Hawaii: Mahalo to Condo-Hotels

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Those who may have wrinkled their noses at condo stays in the past will be pleasantly surprised at how far these have come in Hawaii.

Not only are these nowhere near the formica nightmares of years past, but their amenities and value make for a smart choice for different types of families. Additionally, visitors who are interested in soaking in one or more of the Hawaiian islands as destinations, rather than being blinded by the bells and whistles of any particular property, might want to take a second look at today’s crop of condo-hotels.

According to Teri Orton, v.p. of condominium resort marketing for the Outrigger Condominium Collection, condo travelers tend to be more savvy when planning their vacation. “We find that travelers booking a hotel stay tend to focus on the destination first, and the hotel selection is more of a secondary issue. On the other hand, for travelers interested in a condo vacation, the choice of condominium seems to be more integral to the vacation experience. It’s actually every bit as important as the destination they choose,” she says.

Staying in a condo, she adds, is a great way to make travel dollars go further. “Not only do you get more room than at a hotel, condominiums offer such economical conveniences as your own kitchen, so you can save on food, and a washer and dryer, so you can pack lighter and check fewer suitcases,” explains Orton. “Condo vacations also provide deluxe resort accommodations—with generously sized private rooms, living areas and plenty of outdoor space to unwind for comfort, convenience and flexibility.”

The family-owned, Hawaii-based Outrigger, which has 63 years in the hospitality industry, has a collection of properties on four Hawaiian islands: Kauai, Oahu, Maui and The Big Island. At the Outrigger Waikiki Shore, the only beachfront full-service condo in Waikiki, guests can enjoy a getaway right by the sea and, when in the mood, stroll to nearby Waikiki Beach Walk, the 8-acre entertainment hub with dozens of shops and restaurants. Outrigger Waikiki Shore guests are also welcome to use the facilities of the adjacent Outrigger Reef Hotel: restaurants, spa and more. Rates here start at $155 per night for an oceanview studio, $225 for oceanview 1-bedroom accommodations (which sleeps up to four) and $325 for an oceanview 2-bedroom condo where up to six people can stay.

Those who’d rather head for Kauai can consider the oceanfront Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort on the island’s eastern coast, with rates starting at $295 per night for an oceanview one bedroom that fits up to four. This resort features a soft-water river pool with water slides plus a sandy-bottomed wading pool, as well as its own day spa.

“When staying in an Outrigger-managed condominium, you get the customer service and hospitality of a traditional hotel, plus a knowledgeable staff who will help you with whatever you need, says Orton. “…We intimately understand the meaning of the ‘aloha’ spirit and, from check-in to check-out and everything in between, our guests are treated as family.”

Last year, Outrigger assumed management of The Kapalua Villas, a collection of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas located throughout the exclusive Kapalua Resort in Maui.

and then there’s maui With “value” still the operative word as 2010 starts winding down, properties such as Napili Kai Beach Resort on Maui’s western shore are also offering more condo facilities with included resort perks. Says Diane J. Farnsworth, Napili Kai’s director of guest operations: “Napili Kai is a boutique property that has all the conveniences of a condo and all the amenities of a resort. We don’t nickel-and-dime our guests—parking, high-speed Internet access, the 18-hole putting greens, the fitness center and seasonal Keiki Club (children’s program) are all free. We offer daily social activities that allow our guests personal interaction with our staff—from putting parties to Mai Tai parties to morning coffee in our beach cabana. The traditional Hawaiian hospitality of our long-time staff helps in making these memorable experiences for our guests.”

The resort, she adds, has a fabulous location on a swimming and snorkeling beach, which is particularly enticing for families. In the shoulder seasons, explains Farnsworth, it lends itself to romance, from weddings to anniversary celebrations. “The ambiance is low key and unpretentious,” she says. Studios and suites have kitchen facilities and almost all offer ocean views of Napili Bay and even the islands of Lanai and Molokai.