Spend a few minutes chatting with Michael Drew, general manager at the Hotel Molokai, and he’s likely to assure you that his 53-room oceanfront property is absolutely open for business.
“I often get emails or phone calls from people asking if we’re open,” he said. “Yes, we’re open, and we want everybody to come.”
Following the closure of Molokai Ranch and its range of guestroom options during the spring of 2008, the Friendly Isle has regularly suffered from the false notion that there aren’t any accommodations available at the destination. And according to Drew, another common Molokai misconception, involving residents who are unusually picky about the type of visitor they welcome, hasn’t helped either.
“People often seem to think Molokai only embraces a certain niche of people,” Drew explained. “No, we welcome everybody to come and experience the island. We believe that we are still probably the most authentic Hawaiian island there is, so we want everybody to experience that.”
Home to about 8,000 people, Molokai has seen passionate resistance to development in recent years, and many of its residents today are proud of the island’s genuine, old Hawaii feel and determined to maintain the lifestyle. But Drew insists that shouldn’t keep interested travelers from seeking out the island’s singular beauty and unmistakable charm.
“It’s important that people don’t have certain expectations because we’re not Maui,” he said. “We’re certainly not Oahu. We’re not even Kauai, so people shouldn’t come with expectations. Come with an open mind. Understand that the island here is locally driven, so to speak, and understand that you should listen and learn and just enjoy the culture. That’s what Molokai is all about.”
Always a must-see for those interested in the history of the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement and the extraordinary story of Father Damien — canonized by Pope Benedict in October 2009 — Molokai also offers travelers a chance to soak up all sorts of culture and natural beauty in stunning Halawa Valley, as well as enjoy an excellent range of snorkeling and scuba diving spots along its expansive reef.
Combine those attractions with the increased marketing efforts of Aqua Hotels & Resorts, a partnership the Hotel Molokai entered in 2009, and Drew insists 2011 has been an excellent year for his property.
“Business is up about 25% compared to 2010,” he said. “We are actually having our best year in the history of this hotel, at least for the first half of the year. However, August and September are a little bit soft right now, so we have some things that we’ve put in place to generate some revenue.”
One of those things is the property’s double-occupancy Escape to Molokai package, which includes two nights’ accommodations, airfare from Maui or Oahu on Go Mokulele and a rental car for two days for $499. The deal is available for travel between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30.
“We are the only full-service lodging on the island,” Drew added. “We’ve got the restaurant, we’ve got the bar, the concierge service. We’ve got a spa. We’ve got it all here.”
Check out the Hotel Molokai’s range of room options, many of which include full kitchens and private lanais, at www.hotelmolokai.com.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct name of the hotel's general manager.