After six years in development, Koloa Landing, a resort in Kauai's Poipu area, is settling into a rhythm in 2017, its first year without construction.
The 25-acre property completed its first phase in 2011. All along, the resort's operators planned to open a restaurant focused on fresh Hawaiian cuisine and pegged Aloha State celebrity chef Sam Choy to lead the concept. But the restaurant had to wait until the final phase was completed; it wrapped up in February.
The $100 million final expansion phase added 208 accommodations, bringing the total to 306. Koloa Landing built out its group facilities, including a 12,000-square-foot meetings room, a grand ballroom with capacity for 1,000 guests and two outdoor lawns that each accommodate 800 people. The third and final pool on property, the lagoon-styled "signature pool," opened and the staff size doubled.
"It's really going well, and we've received tons of positive feedback on the new facilities," said Sally Halm, sales and marketing director. "People love the ballroom, which has natural lighting, high ceilings and disappearing doors."
The resort has gotten a mix of families, honeymooners and government business related to the nearby Pacific Missile Range Facility, according to Halm. They've also hosted several conferences and meetings and numerous weddings already.
"We call it a new lifestyle for travelers," she said. "We offer the convenience of home while being right in the middle of paradise."
The studio units come with kitchenettes, king beds, pullout sofas and full-size washers and dryers. The one-, two- and three-bedroom suites offer the same amenities as well as a full-size kitchen and living and dining rooms.
The Holoholo Grill, the partnership with Choy, opened at the end of March, and the menu reflects the Hawaiian chef's tastes mixed with those of Koloa Landing's executive chef, Shaun Hinson, who moved from Georgia for the post and has a background in Southern cooking.
For example, the restaurant does a luau, but it smokes the pig rather than the traditional method of burying it surrounded by hot stones.
"Chef Choy has so many strong influences and can really cook anything. He's the Hawaii poke master, but he also has a very broad knowledge of food," Hinson said. "We sat down together and both agreed that we could use local ingredients and combine our influences to put unique spins on Hawaiian dishes."
Dishes include Kauai-style fish tacos with grilled fresh catch, tangy pineapple slaw and sriracha mayo, and barbecued ono on a bed of purple mashed potatoes in a shiitake broth. The lunch and dinner menus include Choy's signature poke bowls, and the breakfast menu includes loco moco, a Hawaiian staple of beef with eggs and onions.
Now that the restaurant has been up and running for a few months, Hinson said they are adjusting and expanding the menu.
"We're developing the fresh fish portion of the menu," he said. "Also, we're partnering with Koloa Rum to create some menu items that will match with some signature drinks that we have in the works."
For rates and more information, visit www.koloalandingresort.com