All photos were provided by Aqua Hospitality except for the one above and below which I took when I did a quick tour of the hotel recently.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
While PR is my bread and butter job, I also have a couple of blogs (like this one) and am the editor of a Waikiki newsletter that is published 2x per month. As editor, I sometimes receive invitations to media events and recently attended a luncheon hosted by Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
The luncheon / press briefing took on the 30th floor Leahi Club Lounge (formerly Hanohano Room) of the Sheraton Waikiki (Sheraton Waikiki photo). This room has always been a favorite of mine with their glass elevator and killer views of Waikīkī Beach and Diamond Head to the left and Ala Moana and Pearl Harbor to the right. With lots happening this was a time for us to hear updates on what’s new at Starwood’s 11 properties (4 brands: 1 – St. Regis, 1 – The Luxury Collection, 3 – Sheraton and 4 – Westin) on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii, the Big Island.
A few highlights included:
- 50th Anniversary of the Sheraton Maui Hotel (photo from gohawaii.about.com). The Sheraton Maui Hotel, the first
official hotel at Kaanapali Beach Resort, opened its doors in January 1963
with a special introductory rate of $15 per night.
- Starwood’s multi-million-dollar renovations and revitalization plans ranging from redesigned rooms and the debut of new food and beverage establishments to amenity upgrades and more to better serve the growing needs of its guests.
- New guest amenity concept at Sheraton Waikiki. Rather that send friends or clients a fruit basket they can’t possibly finish, you can now choose to send an amenity bag that lets them pick their own goodies and logo items.
- A group of new, returning and experienced chefs are creatively using locally grown produce and the finest seafood and steaks to plan exciting and diverse dining experiences at their respective restaurants.
We had the opportunity to sample items prepared by five of the Starwood Waikiki culinary team:
1st Course – Pass Hor D’ Oevures by Executive Chef Danny Chew of Rumfire
Pickled Onaga with Ginger Lime Marinade Puffed Skin Cilantro Espuma and Onsen Quail Egg Caviar, Truffle Caramelized Onion Jam. (I wasn’t too keen about trying the Quail Egg but it turned out to be quite nice --- no photo here as I was juggling the pupus, my purse and the refreshing lychee drink)
2nd Course – Executive Chef Brett Villarmia of Sheraton Waikiki Banquets
Chilled Lemon Verbena Tomato “BLT” Soup. Braised Bacon Gratin Charred Brussels Sprouts, Compressed Ho Farms Tomatoes. (Creamy and delicious)
3rd Course – Chef de Cuisine Shaymus Alwin of Azure Restaurant
Kona Lobster Tail. Truffle Aioli, Meyer Lemon Preserve, Toasted Brioche, Baby Rocket, Tobiko Butter. (This was so good, I nearly asked for another serving)
4th Course – Executive Chef Darren Demaya of Kai Market: Potato Gaufrette Crusted Sea Bass. Braised Waianae Valley Napa Head Cabbage, Mac Nut Brown Butter. (Excellent presentation and preparation)
5th Course – Chef de Cuisine William Chen of Beachhouse at the Moana: Hawaiian Ranchers New York Strip. Spiced Heirloom Carrot, Big Island Hearts of Palm. (No red meat for me but it was a great looking cut of steak)
The finale was a beautiful dessert buffet (so many choices --- I settled on the Red Velvet Cup Cake --- no photo / no calories)
For more information on Starwood Hotels and Resorts, visit their website at
Posted by Sandi Yara at 5:27 PM
Monday, October 14, 2013
Outrigger Hotels and Resorts is giving away a Fiji Getaway!
As many of you know, Outrigger has expanded beyond Hawaii's shores and currently operates hotels in many Pacific destinations including Fiji --- so the lucky winner of this prize scores a free week in paradise at Outrigger on the Lagoon-Fiji. Here's the lowdown:
Bula! It’s a Fijian greeting for hello, goodbye, welcome, love and life. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji together are saying a hearty “Bula!” by offering a chance to win a seven-night stay at Outrigger on the Lagoon-Fiji, luxurious spa treatments at the resort’s Bebe Spa and roundtrip airfare for two, courtesy of Fiji Airways*. The Fiji Getaway Giveaway kicks off on October 8, 2013, and a winner will be selected on or about October 24, 2013. Entrants are encouraged to share the contest through the social media hashtag #FijiGetaway!
