Interview | Four Seasons Hotels in Hawaii

Lenora Yuen, Senior Sales Manager for the Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii (Maui, Hualalai, Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele), and probably my longest time and most favorite travel partner (we go back to Irvine in the 80s), sat down with me when I was in Hawaii a few weeks ago.   I asked her what was new with Four Seasons in Hawaii and about the differences between the resorts and how to choose which one to go to!    This post is part of our series on various Four Seasons hotels and resorts along the West Coast, and now Hawaii.

Josh: Lenora, this is the 3rd time I’ve stayed at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea and I think it’s heaven on Earth.   For my partner and I, it’s the service levels, the location and the contemporary Asian feel.  Why is this place always so popular?

Lenora:   Thanks Josh…that’s really great praise coming from someone like yourself who’s travelled extensively around the world and stayed at many top hotels.  I feel our popularity in Maui can be attributed to our staff and their warm, personal and truly genuine way of taking care of guests.   In Hawaii we say “E Komo Mai”..which means “please come …we invite you into our home”.   We want our guests to relax and feel at home with us and we realize how precious your vacation time is.

Four Seasons Resort Maui has been fortunate to receive many awards and accolades over the years – we are the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star Hotel on Maui and last year  #1 Luxury Resort in the USA on TripAdvisor…all because of direct guest feedback.    So many guests love to post on TripAdvisor or Facebook or tweet before, during and after their stay.   We’re really into social media at our Maui resort and I know of so many guests who have visited as a direct result of wonderful guest comments they’ve read online.

We’ve had some fun recognition lately as well…Maui was named one of the “Coolest Beach Resorts in the World” and Forbes selected our Serenity Pool cabanas as one of the top five in the World!    I’m sure you enjoyed the adults only Serenity Pool with the underwater music, cool bubble loungers,  swim up bar and an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean and West Maui mountains.   Two of our six luxury cabanas are new Missoni design by the acclaimed Italian fashion house.   They include a long list of luxuries such as an espresso machine, 42″ flat screen TV, Pellegrino waters, WI-FI, chilled towels, hourly pool treats and Veuve Clicquot to toast some truly lavish pool time!

Josh:  We’ve also stayed at the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island which is totally different. The rooms there are very Hawaiian and it’s a much quieter, and much more spread out.  Is there one type of traveler who would prefer that over Maui, or Lanai which we haven’t spoken about yet?

Lenora:  Yes… our four resorts in Hawaii are on three Hawaiian islands – not only is each resort different but each island has a unique personality.  One of the advantages Four Seasons offers – you can  select your favorite or combine islands  and have a different experience all in the same vacation.

Maui is probably the most popular island and Four Seasons Maui is often described as “contemporary chic” but our enchanting Hualalai resort on the island of Hawaii is a luxurious sanctuary reminiscent of Hawaii’s Golden Age.

Hualalai was named as  Hawaii’s #1 Resort by Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Magazine and also the #1 Spa in Hawaii.    The accommodations are in one and two story bungalow style buildings…grouped around a pool by the ocean.  Very different design than most hotels in Hawaii and the lower level rooms and suites offer an outdoor garden shower which is very popular especially with honeymooners!

Each grouping of bungalows is around a different pool – there’s Palm Grove -our new tranquility adult pool, Beachtree – an infinity edge pool centrally located, Seashell – more of our family pool and Kings Pond a very unique lava rock pool where guests can snorkel with 3,000 Hawaiian fish and an eagle ray!  We also feature a lap pool at The Sports Club & Spa and of course our biggest pool of all…the “Ocean Pool”…aka  the Pacific Ocean!

Hualalai also came out with a pretty cool new app – Huaka’i which means journey and it’s available as a free download in the ITunes store.

Josh:  I book a lot of honeymoons to the Four Seasons Hawaii. What special services do you offer to newlyweds?

Lenora:   All of our resorts are ideal for honeymooners as well as couples celebrating a special occasion such as an anniversary or birthday.  We recognize these guests with special welcome amenities and also have “romance” amenities that are often sent as a surprise gift by family and friends.  We can also arrange weddings (small and large) and vow renewals as well as private romantic dinners on the beach and couples spa treatments, picnics and many other fun activities.

Josh:  Tell me more about the 2 resorts on Lanai. And what’s the best way to get to Lanai in your opinion?

Lenora:   The island of Lana’i is really Hawaii’s best kept secret!  It’s a privately owned island, with only 3,000 residents and closest to Maui.  To me, the easiest way to get to Lana’i is by ferry from Lahaina, Maui.  It is run by Expeditions Ferry and operates 5 times a day each way – a short 45 minute crossing for $30. per person.  You can fly nonstop from many cities directly into Maui, then arrange a transfer to Lahaina, hop on the ferry and be enjoying a mai tai on the beach in no time!

