WhereDaily - at home Hawaii style

February 22, 2010

Specialty Lodging has been part and parcel of the Hawaii resort landscape since the start of the condo craze in the 1980s. As high-rises went up around Waikiki and the value of beachfront property in this island state skyrocketed developers quickly found a market for efficient residential towers selling along side fancy hotel spreads. With Outrigger came the popularizing of these condominium quarters as leisure vacation spots that could be rented with the same ease as hotel rooms, and indeed, a new vacation genre was born.

"We have found our condominiums to be especially popular with families," notes Nancy Daniels, spokesman for Outrigger Enterprises. "Cooking 'at home' can mean savings of up to $100 a stay for a family of four, and those savings can be put toward other island activities. Also, keeping snacks in the fridge for after the beach or pool, packing picnic lunches to take on daylong excursions, or cooking dinner and eating on the lanai are all great ways to stretch a family's dining budget."

The company also promotes the condo inventory for girlfriend getaways and bachelorette parties and has found a good marketing angle for those who want to pack light and avoid extra baggage fees. In-suite washers and dryers can become another money-saving amenity.

Condominium options are to be found throughout the Hawaiian archipelago in all manners of configuration and cost. Companies such as ResortQuest specialize in offering owned vacation residences to travelers of all kinds, be they families, business travelers or honeymooners. Destination Hotels and Resorts also brings a variety of vacation options to travelers and has been seeing much interest in its top-tier Wailea Beach Villas on Maui where sumptuous homes come with dedicated butler service. Rates and packages all around remain significantly lower than in previous years.

High-style Luxury Living

Wailea Beach Villas brings 98 penthouses and villas ranging in size from 1,900 to 3,100 square feet with two and three bedrooms, large lanais with built-in barbecues and ocean or garden views. Villas have private plunge pools and outdoor showers and personal butler, personal au pair and in-room spa treatments can be had for the asking. Rates start at $975 per night for a two bedroom garden penthouse. (866) 901-5207.www.waileabeachvillas.com.

Ritz Carlton Kapalua
This Maui classic comes with 445 remodeled guestrooms and the addition of one and two bedroom Residential Suites, all with new furnishings and amenities, including dark wood floors, flat-screen televisions, new marble bathrooms, Hawaiian inspired artwork and spacious lanais. Count plush robes, Bulgari bath products and high-speed wireless Internet into the amenities. Kapalua, Maui. Residential one-bedroom villas start at $545 per night. (808) 669-6200, www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KapaluaMaui.

Trump Waikiki
The $700 million Trump Waikiki, opened last year as the newest property to grace the crowded Waikiki beachfront bringing 464 units ranging from studios to three-bedroom penthouses that originally sold for $400,000 to $9 million. Units have kitchens with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances but 24-hour room service and concierge is also available. The property touts a full-service spa, an elegant two-story lobby, signature restaurants, glass elevators, infinity pools with cabanas and lavish waterfalls in a building soaring 38 stories above the Pacific. Rates start at $425 per night.
 (888) 877-8693, www.trumpwaikikihotel.com.

Ho'olei at Grand Wailea
The legendary Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa on the Wailea coast of Maui opened a residential gated community known as Ho'olei adjacent to the Grand Wailea Resort. This is the first opportunity for guests to stay in a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath townhouse and enjoy access to all the amenities of the Grand Wailea Resort, including the Canyon Activity Pool, Spa Grande, myriad fine dining options, Camp Grande, and Wailea Golf Club. Guest quarters range from 3,200 to 4,000 square feet, and each two-story town home features a private interior elevator, attached garage and an oversized Great Room with vaulted ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and sliding glass doors that open onto a spacious, covered lanai with views of the Pacific or Wailea Blue Golf Course. Rates start at about $1,000 per night. (877) 3-HOOLEI, www.hooleiatgrandwailea.com

Family Freedom in the Islands

ResortQuest might be considered the king of condohotel operations in Hawaii. The company has 26 properties throughout the island state (many are former Aston properties), each with its own personality. They can be as diverse as the Waikiki Beach Hotel with its beachfront tower, complimentary "breakfast on the beach" picnic program and its bright floral room décor; or the ResortQuest at the Executive Center in downtown Honolulu, where each suite has floor to ceiling pans of the southern sweep of Oahu and amenities perfect for an extended business stay. They can be economical beachfront mini-condos in Kapaa, Kauai at the Islander on the Beach (rates starting at $87 per night) or as exclusive as the Waimea Plantation Cottages, an exclusive oceanfront spread in western Kauai favored by honeymooners and celebrities solitude, privacy and authentically preserved, early century Hawaii sensibilities. (Cottages - studio with kitchenette to three-bedroom, two-bath oceanfront stays --range from $195 to $395 per night). (877) 997-6667,

Outrigger Hotels has a separate Condominium Collection that is added to its booking inventory in 14 resorts throughout the islands. The Kanaloa at Kona, or instance, perched atop an outcropping of lava rock overlooking Keauhou Bay, presents a gated oceanfront resort with 86 one- and two-bedroom units on 17 acres. Each comes with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and large lanai. The site offers tennis, golf, three swimming pools, oceanfront lodging, complimentary wireless Internet access in public areas and a convenient location near shopping and snorkeling spots. Rates start at $145 per night with a two-night minimum. (800) OUTRIGGER (688-7444), www.outrigger.com.

Destination Hotels and Resorts brings its specialty lodging collection to Maui in the form of eight choices, each with its own benefits, price points and location. Nightly rates run the gamut, from $180 to $2,300 and offer fully equipped and spacious living quarters with access to tennis, golf and ocean. Several packages can be booked with these accommodations, including the Wailea Springs Savings package (stay between April 12 and June 24, 2010 and receive a comped luxury car rental plus 30% off the best available rate). Other specials in place include a Winter 35% Discount through March at participating properties; Fifth Night Free; and the Maui Mystery Package that starts at $180 per night and comes with an upgrade. (866) 384-1365, www.drhmaui.com.

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