“US residents dreaming of a tropical getaway are invited to enter for a chance to stay at the beautiful Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji and enjoy a carefree vacation on us,” said Bitsy Kelley, vice president of corporate communications, Outrigger Enterprises Group. “With our home base in Hawaii and additional resorts in some of the most desirable tropical destinations throughout Asia, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, it’s safe to say that Outrigger knows a thing or two about paradise We take pride in offering quality accommodations with inimitable island-style hospitality,” Kelley said.
The relaxing Fiji getaway experience will start the minute travelers board their Fiji Airways flight in either Los Angeles or Hawaii. Friendly cabin crew and the elegant, relaxed décor of brand new A330s or refreshed B737 aircraft are designed to allow guests to sit back, relax, and enjoy the hospitality of one of the world’s most welcoming cultures.
“The Fiji Getaway Giveaway is a fun way to commemorate our more than 60 year history of superb service while celebrating Fiji Airways’ exciting future – including our new brand platform and increased flights from Los Angeles to Nadi,” said Stefan Pichler, CEO of Fiji Airways. “Now with six non-stop flights to Fiji from Los Angeles and three flights from Honolulu, it’s even more convenient for vacation seekers from the US to find happiness in Fiji.”
The winner and their lucky travel companion will live in the lap of luxury at Outrigger on the Lagoon-Fiji, one of the most enchanting resorts in the South Pacific. Occupying 40 acres of a calm beachfront on the Coral Coast of Viti Levu island, the resort getaway embraces the design and hospitality of a traditional Fijian village. Modern air-conditioned hotel rooms and bures (bungalows) are furnished with a full complement of guest amenities. The thatched bures feature vaulted ceilings lined with exquisite hand-painted masi bark cloth.
Sophisticated travelers seeking privacy will be pleased with the resort's new Vahavu swimming pools, bistro and banquet pavilion that cater exclusively to adult guests. Additionally, families should look no further for a Fiji resort well suited for family fun, with an impressive tropical swimming pool, activities for kids and teens, the resort’s signature Meimei nanny service, and a kids-eat-free special.
To enter the sweepstakes and for complete contest rules, visit www.outriggerfijisweepstakes.com.
*Roundtrip airfare for two from Fiji Airways applies only to flights from LAX and HNL.
Posted by Sandi Yara at 2:10 PM
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Celebrity chefs concoct Filipino-fusion flavors to honor veteran Hawaii journalist Emme Tomimbang
WHO Five of Hawaii’s celebrity chefs will create a gala dinner menu. The chefs will serve Filipino-inspired creations made especially for Emme and friends.
WHAT “Sharing Memorable Moments with Emme & Friends,” a fundraiser event for the Filipino Community Center (FilCom) in Waipahu.
WHEN Saturday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE Filipino Community Center (FilCom) in Waipahu
Table sponsorship begins at $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000. Individual tickets are $250 each..
Visit filcom.org or contact event coordinator Joanne Corpuz at (808) 680-0451.
Below - chefs preparing dishes for the tasting and several of their creations...
The fundraiser honors veteran Hawaii journalist Emme Tomimbang and benefits the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu.
Posted by Sandi Yara at 3:39 PM
Friday, June 14, 2013
Historic Volcano House, on Hawai‘i Island, officially reopened on June 1, 2013 and welcomed first guests Anette & Joseph Hillring from Tampa, FL.
General Manager Rudy Fao, Anette and Joseph Hillring with Halema‘uma‘u Crater steaming
in the background
According to General Manager Fao, “The Hillring’s celebrated their 30th anniversary with us on June 1. They booked two nights and were also looking forward to hiking in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Volcano House enjoys a unique location on the edge of Halema‘uma‘u Crater within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – designated an International Biosphere Reserve (1980) and UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987). The restored Volcano House offers 33 historic guest rooms, The Rim restaurant, Uncle George’s Lounge and two gift shops. Ten newly refurbished camper cabins in the nearby Nāmakanipaio Campground are also part of the property.
About Volcano House
Historic Volcano House is Hawai‘i’s oldest hotel, welcoming visitors since 1877. The hotel in use today was built in 1941 and expanded in 1961. It enjoys a unique location on the edge of Halema‘uma‘u Crater within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – designated an International Biosphere Reserve (1980) and UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987).
Volcano House is managed by Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC and operates under contract with the National Park Service. Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC is an affiliate of Aqua Hospitality®, a Hawai‘i-based management company founded in 2001 with contemporary properties on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i and Hawai‘i Island. Volcano House is part of Aqua’s MONOGRAM HOTEL COLLECTION℠ – an elite group of stand-alone and independent hotels and resorts providing highly personalized experience.
For more information about Volcano House visit www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com or call
Posted by Sandi Yara at 2:36 PM