Members of the Hawaii resort team for the 12 Starwood Preferred Guest Resorts in Hawaii visited San Francisco this week to meet with media and discuss the portfolio’s 12 Hawaii hotels and resorts, which will expand to 34 in January under the Marriott International flag.
The latest property to join the portfolio is the 390-villa Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Kā’anapali, which opened in April. Located on 16 acres of North Kā’anapali Beach on Maui, the property emphasizes Hawaii’s rich culture and heritage throughout. First, the name “nanea” means “to be in a state of relaxation” in the Hawaiian language. That relaxing sense of place starts in the lobby, which features woodwork designed to mimic a hīna‘i, or traditional fishing basket. This represents a basket of stories to remind visiting groups of the history of the fishing village that once stood where the resort is built. It’s also meant to create inspiration for attendees to create their own stories and memories.
One way for groups to do that is by incorporating some of the Hawaiian culture into their event. Meeting planners can do this by working with the onsite director of culture who can arrange a traditional welcome for attendees that involves leis and a traditional native chant. A kiakahi class, however, is the ultimate way to embrace the property’s ‘Aina-Kānaka concept, which emphasizes humankind’s direct relationship with the land. In the class, attendees will learn more about the mind, body and spirit connection to nature as well as interpret Hawaiian words. Groups of up to 20 attendees at a time will also get the opportunity to participate in a Hawaiian Olympics of sorts, that includes spear throwing and other traditional games.