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While boutique hotels generally have 100 rooms or less, it’s their personality that really defines them. They greet guests with an aura of intimacy and a decor reflecting their surroundings. Better yet, they often come with freebies such as breakfast, loaner bikes and wine receptions.
For clients seeking cozy island digs with personal service, a unique location and reasonable rates, these five boutique Hawaii hotels hit the mark.
Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux, MauiWith its adults-only clientele, this southwest Maui oasis — Hawaii’s sole Relais & Chateaux property — caters to romantic getaways. Its 72 rooms feature deep soaking tubs, kitchenettes and private lanais, and its activities focus on customized vacations.
“We recognize that there are a variety of travel personalities, and we have curated experiences to fit each one,” said Christy Stesky, director of marketing for Hotel Wailea.
For instance, foodies can take a cooking class, while wellness warriors can try aerial yoga. Adventurers can spend the day in a replica 1957 Porsche Speedster, enhanced by a gourmet picnic basket.
“We hope our guests have a chance to connect with each other, whether it’s through child-free time at the pool, a shared adventure around the island or a new culinary experience,” Stesky said.
Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head, OahuSet across from Kapiolani Park, this 51-room beachside gem aims to please. Employees recognize guests and call them by name. Gratis amenities include use of bikes and sand chairs, admission to the Honolulu Museum of Art and daily wine gatherings with live music in the lobby. Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head also provides clients with a pass that’s good for shopping, dining and attraction discounts.
Rooms channel the hotel’s setting, with all units facing Diamond Head crater. When it comes to guest satisfaction, the Lotus is rated top in the Aqua-Aston Hospitality portfolio, said Ward Almeida, general manager of the property.
“We try to do things for guests that they don’t expect,” Almeida said. “We hope to make them feel like the VIPs they are to us.”
Paia Inn, MauiMuch like the town embracing it, Paia Inn is small, casual and historic. Shell chandeliers twinkle in its lobby, and its 10 rooms feature artwork inspired by island lifestyle. At the same time, accommodations meet modern needs with 500-thread-count sheets, flat-screen televisions and stocked minibars. Guests receive free morning coffee and access to gym facilities.Steps from the front door awaits Paia town’s distinctive restaurants, galleries and shops. The inn is located just 7 miles from Kahului Airport and a short drive from windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing, hiking and waterfalls.“Our guests often comment on how friendly our staff is and how they feel like they are staying at a friend’s house,” said Candice Parcher, assistant manager for Paia Inn. “We offer the perfect balance between comfort and convenience.”www.paiainn.comVolcano House, Hawaii IslandPerched on the edge of a steaming crater, Volcano House stands apart from any other in Hawaii. The landmark lodge dates back to 1846, but its 33 rooms have been upgraded with Wi-Fi access, alarm clock radios, coffee makers and safes. Complimentary guest amenities include daily newspaper and use of iPads and cruiser bikes. Clients can stand-up paddleboard by the glow of the caldera at the hotel’s rim-view dining room and sip cocktails in the lounge to the strains of live Hawaiian tunes. The staff shares tips on how to tour the dramatic environs of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.“We hope our guests feel revitalized by Mother Nature, especially after spending time in this magnificent region on Hawaii Island,” said Orin McCann, Volcano House’s general manager. “We give our visitors the experience of a lifetime: the thrill of waking up next to an active volcano.”www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com
Waimea Plantation Cottages, KauaiDraped over 27 oceanfront acres far removed from traditional resorts, this west Kauai standout honors history while offering contemporary perks such as Wi-Fi access, TVs and full kitchens. Built from the mid-1800s to the 1930s, its 60 cottages are surrounded by tropical landscaping that provides a sense of privacy.
Waimea Plantation Cottages serves as a fine home base for exploring area highlights such as Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. Some guests, however, prefer to stay put, relaxing on the lanai of the main lobby building, in a hammock, by the pool or at a barbecue grill.
“This is a magical spot for letting the gentle side of Hawaii caress away every day cares,” said Gregg Enright, general manager of Waimea Plantation Cottages. “We’d like our guests to end their stay feeling restored.”