Tag: Hawaii Hotel ReviewsView All Tags
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so that must make videos worth millions of words, right? That seems to be the theory behind Concierge.com's Insider Guide to Hawaiian hotels, with a series of seven short videos narrated by Hawaiian-turned-New-Yorker Cathay Che. The idea is that the video should give you a better idea of the real quality of the resorts she checks in to compared to the glossy photos you usually see (sound familiar?)
A handful of hotels that you might consider for a Hawaiian vacation are featured in the video series, including the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i. The web guide gives you a brief overview of each hotel or resort before sending you off to the video.
[Ed. Note: Alex Salkever is the founder/editor of Hawaiirama.com, a travel blog and site covering Hawaii.]
You gotta love deals for properties that have just come out of renovations and are looking to ramp up occupancy.
Witness the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, a nice hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii (Kona-Kohala Coast) in the Waikoloa Resort. The resort just completed (as in, just!) a $50 million renovation that significantly improved the property.
All the old, tired furniture is gone. Decor is now Hawaii-contemporary rather than Hawaii kitsch. The lobby and common areas have been opened up to give a much better view of the ocean. The renovations included a new, adults only infinity pool.
It's still a Marriott so its not as plush as, say, the Four Seasons. But check this deal out. $1100 gets you double occupancy for four nights plus rental care (roughly $50 per day so $200 total). Free breakfast included (add another $25 per day so $100 total). Granted, you are only getting a garden view room for this rate. But you're paying $200 a night for a really nice, well done hotel on a pretty nice beach and doing it in the middle of the summer travel season (the deal runs through July 20).
The deal is on offer from Panda Travel, a local Hawaii travel agency. An airfare portion is not worth it, adding an extra $500 roundtrip per person but you can do better than that.
[Ed. Note: Alex Salkever is the founder/editor of Hawaiirama.com.]
The Fairmont Orchid Resort is snuggled along the sunny Gold Coast of the Big Island in a posh enclave of hotels situated on lovely beaches. Kona has been on the come for several years now, in part due to the notoriety of the highly-coveted Four Season Hualalai.
Still, the Fairmont is the real deal (it also appeals to greenies as the hotel uses many green cleaning products) and Panda Online is offering a pretty sweet package. Here's the deal breakdown: Three nights at the hotel, round-trip airfare from LAX, and rental car are running $694 per person, assuming double occupancy, or nearly $1,400.
The hotel is throwing in a $200 credit towards any on property purchased plus free breakfasts. Airfares are currently running roughly $300 roundtrip or $600 per couple. Rentals cars during this hump season are running $35-$60 per day, depending on model. That means an additional $100 to $200 in savings. Add it all up and you get the hotel rooms for roughly $500, or $133 per night.
That's a total steal at a high-end Big Island resort. But you gotta book fast because deal ends on June 13.
· Fairmont Orchid reviews [TripAdvisor]
More and more hotels seem to be creating hotel packages around movies and the Hilton Hawaiian Village is the latest to get in on the game.
Coordinating with the release of animated movie "Surf's Up" about penguins that surf, (yes, you read correct) the hotel is offering a surfing package that starts at $219 a night and includes a 20 percent discount on surf lessons for two with surf instructor Clyde Aikau, a 20 percent discount on treatments at the Mandara Spa and a "Surf's Up" souvenir visor.
But that's not all the hotel actually has some penguins on site that have daily feedings at 8am and 3pm Monday-Sunday. And about those spa discounts, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has a YSPA for teenagers which offer youth-friendly treatments like Heavenly Massage, Surfers' Scrub, Fabulous Fruity Facial, and Acne Attack Facial. (Yikes.)
To book the package, contact the hotel directly at 808-949-4321 and ask for rate code P6 or you can book online. The package is good from May 1 to September 30 and does not require a minimum stay.
If you read the following with the zest and enthusiasm usually reserved for the Spider-Man 3 trailer, you might get excited about this:
A man has to put his sushi before himself.
Every head has a choice, to face the fish, or be consumed by it.
It feels good...once you loose yourself to it.
This summer. The greatest fish. Lies within.
Coming May 2007 to the Waikiki Parc Hotel.
· Hawaii Hotel Reviews [HotelChatter]
Sometimes it pays to be local. Really pays. The brand new Embassy Suites Beach Walk Waikiki has opened its doors. The two towers, which were totally refurbished -- as in, gutted as opposed to the usual Waikiki renovation which means new drapes, new furniture and not much else -- are smack in the middle of the Waikiki Beach Walk development, the newest shopping enclave in Waikiki.
The resort area has seen some serious upgrades of late and this is probably the signature one. Now, the kicker. Hawaii residents can take a room in the new all suites Embassy property for the low, low rate of $199 per night. The full rack is roughly twice that. It's ridiculously low rate for a full service hotel that is essentially brand new, a half a block from a good beach, and shouting distance to most of the rest of Waikiki.
