New Beginnings

Koa Kea brings chic to the sand at Poipu Beach

By: By Dawna L. Robertson

The Details

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach
2251 Poipu Rd., Koloa, HI 96756
Packages: The Isle Be Seeing You at Poipu package offers a reduced nightly rate of $299 (regularly $445) in a gardenview room category, exclusive of tax and resort fees. Room with a View covers an upgrade at time of rack-rate booking from gardenview to partial oceanview, or from partial oceanview to oceanview. Based on availability, both packages are valid until Dec. 19.
Commission: 10 percent

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Chris Steuri has come full circle. As general manager of the new Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach on Kauai, Steuri has returned to the site of a property he was forced to leave some 16 years ago at the hands of Mother Nature.

Set to open late fall, the hip boutique hotel has been reconstructed on the original footprint of the Poipu Beach Hotel, which was shuttered in the aftermath of Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Steuri was assistant general manager of the popular beachfront property at the time.

A guestroom at Koa Kea Hotel & Resort // (c) Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
A guestroom at Koa Kea Hotel & Resort 

"Koa Kea is the last of the Iniki-destroyed hotels in Poipu that has been rebuilt, and that puts us in a favored light," Steuri said. "We weren’t part of massive development throughout the island."

Steuri feels that the prime Poipu location simply adds to all the reasons why he considers Koa Kea a hotelier’s dream.

"It’s a situation where you wonder how you would do it all from scratch if you had the chance. And that’s what I’ve got!"

Key to the industry veteran is the name change, which reflects the hotel’s new beginning. Translating to "white coral" in the Hawaiian language, Koa Kea pays homage to the coral goddess, Hina. Additionally, it pays tribute to the new life, excitement and anticipation that has been brought to the location.

Its relaxing mood meshes well with the stylish design and decor, making it a good fit for couples, honeymooners and soft-adventure travelers.

Families may find other Poipu properties better suited to children, however, since Koa Kea has avoided the typical bells and whistles that garner kid appeal.

Playing on Hawaii’s natural landscape, the property reflects the vibrant colors of its surrounding native flowers and sealife. Neutral tones used throughout are accented by lush shades of crimson, turquoise and coral.

"When guests walk into the lobby, they’ll sense the contrast immediately," Steuri said. "They’ll come from a lush tropical environment into a contemporary lobby where rich, dark woods blend with a crisp white palette offset by bright accents. The design will keep everything just a little off balance."

Also unconventional, Koa Kea’s check-in experience will take a more personal approach by eliminating physical barriers and allowing guests to set the pace.

"Our clerks will come from behind the front desk to greet each guest," said Steuri. "We’ll let our guests drive the check-in process. We’ll follow their pace."

Carrying the fresh theme beyond, Koa Kea’s 112 guestrooms and nine suites — most with partial or full ocean views — will place an emphasis on clean lines with tropically inspired accents and patterns.

Windows will be draped in sheer fabric, allowing the sun and sea breeze to become a part of the in-room experience.

Each guestroom is decked out with a 42-inch flat-screen television, Wi-Fi Internet access, an iPod docking station, a refrigerator, videos on demand, an espresso machine, Anichini bed linens and a private lanai. The neutral-toned bathrooms will feature Italian marble showers and L’Occitane amenities.

Just as chic will be Red Salt, Koa Kea’s restaurant, inspired by Kauai’s famous Hanapepe Salt Ponds. The eatery’s contemporary, upscale cuisine will showcase fresh, local Hawaiian flavors and ingredients.

For on-site recreation, guests will find an exclusive swimming pool, whirlpool and the intimate Spa at Koa Kea with five treatment rooms.

The luxury menu at the spa will fall in line with its use of natural and indigenous ingredients such as seaweed, pineapple, Awapuhi root, Red Kauai clay, pikake, guava and coconut. It will also feature a
luxurious couples suite.

Steuri stressed that aside from its stylish appearance, Koa Kea’s operating philosophy will also follow a unique beat.

"We want everything we do to have a purpose rather than simply be part of a system," he said. "Front desk employees will be trained as concierges as well. So whoever checks in a guest becomes their concierge throughout their stay."

The goal, according to Steuri, is to carry this concept throughout the hotel.

"The focus isn’t on set rituals. It’s based on guests’ individual desires versus handbook procedures."

He encourages agents to experience the Preferred Hotel & Resorts property with a special introductory rate of $199 per night through 2009 (blackout dates and restrictions apply).

"We think they’ll agree that it’s a fresh approach for Poipu Beach," he said.