The other way to get to Lana’i is on Island Air, a commuter airline that operates several flights a day from Honolulu.  It’s a good idea to combine Lana’i with a visit to another island and it makes the most sense to do so with Maui.    When people say “Hawaii has become too commercialized”…my suggestion is to go to Lana’i.   There’s no traffic lights, no commercialism whatsoever…no Starbucks but there’s the Blue Ginger Cafe!

We have two wonderful hotels on the island – Manele Bay which is an ocean paradise that sits above Hulopo’e Bay, a protected marine preserve with superb snorkeling and ocean activities…informal or as we say “barefoot luxury”.   Then a short 20 minutes in the cool central highlands of Lana’i, where the temperature dips 10 degrees we have the enchanting Lodge at Koele.  It’s the most idyllic, tranquil, untouched spot surrounded by wonderful gardens and spectacular scenery.

So you can see how different our 4 resorts are – Maui is contemporary chic, Hualalai is a sophisticated sanctuary, Manele is barefoot luxury and Koele is a relaxing hideaway.

Josh: What type of promotions will we see for 2012? Also, we have a Preferred Partner relationship with Four Seasons. What specific and exclusive benefits does that offer our clients in Hawaii?

Lenora:   Maui and Hualalai are offering a $1000 resort credit for suite bookings this year and Lana’i has a fun golf or 4×4 Adventure package.  I would suggest if anyone interested in staying to confirm their reservation through you as soon as possible for the best rates and availability.    Rates fluctuate so it’s always a good idea to grab the space when you see it before it slips away or the rate goes up as occupancy builds.

Guests who book through you receive exclusive Preferred Partner amenities – reserved for our top producing travel partners.  Your clients will enjoy daily breakfast for two (in the restaurant or room service), an $85. lunch credit and an upgrade to the next category if it’s available on arrival.   It’s a huge advantage that you don’t get by booking  direct or through any other channel!

Josh, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share with everyone all that we have to offer in Hawaii!  Mahalo nui loa!

To contact Lenora  with any questions or comments, please leave a comment by clicking the link above. 

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

 

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

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Interview | the Four Seasons Vancouer (B.C., Canada)

 

I recently caught up with Dan McGillen, Travel Industry Sales Manager for the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) , and one of our closest travel partners, and spoke to him about what’s happening at his happening downtown Vancouver, BC hotel.  This post is part of our series on various Four Seasons hotels and resorts along the West Coast.  

Josh: Dan, tell me what separates the Four Seasons Vancouver from the other top properties in your area. Vancouver is a fairly competitive environment, isn’t it?

Dan: Service – it’s not something that can be reproduced —  being able to anticipate our guests needs is the reason why they are loyal to Four Seasons.  Also with YEW restaurant + bar, you have top dining in the city in what is now being recognized as one of the best dining scenes in North America.

We also are bringing back our “Kids in the City” program, perfect timing as we approach the Summer holidays.

Josh:  When I send guests to Vancouver, it’s usually as a pre-post stay for a cruise or for a wedding (not on a ship). Not sure why that is.  But anyway,  how is your location situated for access to the pier and for general Vancouver area sightseeing?

Dan: Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is truly at the centre of it all. Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, it’s connected at the lobby level to the 140 shops and services of Pacific Centre, and located just minutes from world famous Stanley Park, art galleries, theatres, sport venues and night clubs. West Coast mountains, beaches and golf courses are all nearby. Also for those doing the cruises, we are located three blocks from the ship terminals,  so we offer our guest a more central location so they can explore this beautiful city.

Josh: How’s the dining and shopping in the area?

Dan: YEW restaurant + bar leads Vancouver’s vibrant food scene, with seasonal fresh food, great atmosphere in the bar, 300 wines by the glass, perfect to wind down after a day of exploring or shopping on Robson street . Perched at treetop level in Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, YEW’s chic space, communal table and bar make it the perfect place to bring your social network.  For city dining, what I like is the choice. Visit trendy Yaletown, a walk down to historic Gastown, or enjoy the markets at Granville Island, all just minutes from the hotel.

Josh: What type of promotions will we see for 2011? Also, Four Seasons and Casto Travel have a Preferred Partner relationship. What specific and exclusive benefits does that offer our clients in Santa Barbara?

Dan: We still want to show the value for our guests and have continued with the 4th night free offer, which will give you plenty of time to explore this great ocean side city, with its many unique neighborhoods. As well, those booking through Casto are able to enjoy breakfast for two daily complimentary, upgrades if available and an $85 lunch credit, all which is combinable with the 4th Night Free offer!

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler. Business services include high-touch reservations, exclusive hotel and airline offers.  His relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful business or leisure trip. 