Clearly the Embassy is pitching to families and groups. The local offer is a smart move to start word-of-mouth buzz -- most of us in Hawaii get asked for advice on where to stay on a regular basis by people planning to come here. The hotel may offer some comparable door-buster deal but right now, lucky you live Hawaii, cuz!
· Embassy Suites opens in Waikiki [Pacific Biz Journal]
[Ed. Note: Alex Salkever is the editor of Hawaii travel blog Hawaiirama.com and a general travel maven on all things Hawaii.]
From a distance, you can't tell that this is no longer a Mandarin Oriental.
Apparently the past year of switchover of the Kahala Resort & Spa from the Mandarin Oriental flag to an independently managed resort has been a rocky transition. First, the posh Oahu hideaway that's long been a fave of presidents and potentates lost its Five-Star AAA status.
Now the hotel hounds at TripAdvisor are calling downhill alert on the venerable property, which sits on a prime stretch of beachfront ten minutes from Waikiki. In reviews over the past six months, the Kahala got one or two stars roughly 40 percent of the time. Take for instance this one:
rooms need work and the level of service for such an expensive resort was terrible. Definitely not up to their rating. Provided surf lessons and then neglected to provide the right gear resulting in serious injury to one of us.
Other reviews cite high rates and crappy rooms for those high rates. One even said the place was perfect for kids, which may sound the death knell for a luxury hotel.
Of course, we know TripAdvisor posters have been known to grind an axe or two. And speaking from first-hand knowledge, this property is hardly a dog. But clearly something is amiss in this regal resort.
· Kahula Resort reviews [TripAdvisor]
[Ed. Note: Alex Salkever of Hawaiirama gives us the low-down on Hawaii's boutique hotel scene, or what little there is of it.]
With the boutique hotel boom striking just about everywhere, it's hard to believe that Hawaii has a shortage of boutique hotels. But it's true. Most properties are run by super-mammoth companies like Starwood or Hyatt. Even among the indies, few properties are small enough to be considered boutique. Far too many others are just plain tired.
Aqua Hotels and Resorts hopes to fill that niche with an archipelago of 10 properties in wicky, wacky Waikiki. Six fall under the budget Aqua Lite flag and four are regular boutique hotels. All have modern touches (as in furnishings that don't scream aloha print) and mimic boutique Mainland chains like Kimpton.
They offer lots of freebies that a big chain would charge for - high speed Internet access, for example. Several of the hotels have on-site spas that are quite affordable but the rest of the service offerings are not as comprehensive - room service is limited or non-existent, for example, in many properties.
So far, we liked what we've seen in Aqua rooms, with more muted color tones and angular, modish furniture. However, mone of the Aqua properties have superb locations - they are generally off beach or slightly off the beaten path in upgraded hand-me-down properties that are quirky enough to work.
Our faves to check out would be the Aqua Bamboo and the Aqua Waikiki Wave, (pictured above) both of which have very central locations in Waikiki. Rates start at about $200 and at $100 during the summer months.
· Alex Salkever's Hawaiirama reports [HotelChatter]
Simply put, we like the food at Hoku's a lot. Chef Wayne Hirabayashi has long since earned his spurs in wrestling down big flavors like osso bucco and rack of lamb. This T-Day, he's cooking up an exquisite island-flavored feast that would make us thankful to ditch our baster and belly up.
To wit: seafood sausage with warm lentils and bacon vinaigrette stir-fried Kona Blue Lobster with Chinese long beans and ginger onion sauce, and roasted pumpkin gnocchi. Oh, and there's turkey, too. Not cheap at $85 but well worth the prix fix
And don't think that Hawaii casual works here. For dinner, the dress code requires "collared shirts and slacks or evening wear."
If you hadn't heard, on Sunday a 6.2 earthquake struck Hawaii, with the biggest impact being felt on the Big Island. Fortunately, the quake was relatively minor although no doubt frightening.
With Hawaii being a huge tourism spot, many travelers and hotel guests were left a little frazzled by the quake and its damage, which was mainly power outages.
On the hotel front, Hawaiirama has a list of hotels and their operating status after the quake. Many hotels appear to be open for business however are not accepting new reservations. The hotel hardest hit seems to be the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows whose general manager said:
"There is no real visible structural damage but because the safety of our guests is our number one concern, we are currently not occupying the hotel's top three floors until further assessment this afternoon. We should know by later today or early tomorrow, regarding the status of opening up the rest of the hotel to customers."
So if you're planning on going to Hawaii, doublecheck with your hotel to make sure your reservations will still be honored as well as ask about what type of structural damage they may have suffered and whether or not construction will be going on while you're there.
Image via Associate Press