Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
With properties located on Hawaii’s four major islands, Starwood Hawaii boasts an impressive portfolio that includes some of Hawaii’s most historic hotels. Recently Travelweek interviewed Stephanie Dowling, regional director public relations, Starwood Hawaii, to learn more about new renovations, agent rates and its most popular weddings product.
Travelweek: With 11 properties located throughout Hawaii, what’s the best way for agents to stay up-to-date with what’s new and learn more about the unique features at each of Starwood’s Hawaiian properties?
Stephanie Dowling: Starwood provides valuable information for our agents via our Hawaii website specifically designed for agents. Please visit: starwoodhotelshawaii.com/agent
TW: The Royal Hawaiian and the Moana Surfrider are historical properties on the island of Oahu. How does Starwood maintain the balance between each property’s rich history while providing modern spaces and amenities for guests?
SD: As stewards of two historically iconic resorts in Waikiki, Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii continues to perpetuate Hawaii’s rich culture and history through its properties’ activities, restaurants, staff, and entertainment. Today, the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, takes its place among America’s leading hotels with its original Banyan Wing listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The elegant architectural features of the hotel have remained intact and an important piece of Hawaii’s history has been preserved. Contemporary amenities, enhanced guest facilities and Hawaiian cultural programs have breathed new life into the Moana. While maintaining its elegant ambiance and charming Hawaiian sense of place, the historic resort property was renewed with modern amenities including Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath amenities and new 32-inch flat screen televisions. The inspiration for the newly redesigned areas is deeply rooted in the Moana Surfrider’s rich history and adheres to a theme of “Timeless Revitalized.”
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, launched a new standard of vacationing in paradise starting in 1927, and for over 80 years, has drawn people from around the world eager to leave their everyday lives far behind. The Royal Hawaiian is again redefining luxury and has captured the imaginations of a new generation of pleasure seekers. The iconic resort has gone through a multimillion dollar transformation and ushered in a new age of exquisite discovery, embodying the allure of Hawaii’s spirit and the essence of indulgent escape. The 14 acres of prime Waikiki beachfront land now occupied by The Royal Hawaiian has a long, storied history. They were originally used as a playground for King Kamehameha I after he conquered the island of Oahu. Queen Kaahumanu’s Summer Palace was previously located in what is now the hotel’s Coconut Grove garden. The resort used this inspiration to honour Hawaii’s Monarchy through naming its suites after Hawaii’s royal family. The distinctive exterior architecture and the resort’s iconic rosy hue remain, as do the elegant details that nod to the hotel’s storied past. Now, however, 21st century upgrades seamlessly meld with the thoughtfully chosen, classic design elements, creating a decidedly chic atmosphere that is still captivatingly Hawaiian.
TW: Are there any current refurbishments or renovations taking place within Starwood Hawaii?
SD: At The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on Kauai, the $165-million new construction first opened its doors in May 2008. Upgraded lounge chairs and stylish furniture at the poolside and new BBQ grills are the first among many ongoing renewal initiatives at the resort. The resort is currently completing the installation of a co-generation plant to reduce the resort’s carbon footprint and produce over 90% of its electricity on site.
As a Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO) resort, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas is fully committed to undertaking a complete renewal of its guestrooms every five years. In the fall of 2013, the North side of the resort commenced the first part of its guestroom renewal and upgrade project involving Building 5. The second and final part of the project continued in August 2014 with three more buildings undergoing revitalization. Scheduled for full completion in mid-December, the multimillion dollar project involves exterior painting, new carpeting in hallways and guestrooms, new blackout drapes and sheers, lamps, dining table and chairs, televisions, sleeper sofa, interior lounger, bar stools and more. Resort guests have already begun enjoying new and redesigned comforts as the project is completed in various stages, building by building.
TW: With autumn in full swing in Canada, agents are busy booking winter getaways for their clients. What are some of the fall/winter promotions Starwood Hawaii is offering to couples and families looking to explore Hawaii this fall/winter season?
SD: Guests can enjoy a free night and daily breakfast for two with the Sunsational Savings package: deals.starwoodhotels.com/united-states/sunsational-savings-hawaii/so.htm
With the Suite Life package guests can book at one of our eleven resorts and enjoy extra amenities with their stay. Packages are unique to each resort and may include breakfast, welcome gifts, resort credits, dining offers and more: www.starwoodhotelshawaii.com/suite-offers/
Many more Starwood Hawaii Offers can be found at www.starwoodhotelshawaii.com/offers-packages/.
TW: What are some of Starwood Hawaii’s most popular properties for destination weddings? Are there specific wedding packages that would most interest Canadian couples?
SD: The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, is the most popular followed by The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, when thinking of couples from Canada.
The Destination Wedding ceremony wedding packages are towards the end of the brochure (link below) and you can print it to pdf – the packages are interchangeable within our Waikiki properties.
Please find below the link to our beautiful e-brochure.
DESTINATION WEDDING BROCHURE – Starwoods of Waikiki
TW: Where can agents find Starwood Hawaii’s agent rates?
SD: Agent rates are available via the following link: spg.com/pro