Hilton Debuts New Hawaii Option

The Aloha state is certainly known for its fair share of luxury, ocean front resorts, many carrying the flag of some of the world’s leading hotel brands. But over the past few years, these trophy properties have been joined on various Hawaiian Islands by a number of upper-end select-service hotels.

While these branded newcomers may not be full-fledged resorts, they do offer some resort-like amenities like swimming pools and at least one food and beverage outlet. And their location may only be a few blocks in from the beach.

Yet for as much as planners focus on trophy properties, it may be worth their while to keep an eye on the new arrivals. After all, in a perfect world, it may be their preference to house everyone connected to the event under one roof at the luxury resort, but it may just not be possible, budgets being what they are today.

So people like the off-site tech crew responsible for audiovisuals, support staff, outside consultants and facilitators, musicians and other entertainers performing at the event… all need a place to stay. Not only are the newcomers typically in close proximity, but the rate will be at a significant discount to the high-end alternative.

The latest new arrival on Hawaii is Hilton Garden Inn, which last month (June) opened properties on both Oahu (Waikiki) and Kauai. Both are conversions of existing properties that went through significant (and costly) overhauls as part of the changeover. Both feature the brand’s latest standards as well as stylish, contemporary (Hawaii flavored) design.

As it happens, the Hilton name is already well known on the Islands, thanks to established properties such as Grand Wailea, which is part of the Waldorf Astoria brand (on Maui); Hilton Hawaiian Village (Oahu/Waikiki) and Hilton Waikoloa Village (Big Island), among others.

For its part, fast-growing Hilton Garden Inn is nearing its 700th property. With this latest pair of openings, the brand is now in all 50 states as well as a number of international markets. And with 623 rooms, the Waikiki property has the distinction of being the largest in the Hilton Garden Inn system.

Planners, meanwhile, can look to upper-end select-service properties in luxury resort destinations not only to house people, but in two other regards. First, there may well be need for a discreet high-level meeting venue during the event away from the main hotel. Both of the Hilton Garden Inns, for example, have well equipped, if modest, amounts of meeting space.

Second, especially in a destination like Hawaii, attendees are often interested in pre- and post-conference stays. Some requests may be for a pre- or post-option on the island where the meeting is being held. In other instances, family may be joining them and they’re interested in getting away to another of the islands. And since they’re typically paying out of their own pocket, budget may well be a concern.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Hilton Worldwide. Cover image: Hilton Garden Inn Kauai. Above, from left: Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki, Hilton Garden Inn Kauai

Bruce Serlen

Bruce Serlen

Bruce Serlen is a veteran travel writer, based in New Jersey, who has written extensively on meetings management and hotel operations. Most recently, he was executive editor at Hotel Business.

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