Following a $46 million renovation, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel was officially reflagged the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort at the end of June and has a grand opening bash planned for July 14.
The renovation, which began in November, touched on every aspect of the Hawaii Island resort, from the lobby and restaurants to amenities and guestrooms. Hapuna Beach Resort hosted me in April, when most of the renovations were completed.
The property sits on a bluff overlooking the beach, and guests enter the lobby on the top floor, which boasts a sweeping view of the grounds and beach below. The hotel's facade is mostly concrete, and wood touches have been added throughout, including in the lobby, which also now has a living wall, a signature Westin adornment. The lobby also now features interactive check-in pods to expedite and facilitate the arrival process.
A greater sense of continuity has been created between the top floor, the middle floors with restaurants and rooms and the bottom floor with pools, amenities, more restaurants and beach access, with the redesign adding connecting stairways and paths between the various resort sections.
The resort sold one building to a developer to be converted into a separate vacation property with some resort access included, dropping the number of rooms from 350 to 249, including 17 suites.
All of the rooms at Hapuna offer ocean views. The standard rooms maintain their ample dimensions, 630 square feet including the lanai, and have been upgraded with Westin touches such as the Heavenly shower and bed.
The rooms feature wood furniture and a light color palette: various shades of beige and white with teal and slate accents.
Standard rooms are available with one king bed or two queen beds. The rooms with one king have a couch and seating area, which is a nice option when traveling alone or as a couple in place of a less useful second bed.
The suites boast more room, ranging from 810 square feet to 1,200 square feet, and come with a kitchenette and lanai as well as seating areas for eating, working and socializing.
The reflagging to a Westin means the guestrooms have been fitted with Heavenly beds and showers.
The expansive main pool area, which includes a casual restaurant and bar, has been refreshed, and the resort has installed an adults-only pool that sits above the main pool. The adults pool features an infinity edge, ocean view and a circular hot tub area.
With the revamp, the resort also has introduced four dining concepts.
Meridia, helmed by chef de cuisine Christopher Galindo, has debuted as the signature restaurant. The bar is a nice spot to meet for an afternoon cocktail, and the patio offers a perfect spot for viewing sunsets. The menu is Mediterranean-inspired, and diners can watch as chefs prepare pork Milanese, grilled baby rack of lamb, whole branzino and a selection of inventive flatbreads in the display kitchen. The housemade pappardelle pasta with a venison sauce, shaved pecorino and garden gremolata was a rich but well-balanced dish featuring venison from Maui that was flavorful without being gamey. The menu is dotted with local products throughout, and Meridia also offers a raw bar, charcuterie plates, stuffed piquillo peppers and other small, shareable dishes.
Ikena Landing is an open-air breakfast spot with both buffet and a la carte options. Renovations added more wood touches and seating to the area with ocean views. The breakfast buffet offered a good variety, including an omelette station, a range of fresh fruit, miniwaffles, crisp bacon and Hawaiian coffee.
The Naupaka Beach Grill, open 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for lunch and happy hour, is next to the main pool and serves local craft beers in addition to sandwiches, hot dogs, entree salads, appetizers, the Beyond Burger meatless patty and Hawaiian favorites like poke bowls and loco moco.
For guests on the go, the Piko Coffee+Bar is a good spot for the morning injection of caffeine, including Kona roasts, and to grab a pastry or packaged item for the road.
After sampling the dining options, guests may seek out a good sweat, and the renovations have not overlooked the fitness options. With the reflagging comes a new Westin Workout facility with ocean views and a CrossFit studio. The property will also be introducing the signature RunWestin program, which includes a run concierge who offers maps, advice and group runs.
The Hapuna Beach Resort also features the Hapuna Golf Course and shares nearly 1,900 acres with the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and the two properties open up to white-sand beaches. Guests of either one may bill services at both properties to their rooms and take advantage of a shuttle that takes visitors between the resorts.
The two properties also recently enhanced their cultural programming, bringing in Healani Kimitete-Ah Mow at the beginning of 2018 to expand the schedule and offer a variety of classes such as lei making and Hawaiian language lessons.
The Hapuna Beach Resort opened in 1994 as the second phase in billionaire philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller's Mauna Kea Resort, and with the reflagging it remains part of Prince Resorts Hawaii, which also owns the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and the Prince Waikiki and Golf Club on Oahu.
Rates start at $195 for a partial oceanview standard room. For more information, visit www.hapunabeachresort.com.