Travel agents will have a trio of new and renovated luxury accommodations to sell across the Hawaiian Islands in 2014, including a new large-scale option in the state's most popular visitor destination: the 2,900-square-foot penthouse suite at the Aston Waikiki Beachside Hotel.
"It's stunning," said Shari Chang, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Aston Hotels & Resorts. "And it's great for people who like to look at the hubbub of Waikiki but don't want to be down in the middle of it."
First available to guests in December of last year, the penthouse occupies the entire 11th floor of the Aston Waikiki Beachside, and according to Chang, the layout now encompasses an area that once housed eight separate rooms.
"I don't know about you, but that's bigger than my house," she said of the 2,900-square-foot suite.
A collection of floor-to-ceiling windows, along with the ample outdoor lanai, showcase the unit's unmistakable highlight: unobstructed, sweeping views of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific. The suite is also home to a gourmet kitchen, featuring state-of-the-art appliances and granite countertops along with three bedrooms, including a master bedroom suite outfitted with his-and-her bathrooms and a Jacuzzi tub.
"It's really a good fit for people who maybe want a more low-key luxury experience because they don't want to be in one of the large hotels," Chang explained, noting that the hotel is surrounded by Waikiki's shopping and dining highlights.
"For the many executives that come in both from Asia and the U.S. who like to travel with their families or their entourage, this is really a perfect suite," Chang continued. "And when they want to entertain with some privacy, this certainly gives them the capability."
Aston's Stars online agent loyalty and education site offers registered travel pros access to a range of marketing collateral for the new penthouse, including a selection of images and a customizable email template for agents to send out to perspective clients. Stars agents also earn reward points and cash-back bonuses for booking the new penthouse. Visit www.astonstars.com.
Maui rebrand nears completion
Montage Hotels & Resorts took over management of the Residences at Kapalua Bay on Maui's west coast last August, and work is now winding down on a multimillion-dollar renovation to the property, which the company plans to reposition as a full-service, luxury resort.
"It's really for that client who wants something quieter and a little more authentic," said Janet White, Montage's corporate director of leisure sales. "It's not like other parts of the island where you see wall-to-wall-to-wall condos and hotels, [and] there is a lot of value because the units are so large."
Each of the property's two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, all of which face photogenic Kapalua Bay, include a large lanai, five-fixture bathrooms, gourmet kitchens and washers and dryers, making them a great sell for multigenerational families or even couples interested in traveling with friends.
"I particularly like the ground floor [because] you have a huge patio, and then it's just green grass and access right to the beach," White said. "And it's literally five minutes to the beach, even if someone were walking really slowly."
Officials said the 50-suite Montage Kapalua Bay, which will also feature a 35,000-square-foot spa, will likely officially welcome its first guests in May. The refresh to some of the property's guestrooms is ongoing and construction of a three-meal restaurant has begun in earnest, but agents can currently book the property's suites for clients through the Preferred Hotels website by simply searching for the Residences at Kapalua Bay.
"The official Montage Kapalua Bay rebranding won't take effect until the three-meal restaurant is completed later this spring," White said, noting that under previous ownership the then-private units weren't available to the public at all. "But I have a lot of agents booking now [because] that location is just so beloved."
Big Island family favorite upgraded
Major renovations to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel's beachfront wing were completed late last year, adding a new level of sophistication to a collection of guestrooms that have long been family favorites on the Big Island of Hawaii.
"Basically what we did was put in a totally new bathroom," explained Jon Gersonde, Mauna Kea's vice president. "And we put these magnificent windows in where the tub and shower are, so you can take a shower or spend time in the tub and look out at the ocean."
Along with upgrading the beachfront wing's bathrooms to a new five-fixture layout, those guestrooms each received 50-inch flat-screen TVs and new furnishings and bedding, bringing them in line with the units renovated in recent years inside the luxury resort's main tower.
"These rooms are still really close to the beach," Gersonde said. "So you can just run in and run out without going through the hotel lobby to access the beach, which has made them a very, very popular product for families over the years."