Kaua‘i Hotels In Elite Company

General manager Stephanie Iona (far right) and the Waimea Plantation staff. Photos from Mufi Hannemann

Two of Kaua’i’s many fine hotels Waimea Plantation Cottages and Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa have been honored by Fodor’s, the prominent publisher of international travel and tourism information, in the first-ever Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards.

The two Kaua’i hotels were among 100 properties in the entire world to be evaluated and selected by Fodor’s editors and writers. They were the only hotels in the Hawaiian Islands to make the top-100 list.

Waimea Plantation Cottages, headed by general manager Stephanie Iona (husband Charles is security chief, making it a family affair), is one of 13 properties named in the “local flavor” category. Fodor’s stated that properties in this category “specialize in conveying authentic and locally relevant experiences around the globe.

From horse ranches to cave hotels to mountainside chalets, these lodgings may introduce you to a new way of living, but in a manner that will make you feel completely at home, no matter where you are in the world.”

Those unfamiliar with the charming Waimea Plantation Cottages need only picture a time in Hawaii’s recent history, when sugar plantation camps dotted the Islands. At Waimea, on Kaua’i’s West side, guests stay in reconstructed plantation cottages originally built in the 1900s. Coconut trees and an isolated beach enhance the old-time ambience of this destination.

The Waimea Plantation Cottages

The 55 cottages have porches, plantation-era furnishings, modern kitchens and cable TV, while a restaurant, spa, pool, museum, business center and other amenities are on the grounds. Waimea Plantation Cottages are at 9400 Kaumualii Hwy. (waimeaplantation.com).

Grand Hyatt Kaua’i, meanwhile, was one of 16 hotels selected for recognition in the “trusted brand” category. According to Fodor’s, “Some travelers crave the comforts that come from staying at a well-known hotel chain. The experiences are similar, no matter where your journeys take you, which can be a welcome reprieve in a farflung land. But there are standouts even within the familiar brands. With perks like Michelin-starred restaurants, locally inspired spa treatments, and starchitect design, these 16 properties raise the bar on the cookiecutter mold.”

Under the direction of general manager Doug Sears, Grand Hyatt Kaua’i lives up to its name, with spectacular views, lush grounds, golf and tennis, spa, dining, every imaginable water activity, conference facilities and other features expected of a Four-Diamond hotel (grandhyattkauai.com).

Marijean Galiza

Fodor’s recognition of these two Kaua’i hotels is well-deserved, a reflection of innovative management and the professionalism and dedication of a top-notch staff, developed over many years of successful operation. But, in a larger and more significant sense, it demonstrates how skillfully Hawaii’s visitor industry competes against destinations elsewhere in the world.

The 98 other properties on Fodor’s list are in cities and nations all over the globe; the simple fact that two Hawaii properties are among this select group tells us that our visitor industry is not only strong, but smart and sophisticated, and able to compete against the best of the best in the entire world.

Marijean Galiza

Position: Aupaka Attendant
Location: Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club

Based on the compliments of guests alone, Marijean Galiza is an exceptional employee of Kaua’i Marriott Resort.

When a physically challenged guest visited the Aupaka Terrace, where she is an attendant, Marijean not only greeted him but took his order, served his food and helped him to the stairs for the two weeks his family was at the resort. What was remarkable was that the Aupaka is a self-service continental breakfast bar, meaning Marijean went out of her way to help. When another guest, a selfdescribed “grumpy old man,” visited Kaua’i Marriott, he couldn’t find anything good to say about his stay except that a “gal in the breakfast place,” meaning Marijean, won him over by always making him smile each morning. He also said he’d return. Marijean’s station is organized and spotless, while her bright, cheerful demeanor never fails to lift the spirits of guests as reflected in the many positive comments they make about her.

Marijean Galiza is active in her church and with volunteer activities. She participates in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Aloha United Way, Kaua’i Food Bank and the Children’s Miracle Network.