Hawaii Hospitality - July/August 2013 - (Page 12)

Beyond Waikiki Oahu’s hOspitality Emits ‘COuntry,’ nEighbOr island-likE VibEs By LesLie LaNG 12 Hawaii Hospitality ■ July/August 2013 Heading into Haleiwa Town on the North Shore, Oahu why the celebrities and the heads of state choose to stay here,” Bright adds. “It’s private and quiet, but you have access to everything you need.” George Szigeti, president and CEO of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA), agrees. Waikiki, he says, is obviously the island’s visitor industry hub. “It’s the epicenter. But with the new Disney Aulani, and everything going on at Ihilani and in the other parts of the island, you go out there and you feel that you’re off-island, actually,” he says. Todd Apo, director of public affairs at Aulani, the Disney Resort & Spa, says that all the resorts at the 647-acre master-planned resort at Ko Olina offer what is more like a Neighbor Island experience, yet one with easy access to Waikiki and Honolulu. At Aulani, of course, it’s more than just being away from the “urban core.” The Disney resort, which Apo describes as a “family Hawaiian experience with the Disney magic,” provides an out-of-Waikiki experience that is unique. Hawaii Tourism auTHoriTy / Tor JoHnson A few years back, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) carefully considered the character and personality of each island and determined each one’s “brand.” For Oahu, it chose “Energized.” Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, senior director of sales and marketing at HVCB, says visitors generally choose Oahu because they want to be active and have a wide range of experiences. But all “energy” is not equal, and there’s a choice that Oahu visitors can make, unlike visitors to the other islands. “They can decide whether they want an urban energy or a country energy,” Schilling-Wheeler says. Oahu’s vibrant and exciting energy can be found in an urban environment, such as Waikiki and Honolulu, she explains, or a “country” one, like at the North Shore, Ko Olina or elsewhere. And those deciding to stay outside Waikiki not only experience a lower-key and “country” sort of energy. They also find a different feel to the hospitality. Some call it a Neighbor Island-like approach. The Kahala Hotel & Resort, for instance, offers what Roger Bright, director of sales, calls a “Neighbor Island luxury” type of experience. The hotel property provides a peaceful setting without the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. “You really can’t tell you’re in Honolulu,” he says. “You’re not surrounded by all the big buildings and the rest of it. You sit here on the verandah and have afternoon tea, or a cocktail, and watch the sunset, and you don’t think you’re on Oahu.” And yet guests can still take advantage of Honolulu’s amenities. “They have access to all the shopping and they can have the Waikiki experience if they want it. Some people want to experience that and then return to the hotel, an oasis just 10 minutes outside of Waikiki, for a lower-key kind of feel. It’s

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hawaii Hospitality - July/August 2013

New Restaurants
Beverage Trends
Guest Services
Beyond Waikiki
Talk Story with George Szigeti
Association News
News Briefs
Clean Talk with Rose

Hawaii Hospitality - July/August 2013