The Ritz-Carlton is opening Waikiki's first new visitor accommodation since 2009. // © 2015 Irongate
Feature image (above): Ocean views from every unit are a big selling point for The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach. // © 2015 Irongate
Nightly Rates: $599 to $3,299
Commission: 10 percent
As The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach prepares to open its doors, the luxury condominium-hotel is getting plenty of buzz.
Ritz-Carlton Waikiki’s first tower, with 307 units, is targeting a mid-April launch. Its second tower, with 245 rooms, will open in early 2018. It represents the first Ritz-Carlton in Waikiki and the second in Hawaii, along with The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui.
I recently met with Douglas Chang, the property’s general manager, who gave me a compelling list of reasons why travel agents should know about the new product.
New and Noteworthy
Ritz-Carlton Waikiki is the first newly constructed visitor accommodation in Waikiki since Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk opened in 2009.
“This is an exciting new brand for travel agents to sell,” Chang said. “As agents promote the latest and greatest, it can lead them to new clients.”
Ritz-Carlton Waikiki appeals to travelers who might not be considering Waikiki as a vacation destination, including people who feel like they’ve already done Waikiki.
“It’s a cool new option for discerning clients and more affluent travelers looking for unique lodging,” Chang said.
While the condo-hotel is composed completely of ownership units, owners can participate in a rental program for transient guests, according to Chang.
“Our guests will get hotel-style amenities such as twice-daily housekeeping, a front desk and valet parking, just like they would find at any Ritz-Carlton hotel,” Chang said.
Since Ritz-Carlton Waikiki features residential-style accommodations with kitchens in all units, it can translate into extended stays for clients, a big benefit for travel agents, Chang says.
With studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom options, Ritz-Carlton Waikiki offers appealing flexibility in terms of accommodations. And, while the property is one block away from Waikiki Beach, all units feature ocean views.
Retail and Restaurant Partners
Fittingly, Ritz-Carlton Waikiki will feature high-profile retailers and restaurants. New York-based Dean & DeLuca is opening its first Hawaii location at the property with an upstairs cafe and downstairs gourmet market.
BLT Market, a farm-to-table restaurant with New York origins, is creating an open-air, ocean-view eatery on the lobby level. Sushi Sho, an acclaimed chain of Japan-based restaurants, is making its U.S. debut at the site.
Other on-property amenities include two oceanview pools, a spa and fitness center and a Ritz Kids lounge.
Sense of Place
Born and raised on Oahu and of Hawaiian descent, Chang takes Ritz-Carlton Waikiki’s cultural component seriously.
“It’s important to me that we have a sense of place,” he said. “The question is, what does that look like at this property? I want to create memories and stories for our owners and guests.”
Chang points out that Hawaii’s host culture and Ritz-Carlton’s culture both pride themselves on hospitality and service. So while the new building sports a chic, urban design, its guest offerings will honor the destination’s history and heritage.
Meanwhile, an off-the-beach location may seem like a shortcoming, but Chang and his team are crafting a luxury Waikiki Beach experience for guests.
“We know the beach is an important part of the experience, so we’re looking carefully at how to make that happen in keeping with what we’re doing here,” he said.