With America having suffered a pretty harsh winter from coast to coast, would-be wanderers are rejoicing as the weather warms and vacation venues beckon with stellar offerings. In fact, industry growth this travel season is indubitably (and understandably) poised to impress as outlined in the Skift Global Travel Economy Outlook 2019 and numerous other reports. But as the hospitality trade has exponentially upped their game across the board, it’s getting much more difficult to hone in on travel destinations and service purveyors worthy of our hard-earned dollars, and, more importantly, treasured down time. With that in mind, here’s an apt assortment of travel purveyors that’ll pamper you with a purpose.
Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (www.Fairmont.com/KeaLani)
First, we’ll start all the way out in the west most United States—a journey across the Pacific Ocean—to the uber-fabulous Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, Hawai’i’s only all-suite and villa luxury resort. They’re currently offer discerning travelers an expertly curated and indulgent itinerary featuring Maui’s most luxurious experiences through its “Luxe Villa Adventure” package. This elite bundle features a sumptuous stay in the resort’s exclusive collection of residentially appointed two- and three-bedroom private villas boasting 1,800 and 2,200 square feet of living space, each replete with the creature comforts of home. This includes a full gourmet kitchen with appliances and service ware, dining area, outdoor barbecue grill, multiple flat screen TVs, walk in closets, oversized marble bathroom and large soaking tubs. They each also boast a sizeable private, furnished courtyard with plunge pool for a more secluded respite from their numerous large-scale community pools with cabanas (one adult-only).
However, that’s just the beginning of this sumptuous stay. Travelers reveling in the richness of this celebrity designed package will also enjoy a signature in-villa barbeque by a private chef, with options for the desired menu items. For my visit it was surf and turf all the way (Black Angus beef filet with grilled lobster tail), served with a savory tomato shrimp penne dish, wasabi-laced potato salad, grilled island-grown asparagus and wild mushrooms all finished with a delectable crème brûlée. The package also proffers two Willow Stream Spa wellness experiences, plus access to other spa amenities like steam rooms, saunas, various Hawaiian rain experience showers and a heated stone mud bench and foot bed. Rounding out this incredible package is the private yacht charter aboard ‘Satisfaction’—Maui Yacht Charters’ 58-foot power yacht. On my recent excursion on this three-bedroom nautical beauty, I nibbled on cheese and charcuterie as a pod of migrating whales escorted our ship out to sea for a memorable Maui sunset.
Hawaiian Airlines (www.HawaiianAirlines.com)
Speaking of Hawaiian vacations, I do want to make a quick mention about Hawaiian Airlines because they’re really going above and beyond with incredible guest services, making them my favorite way to fly to Hawai’i. Beyond the engaging and warm hospitality they are known for at each touchpoint, once on board a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft, their signature in-flight hospitality engages throughout experience with a friendly celebration of the culture, people and Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands. On a recent flight I was nary in my seat for a few minutes when I was offered a delicious guava mimosa from an extremely affable flight attendant.
In striving for excellence, this airline shares the tastes of Hawai’i as the only domestic carrier to serve complimentary meals to guests in all cabins on transpacific flights that are designed exclusively by Chef Lee Anne Wong. Definitely a unique and tasty benefit there! In the first class cabin, a representative, amply-portioned brunch menu includes the infamous pre-departure signature Mai Tai cocktail; beverage service with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts; a first course of seasonal fresh fruits and warm croissant with butter and jam; a main course of Shiitake mushroom, sundried tomato and cheese quiche; and a dessert course of chocolate hazelnut cheesecake offered with coffee, tea and liqueurs. Speaking or first class, Hawaiian Airlines’ unique “Bid-Up” program allows guests to bid at their discretion for first class upgrades, starting around $245—a bid I successfully “won” at that low starting rate for what was a highly enjoyable voyage.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar San Diego (www.Fairmont.com/San-Diego)
A touch northward in San Diego lies the incomparable Fairmont Grand Del Mar. As one of only 11 properties in the world with a trio of Five-Stars, and named the number one luxury resort in California as voted by TripAdvisor travelers, Fairmont Grand Del Mar captures the elegance and comfort of an old-world Mediterranean estate paired with impeccable service and unrivaled luxury. Magnificently situated on 400 acres in a pristine coastal canyon just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, this architecturally-breathtaking resort features luxurious treatments at its Five-Star spa and exquisite dining at Addison under the direction of celebrated Relais AND Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley. Quite notably, Addison is Southern California’s only Five-Star and Five Diamond restaurant where guests can enjoy elegant fine dining and creative contemporary cuisine.
The lavish, Addison Mizner-inspired resort is well-suited to San Diego’s warm climate and outdoor lifestyle, with an abundance of activities like golf at the city’s only Tom Fazio-designed course, tennis, hiking and four sparkling pools (with one adult-only). After sunset, Club M provides nightlife and entertainment just steps from the resort’s 249 elegantly-appointed guestrooms and suites. Accommodations feature spacious marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, expansive balconies and terraces and spectacular views of the resort gardens, Grand Golf Club or Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Here you can relax, soak or dine in the comfort of your private and tranquil Southern California retreat.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.