I was delighted to be invited to witness Hilton Garden Inn making history in Hawaii with not one, but two openings of new resorts in the 50th state last June. The first one was set in gorgeous Kauai, where nature still reigns supreme and the setting itself is located beside important sacred grounds where the Wailua River meets the sea. This is the birthplace of the ancient nobles of Kauai, and definitely an ideal place for new beginnings. And this was the very first Hilton Garden Inn to open in the Hawaiian Islands.
It was with much fanfare, and cultural music, dance and blessings that the new hotel was opened. Hawaiians are very big on blessings! They have spiritual leaders cleanse the past energy or “mana” and invite the “aloha spirit” and new energy to enter. It’s a lovely tradition. And the community’s enthusiasm for this new accommodation offering on this very special spot was palpable. The grand ballroom in the past hotel there had hosted many decades worth of local celebrations.
The new incarnation of the hotel as a Hilton Garden Inn brand now has 216 completely remodeled guest rooms including some stand-alone cottages. The newly refreshed lobby opens on to the new Garden Grille & Bar, and there are two pools, an outdoor hot tub and a fitness center. But of course, the biggest draw is the beach!
A Children’s Paradise and a Romantic Retreat – I can’t think of a spot more ideally suited for families; the grounds are virtually one big surf and turf playground! Due to manmade breakwaters, there are two calm, shallow pools where wee ones can avoid big waves. And right next door is Lydgate Park with a massive playground. And all ages will enjoy complimentary coaster bikes for cruising along the coconut coast bike paths along the sea. But romantics will also appreciate this setting. The hotel has a quieter wing and pool where adults can escape, and the wild and restless waves on either side of the breakwaters roll onto isolated beaches for very romantic seaside strolls. There is also a seaside gazebo for weddings, and receptions can be well catered to with lots of celebration hall space indoor and a large lovely patio for al fresco events.
Island Adventures – Kaui is a hiker’s haven, and zip lining is also big. Go with Koloa Tours that offer the longest lines on the island and also rough and tumble ATV adventures. Surfing, snorkeling, and dolphin and whale spotting sailing trips are also perfect pastimes there, but one thrilling adventure not to be missed is a helicopter tour! We hovered over the Jurassic landscape of the famous Napali coast with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and trust me; it was a bucket-list epic adventure.