Go for the Aloha --
What takes people to the islands of Hawaii? What takes you? Maybe…the local acai bowl, to finally try surfing, to track down where White Lotus was filmed, the island hopping, is Moana’s Te Fiti real (!?) Whatever it is, we know not just why you want to go, but also why you should go. Go for the Aloha. This past week, advisors of The Travel Studio were whisked away to the islands of Maui and Oahu to see the full dive and what the buzz was all about.
We were hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua for a few nights and The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki for a few nights. Time spent on our partners turf is such a great reminder of the wonderful relationships formed in the travel industry. So much time and effort is spent taking care of one another and creating valuable experiences for those also working tirelessly to create those same special experiences for others. What a luxury to be hosted by such solid, impressive and hardworking partners and friends. Let’s make one thing clear: you will never be led astray when cared for by The Ritz-Carlton. Here is just a snippet of what we learned:
Let’s start with the accommodations.
First, on Kapalua. (@ritzcarltonkapalua) No upgrade was needed as we were all granted a space in the Deluxe Ocean Club Access. A King bed for all, as well as an ocean view, your very own private lanai (terrace) and to top it off, access to the exclusive Club Lounge. Another great option for those with little ones is the Fire Lanai Ocean View/Golf View. Located on the first floor, is a spacious room with a fire pit on your personal lanai. Easy access to the fabulous pools, beach and green space. Fireplaces are just as dreamy in a warm destination. The Club Lounge, with an additional cost, is an exclusive lounge area with meals, sweet treats, beverages, beautiful views, games, and every guest can go for five food presentations daily as well for the Sunset Celebration experience that occurs every night. The accommodations were plenty spacious and a splendid spot to wind down after a day full of activities.
On Oahu, (@ritzcarltonwaikiki) we each found ourselves in a Deluxe Ocean View room. For an entry-level room, it felt as though we had already been upgraded. We were thrilled to be in the Diamond Head Tower (built in 2018). In a city full of tall buildings, you could still see the ocean and the beautiful sunsets. This property did a wonderful job with making every space feel luxurious with their modern twists of white marble pieces mixed with wood details. Pretty remarkable that an entry level room also has a full kitchenette with a refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, oven, washer, and dryer. To showcase their innovations for the future, the property has eliminated plastic water bottles in your room and you can fill up glasses and bottles with Hawaii’s best water, straight from the sink.
Not an accommodation, but it was widely agreed upon that we experienced a couple of the most magical spas! You’ll have to go and see for yourself. Some treatments experienced were the Lomilomi massage, hydrafacials, naturally nurtured prenatal massage for our travel ohana who’s expecting, stress relief massage with hot rocks (a new and spectacular experience for some of us), and so much more.
Do we dare start about the food? Something we learned on Maui was something the locals re-learned just recently. Due to longer shipping times for food and necessities during 2020, people on the islands were able to re-discover just how self-sufficient they are from all of the foods they grow and have been growing in their backyards for centuries. They found a strength in not having to be solely reliant on waiting for shipments. A personal favorite is the pineapple, Hawaii’s most popular fruit. We were able to taste the most fresh sushi, poke and poi (a vegetable similar to a sweet potato that is mashed and eaten as a topping or a side). We were the most surprised and amazed by the poi!
The traditions. If you haven’t seen, we’re sure you’ve possibly heard of the luau presented by The Royal Hawaiian (@royal_hawaiian), or if it helps, the delicious PINK and historical property downtown Waikiki. Odds are, you can see it from your balcony at The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki. The luau specifically takes you through stories of history past from King Kamehameha’s time, to Queen Liliuokalani, the language, the art of the hula, military losses and victories, to where Hawaii is today. Stories of the island include not just respect for the ocean but as well for the mountains. They even used to bury some beloved monarchs in the side of the mountains. They cherish the down below as well as the peaks of the land. A fascinating show along with dinner right on the beach of Waikiki. Overlooking this green space is the King Kamehameha Suite that is often visited by an A-list Hollywood actor…can you guess it?
The shared culture amongst locals makes you strongly want to be a part of what it is they’ve found. How proud they are to be from the islands isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As openly discussed, Hawaiians do put a lot of effort in raising their children to be proud of their Hawaiian heritage, as many are moving to the mainland for various reasons (ex. Nevada, also known as the ninth island). A shame it would be if this art of care for each other, places, nature, history, etc. was to be lost. A time-honored wisdom that is lost in other corners of the world.
There is so much meaning in the Hawaiian language. We will start and end with this. Alo means “being in one’s presence face-to-face,” and hā is “your breath or your life force”. It’s about connection. “It’s the recognition that we are all sharing the same breath - the breath of life - and therefore we are all one.” - Island Wisdom by Kainoa Daines & Annie Daly.
So maybe by now we locked you in to wanting to go..even more. But why should you go? Go for the beautiful accommodations, go for the food and adventure, go for the traditions, go for the aloha.