Divine Digs

Ultraluxury accommodations are followed up with the ultimate in pampering

By: Marty Wentzel

Discriminating clients desire privacy, luxury and excellence in service when they travel. Following are a few examples of Hawaii accommodations that meet all those requirements.

Mauna Lani Bungalows, Big Island. Attracting such high-profile guests as Kevin Costner, Billy Crystal and Steven Spielberg, these five elegantly appointed free-standing bungalows hug the Kohala Coast next to Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

“The word ‘no’ doesn’t exist here,” said Mauna Lani Bungalow manager Susy Chillingworth. “Our high return rate is due largely to our service.” Some bungalow guests have stayed as long as six weeks at a time, she added. Butlers in starched white uniforms double as chefs, firing up the barbecue, cooking for a party or preparing a feast for one.

If bungalow guests have answered their prearrival questionnaires, they will be served their preferred foods, including caviar and champagne.

Bungalows boast two master bedroom suites and three marble bathrooms with glass doors leading to private gardens and pools. Vaulted ceilings soar above large living and dining rooms. By spring 2003 all of the bungalows will be refurbished and broadband and wireless Internet access installed. Rates range from $4,900 to $5,600 per night. Call 800-628-7815.

Hapuna Suite, Big Island. “Our average guest is anything but average,” said manager William Bennett. “We have one guest who books the suite because our staff prepares her family’s meals to her specifications uncooked, organic and all natural.”

The 8,000-square-foot, two-story oasis is perched on a secluded oceanview bluff next to Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Guests arrive and depart by limousine and have suite attendants for every need. There’s a welcome amenity from the executive chef, a full bar and a stocked refrigerator and pantry.

Each of the three bedrooms has its own bath and lanai, and a fourth room doubles as a bedroom or a study. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide ocean views from the living room. A full-service kitchen is equipped for a gourmet chef, and there is a private swimming pool with an expansive stone patio.

“The type of person who books the suite wants to enjoy a vacation where all the details are handled, from breakfast plans, to activities, to dining,” Bennett said. “We provide all manners of pampering.”

The rate is $7,000 per night. Call 800-882-6060.

Puunoa Beach Estates, Maui. “The hardest part of my job is making people go home at the end of their vacations,” said Paula Rathbun, general manager. “Once they come here, they don’t want to stay anywhere else.”

Located close to Lahaina town and Kaanapali Resort, Puunoa Beach Estates is comprised of 10 townhomes, each with its own beachfront lanai and 3-acre estate. Accommodations provide views looking across the ocean to the islands of Lanai and Molokai.

Measuring 1,700 to 2,100 square feet, units come with two or three bedrooms including kitchens, living and dining rooms and bathrooms with all bedrooms. Accents of Hawaiian koa wood provide a tropical touch to the decor and furnishings, which vary from home to home.

Puunoa’s exclusive beachfront entertainment area features a pool, a spa, an exercise salon and gas grills. Other guest amenities include free snorkel equipment, Internet and e-mail access, newspapers and videos.

“Most of our clients are return guests,” said Rathbun, including families who rent more than one townhome. The property’s sense of privacy appeals to honeymooners, top business executives and such celebrities as Cindy Williams, Emeril Lagasse and the Gallo Wine family, she said.

Nightly rates range from $650 to $875, with the seventh night free. Call Classic Resorts at 800-642-6284.

Fireplace Garden Suite, Lanai. The one-bedroom 1,250-square-foot Fireplace Garden Suite is the Lodge at Koele’s most sought-after room, according to Tina Harlow, general manager. The suite provides a view of the gardens, a reflecting pond, an orchid house and a golf course, not to mention its cozy fireplace ambience. Harlow said the suite is booked most of the year.

Located in the Lodge’s main hall, the suite has a parlor featuring a fireplace, a full wet bar and a queen-size Murphy bed. The bedroom has a four-poster king-size bed, and the living room and bedroom share a common porch. Clients are met with flower leis, warm towels and chilled pineapple cider. The suite is adorned with fresh orchids grown on-property. A member of the staff lights its fireplace each evening.

Harlow recommends the suite to clients who are accustomed to excellence in service. “Those seeking peaceful surroundings amidst stately pines and manicured gardens are a perfect match,” she said.

The nightly rate is $2,200.

Call 800-321-4666.

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