Can you remember the last time someone had something disparaging to say about a vacation to Hawai’i? Probably not. In fact, did you know that Hawaii boasts a 98% vacation satisfaction rating? Why is that? Other than it’s perfect weather, and resplendent scenery, Hawai’i is a destination for absolutely every type of traveler: The adventurer, the hopeless romantic, families, the solo traveler and the I-just-need-to-lay-in-the-sun vacationer. It’s also the most ethnically diverse American state with a proverbial melting pot of cultures from Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Micronesian, to Chinese, Thai, Tahitian and of course, the indigenous Hawaiian people. So when our in-house bespoke luxury travel designer Anita Beishuizen had the opportunity to join a familiarization trip to the Big Island of Hawai’i and Kaua’i, she couldn’t say no!
Anita’s 10 day long meander through paradise included a visit to Volcanoes National Park and world famous Akaka Falls, a traditional Hawaiian Luau, site inspections of various resorts, and the pièce de résistance, a breathtaking helicopter ride across the island of Kauai. Here is what Anita had to say about her Hawaiian experience:
Starting with the Island of Hawai’i, what was a highlight for you?
Volcanoes National Park.
What is the one misconception you may have had about the island of Hawai‘i prior to becoming more familiarized after your fam?
I had heard that the island was very volcanic and not at all an Island for beaches and swimming. The first half of this statement is true, it is volcanic – but there are so many nice sandy beaches – it is just about knowing where to go for them.
How did this familiarization trip change the way you present Hawai’i as a destination to your clients?
I really feel confident now to be able to specifically direct clients to pinpointed locations based on not only the geography, but the character of the main tourist/hotel areas. I do not think that unless you have been there, visually seen the areas and got a feel for the individual character of the locations could you do that effectively. This is going to help me expertly direct my clients, based on the trip they are hoping to have.
What was one of the highlights for you when you visited Kaua’i?
Honestly, from the moment I got off the plane it was an instant feeling of peace, and I fell in love. I will say (and I mean this sincerely) that Kaua’i is now my favorite Hawaiian Island.
I think that the reoccurring theme, and the part that I can pick out as the overall highlight of really all the activities and sites we saw – was the sheer beauty and magnificence of the Island. It is jaw-dropping and to be surrounded by it while you are there has an effect that you cannot deny. It truly is what most people envision when they think of the Hawaiian Islands as a collective, and I do not think that people realize that those stunning images are in fact coming from the Island of Kaua’i alone.
We were so fortunate to experience a helicopter tour! I have never done anything of that caliber when travelling, and I cannot recommend it enough. I suggest taking the heli-tour as early as possible on their trip, because I think that it is something that resonates with you and you mentally refer back to when you are seeing those various sites from the ground. I had shivers, it was so good!
Because I am a huge flora and fauna fan, another stunning highlight for me was Allerton Gardens. I really, really enjoyed our time there as well.
Now, moving on to the accommodation options. You visited a number of properties on this fam trip, what did you think of them?
The Kaua’i Shores was a very cute, smaller property. I really liked the retro throwback motor-inn feel, and the location on the beach was perfect.
This is the perfect property for younger travelers, or young families. This would be an ideal property for budget oriented or no-frills travelers. And even though I sell to mostly luxury oriented clients, it is exactly the type of property that I am drawn to when I travel. Simple, clean, character, good pool and great location.
Waimea Plantation Cottages
I was quite blown away by this property. It’s a very different type of property, and perfect for families that want to have a more local, non-hotel type stay. I love the grounds and the spread-out cabins. I like the privacy and independence that is promoted at this property. We saw two of the cabins – one quite large and the other a two bedroom and both had their own distinct style. I like the vintage Hawaiian feel and appreciate the uniqueness of the property. The cabin interiors were a bit older – but nonetheless impeccably clean, spacious and quite charming. This is a great option for groups or large families. Pricing also seemed to be quite reasonable.
Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa
Beautiful, flashy, tropical and very luxurious grounds. Picturesque. A great option for our luxury clients, the property sort of sells itself and I’m happy I had the opportunity to see it.
Kōloa Landing Resort
The perfect property to have in mind for families with teenage children. Easy go to with the 2/3 bedrooms. Definitely a condo property feel vs. a hotel/resort – but to be expected. Really nice units and the grounds had a good layout. The restaurant, lounge/pool area was great for drinks and people watching. I didn’t get to see the beach, but I heard it was also quite nice. Funny enough, two days after being home I was quoting this property to my clients for Spring Break!
And there you have it. From active volcanoes, pristine waterfalls, rugged mountain ranges, and post-card worthy beaches, Hawai’i is a feast for the senses. And because of it’s unique location, the Hawaiian archipelago is an ideal place to visit all year round. Contact us today to get started on your dream Hawaiian escape. Aloha!