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If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Mother Nature will be delighted by Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
At least, that was my takeaway from a recent stay at the 297-room Hawaii Island hotel, where the results of a multimillion-dollar renovation pay a loving tribute to the great outdoors.
From the first step through the resort’s wood-paneled entrance, clients can appreciate their spectacular surroundings. The open-air lobby — more spacious than before the renovation — provides a cooling breeze and ocean views, while black stonework symbolizes the lava rock that characterizes the Kohala Coast. Refreshed accommodations feature blue hues evoking the sea, while hints of oranges and reds in the rooms capture the colors of the sunset over Anaehoomalu Bay (or A-Bay, as locals call it), which hugs the 15-acre property.
One of the most impressive outcomes of the property’s refresh is the creation of the 14-room Na Hale wing. The self-contained, two-story building stands closer to the water than the rest of the hotel, and its guests enjoy larger accommodations and more amenities than they would in other rooms.
John Dominguez, director of sales and marketing for Waikoloa Beach Marriott, recommends Na Hale rooms to couples who are celebrating a special occasion; companies who want to thank hardworking employees; and individuals looking to get away from it all.
“Because of Na Hale’s location, guests are able to feel like they have entered a secluded part of the resort and island,” Dominguez said. “Na Hale rooms takes clients to another place and create a sense of tranquility.”
With the introduction of this hotel-within-a-hotel, he adds, travel agents and wholesale partners have an exciting new product to sell to clients.
I certainly felt pampered by my Na Hale digs, where the bathroom boasted double vanities, an indoor walk-in shower and a private outdoor shower. The kitchenette came furnished with a full-size refrigerator, a coffeemaker, dishes, utensils and a cozy table and chairs. My lanai, with its two chaise lounges, offered a serene spot for gazing out to the ancient fishponds for which the property is known.
Location also inspires the hotel’s activities. A huge selling point is its proximity to A-Bay, which is popular for its calm, swimmable waters. There, ocean recreation company Ocean Sports offers clients splashy pastimes such as snorkel and sunset catamaran cruises. Meanwhile, the culturally and historically significant grounds present a fitting setting for Waikoloa Beach Marriott’s highly-regarded luau.
The cheery new Akaula Lanai, near the lobby, doubles as an espresso bar by day and cocktail lounge by night. At Hawaii Calls, the hotel’s alfresco restaurant, a redesign has resulted in a more contemporary ambiance for American and Pacific Rim cuisine.
Health and wellness buffs can work up a sweat at the revamped fitness center, which is stocked with top-of-the-line equipment. When it’s time to indulge, the two-level Mandara Spa pampers guests with treatments that draw from Hawaiian and Balinese traditions.
From the hotel’s porte cochere, it’s an easy walk to the lively boutiques and eateries of two visitor-centric retail hubs: Kings’ Shops, which just added a lakeside putting course, and Queens’ MarketPlace, home of a new rum-tasting emporium.
As Mother Nature provides visual inspiration around the resort, Hawaii’s trademark aloha spirit motivates its staff. Employees greet guests with genuine smiles, calling them by name and asking specifics about their daily activities.
“You know that feeling you get from walking through your front door after a long day of work, knowing you can relax and enjoy time with your ohana (family)? That is Waikoloa Beach Marriott,” Dominguez said. “We are your home. We are your ohana.”
The DetailsWaikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa www.waikoloabeachmarriott.com