A concierge's tour of Hawaii
Hotel concierges often have the best insider tips for exploring the islands, from secluded romantic restaurants to family-friendly activities. Here we talk to experienced concierges to find what to do and see during your next tropical vacation.
Wailea Beach Villas, Maui
Tracy Dill, the concierge manager at the Wailea Beach Villas, knows Maui — he’s worked as a concierge on the island for more than a decade.
Guests, he said, can start with the snorkel trip to Molokini and Turtle Town with Maui Classic Charters to see the island’s last lava flows and sea caves — plus, Dill said, Turtle Town will definitely live up to its name. “You are guaranteed to snorkel with the turtles.”
For family-friendly fun, “we can arrange everything from private hula lessons to lei making, submarine rides, glassbottom boat rides or bike rides down Haleakala Crater,” he said.
And if you’re feeling bold, Dill has a tip: “There is paragliding off of Haleakala at 3,000 feet. It’s the most fun I ever had!”
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii
Fairmont Orchid concierge Gerald Farm gives guests the lowdown when it comes to what’s up on the Big Island.
For a family affair, try snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay or an outrigger canoe ride, which “really makes people feel like they are doing something authentically local,” said Farm. Another not-too-touristy activity? Sign up for a historic hike with the Orchid’s Beachboys — the hotel’s talented team of local tour guides — and explore ancient fishponds, caves and the Puako Petroglyph Preserve, which contains one of the largest collections of ancient lava rock etchings in the world.
For a little romance, Farm can arrange a sunset cruise with Mauna Lani Sea Adventures or a private beach-side dinner for two beneath the restive branches of the resort’s coconut trees.
Norio’s Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, another island delight and Farm favorite, serves up a variety of fresh sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delicacies at the Fairmont.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay
Longtime Four Seasons concierge Pamela Haban has plenty of to-dos for Lanai guests.
“I truly enjoy renting a jeep and exploring the island,” she said. “Driving through the former pineapple fields and coming upon the Garden of the Gods is truly an amazing sight.”
Haban also recommended practicing your putt at the executive putting course at the resort’s Lodge at Koele. Nongolfers, she said, shouldn’t miss the chance to take a hike amid the forested hills and valleys of the Koele highlands.
For romance Lanai-style, try a couple’s massage in a private cabana overlooking Hulopoe Bay just before sunset, followed by a romantic dinner with panoramic views of the Pacific.
“Couples have their own private server and can add elements such as a musical playlist of their favorite songs,” said Haban.
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach
From surfing to nature walks, Outrigger Waikiki concierge Ritsuko Tsunashima-Kukonu keeps families busy during a trip to Oahu.
Get schooled in authentic Hawaiiana with a hula or surf lesson, or sign up for one of Outrigger’s lei-making classes.
“The instructors explain about history and background [of lei making],” said Tsunashima-Kukonu. “We use Dendrobium orchids, which are safe to handle, especially for kids.”
There’s also plenty of wildlife near Waikiki. Tsunashima-Kukonu recommended the Waikiki Aquarium (the third oldest aquarium in the country), a trip to the Honolulu Zoo or swimming with dolphins at Kahala Hotel’s Dolphin Quest.
For a little adult romance, the resort offers a free vow renewal ceremony on Waikiki beach.
— Jamie Wetherbe, Special Advertising Sections Writer