For more information, to learn about our exclusive benefits, and to book, please contact Josh at 415.248.507, 800.553.4777 or by email. Associated with Casto, a member of the prestigious Virtuoso Travel network.  Be a big fish in our small pond.

Interview | with Four Seasons Santa Barbara

Ashleigh Gallego, Travel Industry Sales Manager for the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Santa Barbara, and one of our closest travel partners, was recently in our office and spoke to me about what’s happening at her beautiful Southern California beach resort.  This post is part of our series on various Four Seasons hotels and resorts along the West Coast. 

Josh: Ashleigh, tell me about the history of your iconic resort there on the beach. It’s far from cookie cutter, isn’t it? 

Ashleigh: Yes, far from cookie cutter is right! Before the resort was built in 1927 on Butterfly Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the land was occupied by the estate of a wealthy copper baron. The Bowman Biltmore Corporation acquired the land along with plans for a spectacular hotel drawn by legendary architect Reginald Johnson in 1925 and the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel opened in 1927. The hotel immediately became Santa Barbara’s preeminent luxury hotel and a favorite retreat for movie stars, presidents and royalty. 

In 1935 the Biltmore was purchased by Robert Odell. One of the improvements Odell made included the addition of the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, originally called the “Biltmore Beach Club.” The club features a pool one foot larger than Olympic size; it was said to be California’s largest outdoor pool and was originally built with a 30’ high-dive and sand for decking. What is now the La Pacifica Ballroom originally featured an exhibition kitchen, dancing under the stars and a spectacular observation deck.  In December 2003, the Coral Casino was designated a registered historical landmark.

In 1987, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts took over management of the property. The most recent renovation took place in 2006-2008 and over $305 million was invested by owner Ty Warner. The restoration involved a thorough guestroom enhancement and complete resort restoration focused on bringing together the benefit of contemporary technology with the historical integrity of the property. 

The classic elegance of the Four Seasons Biltmore’s Spanish Colonial architecture is evident throughout the main buildings and garden cottages. With its red roof tiles, ivory adobe and graceful archways, the Resort provides visitors a luxurious and intimate retreat and boasts striking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Lit by romantic gas lamps, brick walkways guide visitors through 20 acres of lush manicured tropical gardens surrounding the property.

Josh: I have a fair number of clients that might want to spend maybe around 3 nights at your resort – as a quick getaway from their homes in the West. What are some of the activities that would keep them busy?

Ashleigh: Nestled in between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is known as “America’s Riviera” and offers a mild Mediterranean climate and over 300 days of sunshine per year. This fact lends to an abundance of activity options year-round. 

At the Resort, guests can enjoy Butterfly Beach at their doorstep, along with two pools, bicycle rentals, croquet court, 9-hole putting green, three lighted tennis courts, two fitness centers, and our complimentary Kids For All Seasons program. The Spa at the resort offers 11 treatment rooms including four deluxe suites with fireplaces and ocean view terraces, and a whole menu of signature rituals and treatments for rejuvenating and beautifying. 

Exploring the wine country is a must.  Santa Barbara County offers more than 100 wineries and vineyards where guests can enjoy tours and tasting. In addition, the city of Santa Barbara offers the “Urban Wine Trail” with 11 quaint tasting rooms located only five minutes from the resort. Guests can rent complimentary bicycles from the Spa at the resort and spend the day biking and tasting! 

The Santa Ynez Mountain range is only a quick 10-minute drive and offers hiking, biking, rock climbing, hang gliding and horseback riding. 

The Pacific Ocean is a virtual playground with opportunities for kayaking, harbor cruises, surfing, kite boarding, deep sea fishing, whale watching, scuba diving and sailing. 

Golf. Montecito Country Club – private club located less than a mile from the resort; Sandpiper Golf Club – seaside course located 15 minutes north. 

Lots of activities for families, including Santa Barbara Zoo, Ty Warner Sea Center and Stearn’s Wharf. 

Josh: How’s the dining and shopping in the area? I can imagine it’s quite a treat also to eat outdoors in the winter! 

Ashleigh: A question close to my own heart! I’ve lived in Santa Barbara now for almost 11 years and dining and shopping are two activities I enjoy almost daily! 

Santa Barbara offers a wide variety of dining and shopping options. Restaurants focus on local ingredients, from fresh seafood to farmer’s market fruits and veggies. Enjoy Italian, French, Greek, Cajun and more; casual to very fine dining. The resort features two main dining options: Tydes, located at Coral Casino, offers a Mediterranean-influenced menu with a focus on fresh seafood from the Channel Islands. Bella Vista Restaurant showcases organic Italian-inspired California coastal cuisine. Both restaurants offer outdoor dining with uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean and sunset and are conveniently located only steps from your guestroom. 

