Gathering Place

Makana, on the North Shore, opens for events

By: Marty Wentzel

HANALEI, Kauai As Hanalei Colony Resort develops more programs for its burgeoning special events facility, it’s positioning itself as a prime destination for health and wellness enthusiasts and small groups seeking an immersion into Kauai’s rural North Shore.

For the past two years, the 5-acre low-rise resort has operated the facility called Makana (gift) primarily for weddings. “Several of our guests and groups asked about using Makana for small meetings and events, so we decided to embark on a new adventure,” said the resort’s general manager, Laura Beemer. “Now the facility has come alive with a variety of daytime and evening activities.”

The 3,000-square-foot beachfront building, originally operated as Charo’s Restaurant, sits adjacent to the resort. Hanalei Colony pays 10 percent commission to travel agents who book it for events, as well as 10 percent on guestrooms booked at the resort. For bookings of three or more units at the resort, Hanalei Colony extends discounted group rates for Makana functions.

The layout in Makana, which holds as many as 150 comfortably, is flexible enough to handle elegant dinners, meditation sessions or high-tech meetings. “It’s particularly well-suited for wellness groups,” said Beemer.

That in mind, the resort now offers twice-weekly yoga classes and Monday night wellness talks in Makana.

Other ongoing events in Makana include mai tai parties for resort guests on Tuesday nights and Wednesdays are reserved for Tahiti Nui Luau, a decades-old institution on the North Shore. On Friday mornings, guests are invited to gather in Makana for continental breakfast and lei-making classes. The public can stop by for Friday evening Pau Hana (after work) festivities, including happy hour drinks, local music and casual food like mahimahi tacos and coconut-fried shrimp. “The ambience is fun,” Beemer said. “It’s a mix of guests and locals, with lots of laughter.”

Makana’s interior features Mediterranean tile floors, open-beam vaulted ceilings, skylights and wall-to-wall windows. The walls are accented with bamboo, and Polynesian-style tables and chairs lend an island flair to the main room. The lounge area, with plantation-style sea grass couches and chairs and teak furnishings, has proved popular for relaxed gatherings, Beemer noted. The large lawn fronting Makana provides another option for groups.

Hanalei Colony Resort is converting a three-bedroom cottage into a day spa and expects to open it to guests and visitors early next year.

In addition to Makana, the pool area at Hanalei Colony Resort is a popular site for informal private dinners, receptions, barbecues and luaus for resort guests, said Beemer.

Hanalei Colony Resort is composed of 48 two-bedroom condominiums with fully equipped kitchens. “With no phones or televisions in the rooms, there’s nothing to distract guests from a wonderful group experience,” Beemer said. “This is a place to retreat and explore your inner self, or discover new ideas for your business.”

Through 2003, nightly rack rates at Hanalei Colony Resort range from $180-$335 for as many as four people per unit, with the seventh night free. Car-and-condo packages start at $208.50.

800-628-3004; www.hcr. com.