We recently bellied up to the bar and spoke to Glenn about his ideal bartending gig and his thoughts on booze, hangover cures and how many drinks it takes to drown out the sound of a waterfall.
Hotel Renovations / Maui Hotels / Waldorf Astoria Hotels / Waldorf Astoria Collection / Hawaii Hotels / → All Tags
“Families look no further than the Grand Wailea”, we said last year when we listed our Must Stay Hotels for Wailea, Maui. The vast resort has an almost overwhelming list of pools, activity slides (including this, which looks terrifying) and other things on its 40 acres of grounds to keep the kids happy.
In order to keep things fresh as well, a major renovation project kicked off last October, which will last throughout this year. Those pools and activity slides were re-tiled in December, and all rooms are getting an overhaul – above, the end result.
Hawaii Hotels / Lanai Hotels / Hotel Closures / Hotel Renovations / Four Seasons Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
UPDATE: A rep for the Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai has told us that while the hotels are closed for renovations, the island itself is still open for exploration. Guests can visit the shops, restaurants, a newly renovated movie theater as well as play on the Manele Golf Course. A Summer Golf Special will be offered starting on June 1, which includes 18-ocean-view holes, club rental, prix fixe lunch at VIEWS restaurant and transportation to and from the harbor for only $325. But the rooms are not available for overnight stays.
When we last left you on Lanai, the plan was for some serious renovation and refurbishment to take place at the island’s two main hotels— Four Seasons' two properties, the Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay. Well the time has come, so you'd better hit up Airbnb if you’re looking for accommodation on the Pineapple Isle. Because it's only going to get worse from here.
If you have $200 million to spend, why not invest it all in a new hotel project over in Hawaii? That’s exactly what one group is doing according to the folks over at Pacific Business News. Pacific Links Hawaii will set up shop on Oahu, taking over the turf formerly home to the Mahaka Hotel & Resort.
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
Kea Lani means "white heaven" and the all-suite and villa Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui certainly is divine now that it's completed its extensive three-year, $70 million renovation. Improvements have touched nearly every aspect of the 22-acre Wailea property.
Above is how a one-bedroom suite at the property used to look. Just a bit too dated for our tastes. But keep reading to see how the place looks now!
While visiting Maui in May, we often looked across the beach from Wailea where we were staying, over towards the island of Lana'i.
One time, while staring at Lana'i, a passerby told us, "Do you know who bought that island? Larry Ellison of Oracle." Wow, we thought. That's how rich he is. He can buy an island in Hawaii. An island that contains two Four Seasons Resorts. Turns out it's not that simple.
Technically, Ellison owns 97 percent of the island, not the whole thing but as the New York Times pointed out, that's still a lot. The cost to buy the island in 2012 was $300 million and Ellison, who stepped down as CEO of the Silicon Valley company last year, wants to turn the Lana'i into the "first economically viable, 100 percent green community." Ellison, under the guise of his management company, Pulama Lanai, expressed interest earlier in the year to build a fourth resort (Ellison also bought the Hotel Lanai, the other resort on the island) and hoped to extend the island's airport, along with other modern modifications to the island.
However, not all the plans that Ellison has for the island are working out, like the extended airport and the desalination plant. Also, a renovation of the Four Seasons Manele Bay was apparently downsized. Not that it has mattered to guests. The TripAdvisor reviews are still off the charts. The hotel did renovate all of its rooms and they do look rather incredible on the website. Here's how the general manager explained the renovations to the NY Times:
They say opposites attract, although isn’t internet dating saying the opposite these days? Anyway, here’s an interesting combination: laidback Hawaii meets stiff-and-proper Paris as the head barman from the Ritz Paris is heading to the Halekulani hotel in Waikiki to present an “interactive cocktail pairing experience”.
Colin Field, from the Ritz’s Bar Hemingway (and the “best barman in the world”, according to Forbes), will be in Hawaii from 22-26 September, propping up the bar at L’Aperitif. On his final evening (6-8pm) he’ll lead a “tasting experience”, demonstrating the art of cocktail making and then (the crucial part) doling them out, along with posh amuse bouches created by the hotel’s exec chef.
Maui Hotels / Hotel Juices / Juicing / Drinks / Hotel Wellness / → All Tags
Maui Week has come to an end but before we get off the island (figuratively), here's one last way to make the most of your time there. In the meantime, don't forget to revisit our list of Must-Stay Hotels in Wailea, what to order at MiGRANT and MALA at The Marriott, what to stop in and see at the Andaz and where to get away from it all at the Hotel Wailea.
If you're a fan of juicing, then you've come to the right spot. Maui is all about the juicing. And it goes way beyond POG juice.
We picked up an interesting concoction at the Down to Earth organic supermarket when we left the airport called the Maui Cold Buster, made with pineapple and onion by Joy's Place (see below.) Yet while there are a ton of great local juice spots to hit up in Maui, you can also find fresh juices in crazy combinations inside the resorts in Wailea.