Hawaii’s Top Luxury Hotels Get Spiffy

Wailea Beach Villas
Wailea Beach Villas // Photo by Destination Residences Hawaii

Montage Kapalua Bay suites feature resort- and ocean-view lanais, which are perfect for watching the sun set and savoring the refreshing sea breeze.

Montage Kapalua Bay suites feature resort- and ocean-view lanais, which are perfect for watching the sun set and savoring the refreshing sea breeze.

 

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Most Hawaii resorts stand out for the top-notch attention they pay to keeping fresh, but these three resorts are looking especially spiffy after their owners invested in them.

Montage Kapalua Bay on Maui, Hawaii’s first Montage resort, is finally here following a $15 million renovation of the former Residences at Kapalua Bay. The cozy 50-room enclave offers luxurious residential-style suites, ranging from one to four bedrooms. All suites have gourmet kitchens if guests want to prep their own food or have a Montage chef pay a visit.

We hear the top overall suite here is the Premier Ocean-View Suite, thanks to its first-floor location and both garden and ocean views. The best dig for large families is the four-bedroom suite. For special room requests, luxury travel advisors should connect with Pamela Graves ([email protected]; 808-662-6637), director of leisure and travel sales.

We love that each guest is assigned their own concierge 30 days prior to their arrival.

Montage Kapalua Bay is the only resort to have access to the Cliff House, which is a premier, one-of-a-kind venue on Maui set atop the ocean with the most impressive views. Note: The Cliff House accommodates events for 10-40 guests and offers floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the ocean views.

Foodies looking for something different and authentic will feel at home at Montage Kapalua Bay’s signature restaurant, Cane & Canoe, which is reminiscent of a traditional Hawaiian canoe house where residents and artisans would socialize. Local Touch: In this historically rich setting, guests and locals may dine together.

For a more casual dining experience, the outdoor Sunset Patio offers an all-day menu suited for leisure poolside dining. Hint: The adjacent Hana Hou bar is said to be the best spot to take in the Hawaiian sunset.

Advisors looking to arrange special seating or make any special food requests should reach out to James Proctor ([email protected]), director of food and beverage.

Spa Montage Kapalua Bay is a 30,000-square-foot wellness center with indigenous plants and immaculate design elements. We were told the best treatment is the outdoor Hale LomiLomi Massage in the tropical garden. This is a traditional Hawaiian-style massage that uses flowing forearm movements emulating the Pacific Ocean waves. Note: Treatments should be booked about six to eight months in advance for Christmas and in the summer. The general booking window is typically 60-90 days out, however, it’s possible to arrange an appointment on the day of arrival.

For special spa arrangements, advisors should reach out to Leila Storey ([email protected]), executive spa director.

Steps from the resort are five bays and three white-sand beaches, ideal for snorkeling over the reefs and through tropical fish. Hint: The resort also offers signature Panama Jack bikes for guests to explore the property.

For all other requests, advisors should connect with Richard Holtzman ([email protected]), vice president and managing director.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on Oahu welcomes A-listers to explore a new expansion of its popular Waikolohe Valley water-play area: KaMaka Landing.

The new enhancement features an infinity pool with a realistic grotto, a dynamic and fun splash zone for smaller children and a new location for poolside and beachside dining.

Note: The resort is now home to Disney Vacation Club Villas, perfect for larger families. The best rooms in general for families heading to Aulani are the three-bedroom Grand Villas, which comfortably fit up to 12 VIPs.

Waikolohe Valley is the recreational center of the resort. Located between Aulani’s two towers and flowing from the lobby down to the beachfront, it is home to pools, whirlpool spas and interactive water-play areas.

Nice Touch: Laniwai, the Spa at Aulani offers spa experiences for children, newborns and elders. The spa has more than 150 treatments, including the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on the island of Oahu. The area includes a 2,000-square-foot Lift Fitness Cardiovascular Center, 15 treatment rooms and a full-service salon.

We were told the best treatment is The Lomilomi, a traditional Hawaiian massage that promotes healing. Passed down from generation to generation, this hands-on massage uses gentle, rhythmic pressure to relieve tension and help your clients relax.

To help customize your A-lister’s spa experience, advisors should reach out to Lucia Amasio ([email protected]; 808-674-6300), executive spa director.

Parents can relax at the hydrotherapy garden—Kula Wai at Laniwai, which features herbal pools, reflexology path, six rain showers, and cold and hot whirlpools, as well as “Nature’s Soaks,” 25-minute vitality baths infused with flowers, fruits, herbs and oils.

