Posted by: marksimon | December 15, 2008

Airfare to Hawaii Continues to Fall

This today from Travelzoo, which confirms what our guests are telling us.  Despite the tough times, everybody needs a break and this helps!

Major Airlines quietly cut winter fares to Honolulu from Los Angeles. Fly nonstop for just $244 roundtrip — including taxes! This price is good for travel Jan. 17 – March 13 when fares are rarely reduced.When test-booking this deal, we found that fares over the following dates are more expensive: Feb. 1, 5-6, 13-17,21-22, 28; March 1-4Fares from Los Angeles to Maui have also been reduced.

 

Posted by: marksimon | December 15, 2008

Travel Channel shoot at Four Seasons Maui

We had a long weekend shooting a Travel Channel segment which will air in January.  The segment was filmed and will be produced by a young company who has an agreement with Travel Channel for five pilot episodes called “Rock around the World”.  The theme of the series focusses on luxury travel and HOT nightlife and music.  After reviewing all island hotels, our resort was chosen for the hotel portion and my favorite Irish pub, Mulligans, was chosen for the music.

Mulligans is about five minutes from the resort and is the watering hole attached to the clubhouse on the Wailea “Old Blue” golf course.  Because it’s location has no residences in the immediate area, they can have lively music sessions with no noise restrictions.  The pub is run by some fun-loving Irishmen and some of them are former Four Seasons guys who know the service culture well.  It’s a fun, bawdy place that attracts an eclectic crowd. 

The show will air sometime in January apparently, so stay tuned to travelchannel.com for the dates.

Posted by: marksimon | December 11, 2008

Humpback Whales Back in Full Force in Maui

This morning I walked down to the pool deck for my morning cup of coffee (hint: on the beachwalk in front of Four Seasons Maui is Snorkels, a coffee shop that has the best cup in town)) and saw two whales playing about a hundred yeards offshore.  It was 71 degress at that hour, a cool clear morning and that plus the whales became another “I am so lucky to live in Maui” moment.

Later, I saw the captain of our canoe team, which takes guests out on the water in outrigger canoes for a full cultural experience, and he was excitedly talking how two different whales popped up to have a look at them.  The experience reminded him of an encounter last eyar, in which one of our guests captured this awesome video.

Posted by: marksimon | December 8, 2008

Survey: extra charges at Maui resorts

A common strategy among some Maui Resorts in these economic times is to lower room rates but then hit guests for extra charges as they arrive.  We recently did a call-around survey to select Maui Resorts and found out the following information:

Two out of four resorts charge a resort fee ranging from $20 – $25 per day.

Four out of four charge for their children’s program, with fees ranging from $65 per child per day to $125 per child per day.

Four out of four resorts charge to rent a cabana at their pool (ie: charging for shade).  Fees range from $50 per day to $250 per day.

We conducted this survey to highlight that our resort,Four Seasons Resort Maui

has never charged for resort fees, children’s programs or cabanas.  The philosophy of no “nickel and diming” resonates in these difficult times as customers need to watch their dollars more carefully – with no hidden surprises that can put a damper on a much-needed vacation.

Posted by: marksimon | December 4, 2008

The Top Resort in the USA, for the second year in a row

Conde Nast came out with their annual readers poll not long ago, and for the second year in a row, Four Seasons Maui was the top resort or hotel in the United States.  It is an incredible honor for our employees because in the end, no matter how fancy the hotel is, you have to deliver on service.  We are going to thank our employees with a special “Mahalo” day in the employee cafeteria, among other things.  With the economy affecting tourism to the islands, it was a great pick-me-up for our managers and staff!

What goes on behind the scenes to get employees pumped up to that performance level is training, and plenty of it.  All in all, we had in excess of 17,000 training hours so far this year, with still more to come.  Add this to the fact that we have over 100 employees who are still with us from opening day 19 years ago and that establishes the base for consistency and depth that every service organization needs to win.

Posted by: marksimon | October 13, 2008

First Humpback Whale Sighting of the Season

With all the gloom in the markets we feel very fortunate to live in beautiful Maui, where the sun is shining and our resort is still bustling!  We are going to take the first sighting of a Humpback Whale  this season as a sign that everything is going to be okay!  More whales will arrive in the next few weeks and the experts are predicting this to be another record year.

Ever since Humpback Whales were added to the list of endangered species, their population has progressively grown each year.  Last year you could count on seeing them practically every time you looked up.

