LIHUE, Kauai “Excuse me, Tom?” A woman tapped Tom Bartlett on
the shoulder during our breakfast at the Radisson Kauai Beach
Resort. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I need your advice. Where’s
the best place for our group to eat dinner in Poipu this evening?
There are six of us, and we’d love some place casual but with an
Bartlett looked thoughtful, asked for a few more details, then
confidently proposed Brennecke’s Beach Broiler to the guest, who
beamed at the idea.
As Radisson Kauai’s sales and marketing director, Bartlett is a
highly visible face around the hotel. He clearly relishes such
one-on-one interactions with clients, not to mention their travel
agents, and his easy-going manner fits well at the congenial
A longtime Hawaii resident, Bartlett settled for good on Kauai in
1995. Two years ago he came up with a flyer for his guests called
“Tom’s Tips,” listing some of things he loves most about the
“With 350 rooms here, I can’t possibly talk to everyone who stays
with us, but I’d feel terrible if they missed out on places on
Kauai that are what I call ‘Wow’ experiences,” Bartlett said.
Among the must-try foods on his list are the seared ahi at Koloa
Fish Market, and wonton soup at Hamura’s Saimin. Couples
celebrating a special occasion should ask for table 9 or 39 at
Gaylord’s restaurant, said Bartlett. An avid canoe paddler, he
raves about swimming at Hanalei Bay, and he confesses to a weakness
for the chocolate souffle at Roy’s restaurant.
Calling Kauai the Island of Discovery, Bartlett views his hotel’s
eastern location as perfect for island day-trippers, because it’s
centrally situated between attractions to the north, south and west
of the island. That in mind, he has nicknamed the East Shore
“Kauai’s Right Side,” a double-entendre that’s likely to show up on
Bartlett said he knows he’s doing his job right when he looks out
to an empty hotel parking lot during the day.
“There’s so much to see and do on Kauai, and I want people to head
out and explore it,” he said.
Sure enough, however, like winter waves to the North Shore, the
cars come back to the Radisson Kauai each day by 4:45 p.m. That
gives guests just enough time to attend the hotel’s nightly
complementary cocktail reception, torch-lighting ceremony and live
Polynesian Show from 5 to 6 p.m.
“We wanted to give something special to each guest,” Bartlett
explained, “but instead of providing everyone with a free
breakfast, we decided on a cocktail party. People just naturally
prefer to socialize in the evening. It’s a chance for clients to
meet each other and swap stories.”
Bartlett calls his hotel “relaxing and comfortable,” a trait that’s
attracting small conferences and company gatherings.
“Groups are one of our most lucrative pieces of business,” he said.
“The groups we get are rate-conscious, so it’s helpful that we’re
Kauai’s only moderately priced property with meeting space.”
Radisson Kauai provides 24,000 square feet of function areas,
backed up by a variety of audiovisual support. It’s the only hotel
on Kauai with high-speed Internet access in all of its meeting
rooms, and it’s installing wireless Internet access into all
guestrooms by the end of March.
As a perk for leisure and group guests alike, the Kauai property is
adding Radisson’s signature Sleep Number beds throughout 2005. The
new beds let guests adjust mattress firmness and support by pushing
Among its services for groups, the Radisson Kauai can create a link
from a client Web site to an air/room package booking engine,
Bartlett noted. He encouraged Western travel agents who are
interested in cultivating group business at the Radisson Kauai to
call him for suggestions.
As Bartlett shares his love for the island with his guests, he
wants to be an equally valuable resource for his partners in
travel. His message to agents:
“E-mail me, and I’ll do everything I can to provide your clients
with a room upgrade and homemade brownies,” he said. “Oh, and make
sure you ask us to put a copy of Tom’s Tips in their room.”
Radisson Kauai Beach Resort
4331 Kauai Beach Dr.
Lihue, HI 96766-9159
(for Radisson Kauai’s Tom Bartlett)
For 2005, Super Saver rates range $199-$259 per night. Paradise
Rates for 2005 are $259-$359, with suites $459-$799, including
daily breakfast buffet for two, fifth night free and guaranteed
upgrade for honeymooners and seniors.
All rates include a nightly cocktail hour, torch-lighting and
Polynesian dance show, airport transfers and shuttle to Kauai
Lagoons and Wailua golf courses.
Value-added promotions for 2005 include a five-night honeymoon
package from $249 per night, including arrival champagne, daily
meal credit and two spa treatments.
A room-and-car-only package starts at $184 per night.
Radisson Kauai pays 10 percent commission to travel agents.