Ask my wife how many times she has seen me really relax, and she will probably tell you that she's only seen that a handful of time. I am a busy person, and my mind is always racing. Because of that, when I find a way to really "turn off", it's a precious thing. And the truth is, there has only ever been one consistent place where I have been able to find that kind of peace: The Kaua'i Marriott Resort. (lovingly referred to in my family as "The Kauauiott", sister to the "Mauiott").
My First Visit
My parents took a trip to Kaua'i for their anniversary back in 1997, and knew that they wanted to bring us back. My dad worked furiously to build up enough points for a 10-day trip in 1999. I remember when we first arrived being surprised by the long escalator down to the lobby. And then seeing that pool. I knew it was the kind of place I wanted to come back to many times.
I have stayed at the Kauaiott eleven times. I've been with my parents, by myself, and even with my own family. One thing is consistent -- I relax when I'm there.
Over the last eight years, my wife has either been pregnant or we've been raising a new born, so family trips to Hawaii were harder to come by. In 2019, I began focusing on saving up points and miles for a trip to Kauai with my family and my parents in the summer of 2020. You can go ahead and assume that those plans fell apart.
Over the course of the last week, it has become public that the owner of the property is moving away from Marriott to become a part of the Sonesta Hotels family becoming the Royal Sonesta Kaua'i Resort Lihue. When I found out, I was flying from Houston to Chicago, and I felt this sinking feeling that I've never felt before. I almost felt betrayed.
You see, when I first arrived at the Kaua'i Marriott Resort, I knew I had to do whatever it would take to keep coming back. It was while I was at that hotel several years later that I figured out what it would take for me to become Titanium For Live (Platinum for Life back then). And I did just that. I avoid any hotel that's not a Marriott property just so I can keep going back to the one place where I can really unplug -- The Kauaiott.
It's been a few days since I've found out, and I can honestly say that I'm grieving. I know that's a strange thing for a hotel changing the name on the outside, but it was just last week that I talked my wife about planning a trip there this summer. What I would have used miles and points for, now just takes money or starting over with a new hotel chain.
I doubt I'll ever let go of the Kauaiott. And, if I ever go to the Royal Sonesta Kaua'i Resort Lihue, I'm guessing, I'll still refer to it as a Marriott property. I won't lie, I called Anthony Capuano's (new Marriott CEO) office about ten minutes after I landed in Chicago. I talked to his assistant and shared with her my grief. Did it matter? No. Did it make a difference? Not at all. Do I now have a crazy goal of buying that property and turning it back into a Marriott? Of course.
If Sonesta Hotels wants to bring me and my family out to review it as the new property, I would go. But, Lihue, I'm not sure when I'll be back to you, because my heart is truly broken.