Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently hosted a media luncheon on the 30th floor Leahi Club Lounge (formerly Hanohano Room) of the Sheraton Waikiki. This room has always been a favorite of mine with its 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 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. 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. The hotel’s award-winning architectural design is enacted on the resort’s prime hotel site – a promontory called “Black Rock” used as a whale lookout in the 1800s. The Sheraton Maui Hotel occupies the longest, broadest expanse of Kaanapali Beach.
- 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. Select a small, medium or large amenity bag and your friends take their bag to the gift store and fill it up with whatever they want. Selections range from Hawaiian style snacks, Sheraton Waikiki logo items and more.
- 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:
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 tryng the Quail Egg but it turned out to be quite nice)
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)
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)
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)
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)
For more information on Starwood Hotels and Resorts, visit their website athttp://www.starwoodhotelshawaii.com/