No matter the situation, everybody still needs a break and this is a terrific time of year to break away and come to Maui to see these magnificent creatures!

Posted by: marksimon | August 13, 2008

Hawaii celebrates lower airfares this fall

An article in the New York Times entitled Ahead: Fewer Flights, Fewer Bargains talks about how flights are rising to resort destinations all around the world and they named Hawaii specifically.  We have seen quite the opposite for the fall – rates are plummeting nearly to levels of last fall.  Rates are in the range of $480 – $700 but you have to be smart about it.  We use weekday to weekday fare watches and that brings the price down apparently.

We put out a press release last week about this topic and it was widely picked up around the US and Canada.  Here is the press release as carried on forbes.com .  Reservations activity has increased.  We think it’s the best kept secret for the fall traveler!

Posted by: marksimon | August 1, 2008

Airfares to Hawaii are falling

Good news for the fall: airfares to Maui are falling to levels of one year ago.  Just yesterday we did a search on our favorite websites and found airfares to Maui in the $5-600 range (using LAX and SFO as the departure cities).  This is welcome news for both travellers and our resort —  When you add in the Fifth Night Free value promotion that Four Seasons Maui is offering for the fall, guests who need to get away can now do so without breaking the bank.

 

Here is a short list of the websites we visited to find these great airfares

United Airlines

Priceline

US Airways

Orbitz

Kayak

Hawaiian Airlines

American Airlines

Posted by: marksimon | May 19, 2008

Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Most locals agree that this past whale season was among the best in memory. “Whale Soup” is how we describe it when every time you look up at the ocean you see a whale or a bunch of whales! One of the reasons for the increase in numbers is that the humpback whale is on the endangered species list, so the efforts to protect them has apparently increased the overall population.
Whale Season is generally November through May, and while you can watch whales from every island, the calm channels between Maui – Molokai – Lanai are reputed to be the best spots to see Hawaii’s humpback whales. There are many ways for guests to see whales while they are here. There are terrific organized whale-watching tours with companies such as Pacific Whale Foundation, or you can frequently see them just hanging out on the beach or from our resort’s pool deck of Ferraro’s restaurant. Another of our guests recently was participating in our Outrigger Canoe paddling program and shot some wonderful video.
Humpback whales actually migrate from Alaskan waters where they have gorged themselves for the past six months. The journey from Alaska to Hawaii is about 2,800 miles and takes about six or seven weeks in all. The whales come to Hawaii to find a mate, breed and give birth. They frequently can be seen “breaching”, in which the 45 ton mammals magnificently jettison themselves out of the water in a graceful ballet.
The Hawaii Vistors Bureau has produced a fantastic short video on the humpback whales in Hawaii, one of the best I have seen! Here is the link . . .

Posted by: marksimon | May 15, 2008

Art and Soul

The resort recently installed an incredible art collection, curated by former Oahu resident Julie Cline, that seems to have struck a chord with guests and locals alike.  From paintings and sculpture, to photography, textiles and feather lei, the exhaustive collection tells the story of Hawaii from statehood in 1959 to present.  The collection is a companion to the art collection at our sister resort on the Big Island, Four Seasons Hualalai, who art covers the period of when westerners first made contact with native Hawaiians to 1959.Art lovers can explore the Resort’s public spaces to catch a glimpse of Jun Kaneko’s world-renowned sculptural heads, Michael Harada’s unfinished kubuki masks, or Toshiko Takeazu’s ceramics.  All of the pieces form a cohesive whole to reflect the textures and colors of the island – water-toned blues, rain-forest greens and golden sunset hues.

Since Maui does not have an art museum per se, we decided that the collection should be open to the local community as well as visitors all over the islands – not just guests of our resort.  To personalize the experience, you can sign up for a docent-led tour or take a self-guided journey with complimentary use of an iPod, featuring artist interviews and music by Grammy-nominated Hawaiian recording artist (and friend of the resort)  

Keali’i Reichel.We had a lot of fun putting this together because we were making it all up as we went along!  We didn’t know of another hotel that had self-guided maps of their art collections for example, so we employed a talented local designer who specializes in 3D maps for shopping malls and had him put together a walking map complete with pictures of each piece on the tour.  We then married an audio tour of the collection to coincide with the map sequence, using another vendor.  It was quite a challenge to pull it all together.  And it turns out that our local designer won an award for the design of the brochure!

 
 
 
 

 

Next time on the island, stop in and check it out! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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