Downsize in Style at Hawaii's Boutique Hotels

Downsize in Style at Hawaii's Boutique Hotels

Hawaii’s boutique hotels present a chic alternative to traditional tropical digs By: Marty Wentzel
<p>Hotel Renew by Aston boasts an ideal location just one-half block from Waikiki Beach. // © 2014 Aston Hotels and Resorts</p><p>Feature image...

Hotel Renew by Aston boasts an ideal location just one-half block from Waikiki Beach. // © 2014 Aston Hotels and Resorts

Feature image (above): Koa Kea's lobby welcomes guests with an intimate island-style vibe. // © 2014 Koa Kea Hotel and Resort

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Heading to Mexico? Like Hawaii, it also has excellent smaller, boutique properties.

If an intimate hideaway sounds more to your liking than a megaresort, consider one of Hawaii’s boutique hotels. Boutique hotels are small, with 125 rooms at the most. Reflecting their surroundings, they pride themselves on personality while providing attentive service and all the creature comforts.

Hawaii’s boutique hotels distinguish themselves further with a decor seen nowhere else. Forget cookie-cutter accommodations; these digs march to their own drummers and so do their independent-minded guests.

Here’s a look at five of our favorite smaller properties in Hawaii. Try one on for size, and you just may become a fan for life.

Hotel Lanai
Pineapple baron James Dole opened this plantation-style inn in 1923 to host visiting execs. Today, it remains a Lanai City gathering place and quaint home base for exploring the island. Its 11 rooms have Hawaiian quilts, hardwood floors, local artworks and pedestal bathroom sinks. On the porch, comfy wicker chairs invite guests to share stories. Continental breakfast adds to the aloha spirit of this distinctive lodge.

Hotel Renew by Aston on Oahu
Cool towels and chilled juice at check-in set the tone for the warm service that follows at this 72-room Waikiki getaway. Accommodations feature chic Asian-modern decor. Clients get daily continental breakfast and a free signature cocktail during the nightly happy hour. Armed with gratis beach gear, guests can walk just one short block to the shore. Other perks include access to a fitness facility and two resort pools.

Koa Kea Hotel and Resort, Kauai
This 121-room beachfront property presents a cozy alternative to the larger resorts in Poipu, on Kauai’s sunny south shore. The expected amenities — such as a spa, swimming pool and restaurant — come without the crowds. Large windows leading to private lanais bathe guestrooms in light. All accommodations provide clients with stylish touches that include espresso makers, iPod docking stations and dual-head showers.

Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head, Oahu
Across the street from Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head, this 50-room gem woos clients with its winning location and competitive rates. Its recently renovated rooms have island-inspired hardwood floors and subtle tropical patterns plus indulgences such as espresso machines and 42-inch flat-screen TVs. Free guest amenities include bike rentals, beach chairs, wine in the lobby and yoga classes in the park.

Travaasa Hana, Maui
Get away from it all at this gracious oasis in rural east Maui. Its 70 rooms and cottages are imbued with Hawaiiana. Rates come with loads of free activities such as snorkeling and pole or net fishing. Guests can borrow bikes and boogie boards, and they can mingle during a weekly cocktail reception. A top-notch spa channels the healing nature of its environment, icing the cake at this classic Hawaii boutique hotel.