Grand Hyatt Kauai Continues to Innovate

Even in its 20th anniversary year, Grand Hyatt Kauai shows it is still doing things its own way.

By: By Marty Wentzel

The Details

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Last year, as Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa anticipated the April 2010 start of its comprehensive guestroom renovation, it contacted the usual assortment of designers and contractors for input. Then, it went a step further and called on its most important experts: the guests themselves. It invited clients into two model rooms and asked for their feedback on everything from individual fixtures to the overall look and feel of the accommodations.

Even as the Grand Hyatt Kauai celebrates a milestone, it continues to innovate. // © 2010 Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Even as the Grand Hyatt Kauai celebrates a milestone, it continues to innovate.
// © 2010 Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

“It was good to hear what our guests wanted to see in a room and what was important to them,” said Grand Hyatt Kauai general manager Doug Sears.

Perhaps even more impressive were the numbers of repeat guests who made a point of providing their input.

“We had the model rooms open for just two hours per day for seven days in December 2009,” said hotel spokesperson Diann Hartman. “During that small window of time, nearly 10 percent of the people who viewed the rooms had stayed with us more than six times before. Five percent were in the 15-stays-or-more category. They knew every incarnation the rooms had ever gone through in the past.”

Based on those guest comments, hotel officials decided upon the final product, which Sears called “an all-inclusive embrace of our traditional Hawaiian classic style,” using materials reflecting Kauai’s culture and climate.

Marching to Its Own Drummer
Involving guests in the renovation plans is a classic example of how the Grand Hyatt Kauai operates. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the 602-room resort on the island’s south shore has a history of setting precedents. Located on a wide 50-acre oceanfront parcel, it was built into a hillside to maximize views from every room and allow tradewinds to cool its open spaces. One of its most prominent features — the water playground — was styled to look like something clients might find while hiking. It includes a 150-foot waterslide, adult pool, large activity pool and a meandering river pool with waterfalls and hidden caves. In addition, clients can swim in a sand-bottom saltwater lagoon
dotted with islands and lava rocks.

Then, there is the hotel’s trailblazing one-acre Anara Spa, recently chosen by Conde Nast Traveler readers as one of the best spas in the country. Its open-air design helps guests reconnect with the restorative balance found in nature. Clients can enjoy treatments in private rooms or outdoor hale (bungalows) surrounded by gardens, while enjoying the sound of waterfalls. Thanks to a recent multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation, the spa also features an open-air fitness and yoga room, sauna and steam rooms, al fresco lava rock showers, a lap pool and a well-appointed fitness center open around the clock. The spa’s signature treatment — the Kauai Clay Ritual — incorporates ingredients from the rainforests of Kauai.

Keeping It Green
Grand Hyatt Kauai has been setting an ecological example as well. It recently received Hawaii’s Green Business Award for its commitment to the environment by conserving natural resources and reducing waste. For instance, heat produced by the hotel’s air conditioning system warms water for guestrooms and swimming pools. Recycle bins in each guestroom and throughout the resort encourage clients to deposit glass, plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The hotel’s nearly 60,000 square feet of grass-covered roofs reduce cooling needs and further clean the air.

Other green initiatives at the resort include donating kitchen waste to island pig farmers, processing old cooking oil into bio-diesel fuel, packaging restaurant take-out food in biodegradable corn-based plastics and running a guestroom towel and linen conservation program saving more than 500,000 gallons of water each year. When the guestrooms have been renovated, they will feature efficient recessed LED lighting in the bathroom vanity area, low-flow toilets, carpeting made with recycled yarn and energy-saving ceiling fans.

Bringing Back Guests
Now that its room renovation project is under way, the Grand Hyatt Kauai is making sure that the project occurs in phases, closing entire building wings at a time to mitigate any disturbance to clients. Plans call for the work to be completed in 2010, ensuring that all guests will stay in new rooms by 2011.

That’s the sort of attention to detail that has helped the hotel build a dedicated following of repeat guests.

“Many clients have stayed with us at least once each year since we opened,” said Hartman. “We have even hired employees who used to vacation here with their families while they were growing up. They just couldn’t wait to come back here to work.”

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