Downtown Santa Barbara offers dozens of name-brand retailers and boutiques on State Street or at Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center. Coast Village Road also offers many charming boutiques and shops and is located within walking distance of the resort. 

Josh: What type of promotions will we see for 2011? Also, Four Seasons and Casto Travel have a Preferred Partner relationship. What specific and exclusive benefits does that offer our clients in Santa Barbara? 

Ashleigh: We are offering our Stay Longer and Experience More promotions throughout the year. The Stay Longer package offers one complimentary night with two paid nights, all year except July and August. The Experience More promotion offers a $100 to $500 nightly resort credit, all year except July and August. 

By booking with Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara through Casto Travel, clients enjoy these Preferred Partner amenities (almost $400 in added value for a three-night stay): 

– Complimentary full breakfast for two daily
– Complimentary lunch for two once during stay (excluding alcohol & gratuity, an $85 value)
– Complimentary upgrade at check-in based on availability
– Complimentary welcome note and amenity in guestroom 

To contact Ashleigh with any questions or comments, please leave a comment by clicking the link above. 

Josh Friedmanis a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler. Business services include high-touch reservations, exclusive hotel and airline offers.  His relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful business or leisure trip. 

For more information, to learn about our exclusive benefits, and to book, please contact Josh at 415.248.507, 800.553.4777 or by email. Associated with Casto, a member of the prestigious Virtuoso Travel network.  Be a big fish in our small pond.

Interview | with Four Seasons Hotels

Victoria Uslaner, Manager, Worldwide Sales for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and one of our closest travel partners, was recently in our office and spoke to me about what’s unique with Four Seasons, and what new properties we should be checking out for our clients.

 

Josh: Vicki, As a seller of luxury travel including many luxury hotel chains, I have to say I’m blown away by the consistent service levels I experience just from my side, working with Four Seasons sales staff. And I know from what my clients say, that the experience at your hotels and resorts is similar.  What is it about the culture at Four Seasons that creates this passion and consistency? I just don’t see it elsewhere.

Vicki: Thank you Josh – let me begin with a thought on Luxury….The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of luxury uses words like extravagance, inessential, and indulgent. We don’t think any of those words describe Four Seasons and what we do for your clients. In fact, a very different word comes to mind: essential.

Isadore Sharp was quoted in his recent book, The story of a Business Philosophy: “My job was getting employees at every level to focus on one priority: pleasing the customer.” It may seem obvious that in the hotel business, service is a primary objective, but it is how that service is delivered that sets Four Seasons apart.

Josh: What are some of your new hotels and resorts that I need to pass the word on about? And what’s the reaction been to your relatively new over the top hotel in Florence? The pictures just can’t do it justice, I’m sure.

Vicki: We have some amazing properties opening ! In fact last week we opened our newest hotel in Denver and it is already getting rave reviews ! Later this year we will open our 3rd ski resort in Vail and the anticipation around that is palpable. There are many exciting hotels in the pipeline for 2011 including Marrakesh, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and the list goes on….

The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is indeed amazing – it is like going back in time and living like an Italian Noble in the Renaissance ! After an almost 10 year restoration – it’s no wonder the hotel is garnering so many awards and accolades – it is truly unique.

Josh: What are a couple of your classic business hotels in world capitals that you think my executive travelers would really enjoy?

Vicki: Well I am definitely partial to Paris – this is the ultimate hotel for Business executives and Leisure travelers alike – One of the things that makes a truly great hotel is a diverse clientele – and this hotel has it all from Royalty to Heads of State to International Business tycoons and celebrities – something for everyone and great people watching too ! Another one to watch out for is the Four Seasons London at Park Lane – opening in early 2011 – this will always be the iconic Four Seasons property in the best location in London !

Josh: What type of promotions will we see for the remainder of 2010 and going into 2011? Also, Four Seasons and our agency have a “Preferred Partner” relationship. How does that add to the value we can offer our clients?

Vicki: Our Preferred Partners represent our very best agency partners and the benefits to your travelers are huge – to sum up the essentials:
Benefits of booking through Josh Friedman Luxury Travel:
* Enhanced guest recognition with welcome from on-property management
* Access to best guest room inventory
* Priority waitlist clearance
* Preferred Partner Amenities

Preferred Partner Standardized Amenity Program
* Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in
* Welcome note at check-in
* Daily full American breakfast for two through In-Room Dining or the hotel restaurant
* Extra value-added amenity, such as: Spa or golf credit of USD100 once during stay; or lunch for two once during stay (up to USD85, excluding gratuity and alcohol)
* Complimentary high-speed Internet access for all suite bookings

 

 

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

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Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

affiliated with travel experts, a virtuoso agency and four seasons preferred partner,
201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco