“The new luxury customer,” said John Vanderslice, global head of luxury and lifestyle brands including Waldorf for Hilton Worldwide, “wants an up-to-date service experience and authenticity.”
In Hawaii, top pick The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua nurtures island authenticity with environmental summer camps for kids, “walk ’n’ talk” history tours, and outrigger canoeing trips. But the resort also updated amenities to include a new adult pool, “dive-in” outdoor movies, and free dining at two restaurants for kids under the age of 12 with every paying adult.
Down shore, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at wailea checks in stylishly with new pool cabanas designed by Missoni Home and a series of exclusive events including a November golf weekend with Philadelphia Phillies All-Star (and Maui native) Shane Victorino. Its neighbor Grand Wailea opened Amasia from chef Alan Wong in May, and recently began bottling the honey it harvests from hives on the ballroom roof.
Top 5 U.S.Casino Resorts
1. Bellagio, Las Vegas
(888) 987-6667, bellagio.com
2. Wynn Las Vegas
(877) 321-9966, wynnlasvegas.com
3. The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino,Las Vegas
(877) 857-1861, venetian.com
4. Caesars Palace Las Vegas
(800) 223-7277, caesarspalace.com
5. Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
(877) 632-7800, mandalaybay.com
Top 10 Hawaii
1. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui
(800) 241-3333, ritzcarlton.com/kapalua
2. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
(800) 819-5053, fourseasons.com/maui
3. Grand Wailea, Maui
(800) 888-6100, grandwailea.com
4. JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina, Oahu
(800) 626-4446, ihilani.com
5. The St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai
(877) 787-3447, stregisprinceville.com
6. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu
888) 340-5662, fourseasons.com/hualalai
7. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
(800) 554-9288, kauai.hyatt.com
8. Kauai Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach
(800) 220-2925, kauaimarriott.com
9. Halekulani, Oahu
(800) 367-2343, halekulani.com
10. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
(800) 233-1234, maui.hyatt.com
According to Matt Bailey, the resort’s managing director, the resort continually updates the majority of its offerings to generate buzz, whether that’s changing the art gallery windows weekly or using locally sourced salts in the spa baths. “People are looking for a more organic experience,” he said.
On Kauai, they may be looking for George Clooney. The Descendants Oscar nominee stayed throughout the filming at The St. Regis Princeville, which also served as a set for several scenes. The property is even introducing a behind-the-scenes movie experience this summer, highlighting film locations not open to the general public. Also noteworthy is that fashion’s Trina Turk has contributed a colorful cabana stocked with an iPad loaded with the designer’s favorite magazines, books, and games. Nearby, the Grand Hyatt Kauai resort and spa recently finished up a $45 million guest-room renovation featuring headboards carved with native botanical designs, linens inspired by kapa cloth prints, and rain showerheads.
Several Hawaiian hotels spent the year renovating, including the Halekulani, finishing up rooms in June, and the Hyatt Regency Maui REsort & spa, where a new lobby features pod-style areas for more intimate check-in and concierge appointments.
Renewal is the mantra in Las Vegas, where casino favorite Bellagio just unveiled remodeled rooms — all 2,568 of them. Two new bars include the indoor/outdoor Hyde Bellagio with decor by surrealist designer Philippe Starck, and the resort partnered with Cirque du Soleil to introduce Jukari Fit to Flex, a fitness class set to live music.
Across the street, Caesars Palace anted a new 23-story, 668-room tower; a branch of the New York restaurant Old Homestead steak house; and the first 24-hour restaurant on the Strip by a celebrated chef (Central Michel Richard).