My family often refers to this property as "home." And, last weekend I had the chance to go visit my second home. It's still a little strange to not just refer to it as the Kauaiott, so I'm going to do my best to call it the Royal Sonesta Kaua'i in this post. When I arrived I was surprised to still see the Marriott logo. I knew that the Marriott Vacation Club's Kaua'i Beach Club still existed on the property, I just wasn't expecting the logo. The tower you can see in the image above is home to the Kaua'i Beach Club. Its rooms are still in the same decor as when I first started coming to the Kauaiott back in the 90s.
The main lobby is down a set of escalators and across the hall from the Koi pond. Just before entering the lobby there are signs directing you to the Royal Sonesta and the Kaua'i Beach Club. The lobby, as it always has, holds a massive canoe. As I checked it, it was great to see familiar faces and talk about people who still work at the Royal Sonesta that were previously employed by Marriott. I think the person that stands out as someone who I will also connect with this property is Tonya. She has checked me during a few of my previous visits. It was wonderful to visit with members of the Royal Sonesta team about how great the transition has been for them.
Ola I Ka Wai A Ka 'Õpua.
During my early trips to the Kauaiott, they would leave cards on the beds with various Hawaiian phrases. This is one of them: I bring it up, because this change from the Kauaiott to the Royal Sonesta felt like a dark, rainy period in my life, but out of it there is new life. To make the metaphor a little more real, I received an email about a week prior to my trip letting me know that they were remodeling the rooms, which also kind of broke my heart. I loved the rooms. In fact, here's what they looked like prior to the remodel: And I loved the look and feel of the rooms, but here's what they look like after the remodel: The floors have been refreshed with wood. The walls have a better splash of color, and more unique designs. Personally, I believe the room felt larger than it used to. The room has less space for work than it used to, which is probably good for someone like me. It has a better designed entertainment and storage area. And, in a massive upgrade, each room has a refrigerator.
My only real complaint about the room has to do with the door to the bathroom: The bathroom door is a barn-door that has three opaque windows. My door was very hard to open and shut. But when I travel with my wife, I often get up early and go explore in the mornings before sunrise. With this door, there is no way to keep the light out of the bedroom. This seems to be a more and more popular design (I complain about this at the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America every time I stay there as well -- and that stands a chance of being my third-favorite hotel in the world). I think this is done for aesthetics, but leaves a lot of room for practicality.
The hallways have also been redone and I like them. Keep in my the old room signs are actually my favorite room signs I have ever seen. They used to look like this: The room entrances now look like this: The elevator lobbies (another former favorite of mine) used to look like this: I loved that carpet. In fact, during my first-born's first trip to Hawaii, I took pictures of them in the elevator lobby because I loved the look and feel so much. They're refreshed these areas with the same color palette as the rooms:
One of my Favorite Things
One thing I was surprised about was the new style of room key. This new room key is pretty cool because it's wearable, and makes trips to the pool super simple. I love the color and the vibe it gives off.
There's a thought process in this world that some people change and others can't let go of who they were and so people drift apart. It would be very easy for me to never let go of the Kauaiott, but I doubt that will be the case. I'm excited to embrace the entire Sonesta family of brands, and continue to grow and change with the Royal Sonesta Kaua'i Resort. I will be back to the Royal Sonesta Kaua'i Resort, and I'll spend a lot more than just one night there next time.
It will also be strange that a hotel changing its name has rocked me to the core, but it has. It has changed my entire world view. And I'm excited to say that I will return again to the Lihue and this marvelous property. Remember, wherever life takes you, Love The Journey.