Good to know: For shoppers, the Halihali Shopping Shuttle is offered daily. It departs at 8:30 a.m. and returns to Aulani at 5:30 p.m. The shuttle provides the opportunity for A-listers to shop at some of the finest areas on Oahu, including Ala Moana Center, DFS Galleria and Waikele Center.

For all other requests, advisors should visit www.disneytravelagents.com.

Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore recently rolled out $45 million in resort-wide renovations and launch of its lineup of new experiences and activities.

Ka Maka Grotto is a family pool area at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. The infinity-edge pool overlooks the beach and ocean.Pictured: Ka Maka Grotto is a family pool area at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. The infinity-edge pool overlooks the beach and ocean.

All guest rooms and hallways in the main building have been upgraded with a redesign of fixtures, furnishings, bedding and décor, as well as completely remodeled bathrooms with touches like new tile, vanities and walk-in showers. Nice Touch: Every room offers ocean views—and with Turtle Bay’s location at the northernmost point on Oahu, both sunrise and sunset are visible.

The best rooms at the resort are the property’s 42 Beach Cottages. Housed along the west shore of the scenic Turtle Bay, the Beach Cottages are grouped in adjoining clusters of six. Note: The beachfront cottages will be renovated in spring 2015 with new furniture, kitchenettes, fixtures, finishes, lighting and equipment, and will include added sleeping space and a more functional layout.

To book a specific room or to make any special room requests, advisors should reach out to Keni Sumpter ([email protected]; 808-293-6000), director of sales.

Each year, more than 350 weddings are staged on the lawns and beaches of the resort. Cool Touch: Turtle Bay Resort offers a full-service catering staff to support weddings, large or small, from booking rooms and venues to coordinating the ceremony, florals, dining and group activities. Note: Buyouts at the spa are available for wedding parties, as well as complete salon services from hair to makeup and nails.

The new North Shore Kula Grille and Pa‘akai restaurants both offer an array of Hawaiian flavors. Tip: VIPs cannot go wrong ordering the Kauai shrimp, Kona lobster salad or short rib Hawaiian beef hot pot.

Turtle Bay Resort’s Premier Ocean View King rooms have bathrooms with a walk-in natural stone shower, a deep-soaking tub and a peek-a-boo window.Pictured: Turtle Bay Resort’s Premier Ocean View King rooms have bathrooms with a walk-in natural stone shower, a deep-soaking tub and a peek-a-boo window.

The full-service Nalu Kinetic Spa was doubled in size about a year ago and is now 11,000 square feet and features a movement studio, a fitness center with ocean views, an array of innovative and traditional treatments, and organic products.

We were told VIPs should book treatments about two weeks out. Hint: Ask for the open-air treatment room if you’d like the sound of the ocean to accompany your experience. Top Tip: The most requested treatment is the Nalu (Wave) Therapy using the spa’s Wave Motion Table. Provided on a specially designed massage table, the signature Nalu treatment mimics the buoyancy of water and the healing rhythm of the ocean. Deep release is achieved through gentle rocking, gliding and kinetic movements. Hint: This is perfect for athletes or anyone with tight muscles that could use an extra-deep stretch. Note: This is not a treatment to put you to sleep, but to invigorate and revitalize you.

Advisors looking to make special spa arrangements should connect with Sabrina Sika ([email protected]; 808-447-6866), spa manager.

Turtle Bay is continuing to make improvements throughout the resort. The former Hang Ten Bar & Grill has undergone a $1.5 million renovation and rebranding to The Point Sunset & Pool Bar.

This fall, Turtle Bay will refresh the experience and feel of the Cultural Gallery and tell the unique story of Oahu’s Fabled North Shore. This will include the installation of seven light boxes with photos and descriptions along the walkway. A legends walk will include permanent artwork, and an additional area will host rotating displays from local artists.

Fun Stuff: VIPs can book private helicopter tours, guided surf tours with former professional surfers, Segway tours, guided hiking and North Shore tours.

Advisors looking to book special tours or make any other arrangements should reach out to Alicia McCumbers ([email protected]; 808-294-1463), head concierge.

Advisor Insight:

“Montage Kapalua sits amidst world-class golf courses—it’s a golfer’s paradise and also there is a wonderful golf school,” says Peter Carideo, president of Chicago-based CRC Travel. “Outdoor activities in the area include horseback riding and zip-lining. This is a great place to get away from the craziness of Lahaina. Disney’s Aulani is about 40 minutes outside of Honolulu and considered a destination unto itself. It’s a fully rounded family resort. It is close to Pearl City, which gives you access to Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri Battleship memorial. Turtle Bay has the world-renowned Sunset Beach, home to world-class surfing competitions. The town close-by, Haleiwa, is truly living local Hawaiian—a quaint, small town. I think some of the best beaches are located here.”

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