Hawaii’s Luxury Hotel Scene Heats Up
Years went by with little to talk about in terms of true new luxury hotel product across the Hawaiian Islands. That’s no longer the case thanks to the two new, highly-anticipated openings from Four Seasons Hotels that took place this spring on Lana’i and Oahu. On Maui, Montage Resorts has totally reinvented the former Kapalua Bay Hotel into an all-suite, stunning oceanfront masterpiece, and Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is finishing a property-wide room redo amongst other major upgrades. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is in the midst of a complete room refurbishment project, slated for completion by year’s end, and Grand Wailea is upgrading its food and beverage outlets, redoing all meeting space and talking of transforming 120 rooms into 60 larger more luxurious suites.
Newer hotels like Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort have added to the luxury traveler’s options with ultra-modern private villa-style accommodations complete with luxury hotel services. The massive oceanview villas at Andaz are just steps from the beach, and add a terrific option for those seeking multi-room residential accommodations attached to a full-service resort. Fairmont Kea Lani figured out this successful formula years ago, as evidenced by its newly renovated two- and three-bedroom beach villas often being the first category to sell out. Over on the Big Island, Mauna Lani added two new 1000+ square-foot suites (the Makaiwa and the Pauoa Suites) to its existing room inventory during a 2015 renovation project. Four Seasons Hualalai has amped up inclusions for guests of its top 10 suites and villas varying from complimentary private activities to spa treatments and additional dining credits.
During a recent visit to Lanai, it didn’t take long to form the opinion that under GM Tom Roelens’ leadership and Larry Ellison’s mega-millions of investment, Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay has totally raised the bar for ultra-luxury across the Hawaiian Islands. Gone are any traces of the “old” resort, and in its place is what appears to be a totally new property with views from every angle (including every seat at the new oceanfront NOBU and Malibu Farms restaurants which respectively offer the best omakase menus and healthy poolside options this health-conscious, food-loving traveler has ever experienced at a luxury hotel). Other amazing dining options include the ONE Forty restaurant (also with ocean views from every table) and the Sports Bar, with plenty of TVs and a fun vibe complete with pool tables, popcorn machines, and signature cocktails.
Of the 217 redone rooms, nearly 25% are suites (including the $21K/nt Alii Suite which is truly a private) residence complete with a media room, walk-in shower for two, dining room, office and terrace that spans the length of three rooms. All rooms/suites feature custom-designed handmade furnishings complimented by 75-inch TVs on the teak walls, lots of stone, slate and rich woods set against a beautiful backdrop of imported plants and tropical gardens.
Rumor has it Four Seasons Lana’i’s sister property The Lodge at Koele may be positioned as a top spa/wellness destination following its total redo which is currently in the works. For now, fitness/spa enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the offerings at Manele with its oceanview gym, spin studio, yoga classes and private sessions available with world-renowned trainers. Additional highlights of the “new” Four Seasons Lanai included the adults’-only pool area with grotto-style pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, and plenty of reservable “cabanas”.
On Oahu, Four Seasons has also raised the bar for luxury in a big way with its official opening May 27. Located along Oahu’s western coast in the Ko Olina (which means ‘place of joy’) community, the 17-story, 371-room Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina sits amongst a landscape of sandy beaches and tropical gardens. With five restaurants, a massive 35,000 square-foot spa/fitness complex with five tennis courts, plus a custom-built wedding chapel, privileged access to the Ko Olina Golf Club & Marina, the hotel caters to both families and couples (who should ask for a room with a private outdoor Jacuzzi and check out the adults-only beach and pool areas). The safely sheltered sandy beach lagoon lends itself to water games with the kids, the spa offers kid-friendly treatments, the kids program features ukulele lessons (!) and the Young Adult Center is complete with private movie theater and cyber café, and all restaurants feature children’s menus.
Luxury travelers will also appreciate the myriad ways to island hop and experience the various new luxe hotel products. Choices of inter-island transport range from private sailboats (easily arranged from Maui to Lana’i), private planes or helicopters.
To inquire about your next luxury Hawaii vacation, contact Stacy@elitetravelinternational.com and follow @elitetravelgal on social media.