At the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort, General Manager Chris Machorek shares feelings of relief that the county has rejoined the state’s Safe Travels program as of April 5.
“It’s wonderful to have the phones ringing again,” Machorek told TravelPulse, noting that the resort experienced a surge in inquiries almost immediately following the news that Kaua‘i’s more stringent restrictions on travel would be relaxed.
The resort, which recently completed a renovation and rebranding to Sheraton from Marriott’s Courtyard brand, notably never closed during the statewide quarantine requirement through much of 2020, or during Kaua‘i County’s late 2020 opt-out of the state’s Safe Travels program, which required lengthy quarantines even for travelers presenting negative COVID-19 tests.
The resort was fortunate enough to remain open to accommodate the National Guard, which operated a command center from the resort during the early stages of the pandemic, and for the trickle of other essential travelers coming to Kaua‘i.
Now, Machorek says, it’s “all systems go” for guests to return. Amenities that had been put on hold such as the nightly torch lighting ceremony and live entertainment near the resort’s bars, are back, and the resort is ready to safely accommodate tested travelers from both neighbor islands and the Mainland.
Guests booking through channels that provide contact information directly to the hotel will receive communication from resort staff prior to their arrival. This is of particular importance as both Kaua’i and the Sheraton Coconut Beach have a high rate of return travelers—many of whom have been visiting for decades. “We’re turning our focus now to making sure we’re properly educating our Transpacific travelers to make sure they have a clear understanding of what to expect—not only with the Safe Travels program, but also with the modifications we’ve made to our resort experience.”
On the south shore, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i took the opportunity of a temporary closure to step up an overall resort refresh that’s been in progress since 2018. Guest rooms are getting new carpet and new furnishings such as an accent bench at the foot of the bed and ottomans in seating areas, and several suites have been completely renovated, including all new baths.
The resort’s expansive grounds and facilities have also received attention, with new pool decks, revamped landscaping with socially distant lounge furniture and a fresh coat of paint on resort buildings. The resort’s popular water slide has also been completely sanded down, resurfaced and repainted.
“With safety and wellbeing in mind, we are listening to our guests and colleagues and working to implement new experiences while maintaining the Hawaiian classic experience guests love,” said Dan King, General Manager Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i.
Visitors traveling to Kaua‘i as part of the state’s Safe Travels program should also download the AlohaSafe Alert app to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by helping track infections. Visitors who volunteer to take a post-arrival COVID-19 test in addition to their pre-travel test will also receive a card with offers and discounts during their stay.
“Kaua‘i has worked hard to keep the island safe and is now excited to welcome back travelers mindfully with safety and health guidelines in place, including mask mandates, practicing social distancing and limiting group sizes,” said Sue Kanoho, Executive Director of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau.
For more information about the Safe Travels program, visit gohawaii.com.