Categorized | Business

Sheraton takes hospitality to new level


“Hookipa” is the Hawaiian word for hospitality. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay has begun a welcoming Hookipa Service to help guests realize the most from their Hawaii Island vacations.

As part of the new guest assistance program visitors are greeted after check-in by a Hookipa Ambassador. They are offered an oshibori (cold towel) and a welcome drink to begin winding down, Hawaiian-style.

Vacation Services Coordinators in The Flying Fish activity center then help reconfirm activity or event reservations that guests may have already made and they introduce them to Rays on the Bay and Sheraton Kona’s many cultural activities.

To further the personal connection, Vacation Services Coordinators make personalized recommendations after learning what the arriving guests are hoping to see or do during their vacations.

Once details and dates are verified, any necessary reservations are made on the spot. Guests are then presented with a customized island vacation itinerary, which always includes time for relaxation and fun in the sun.

If guests opt to forego the services, they are personally escorted to the appropriate elevator nearest their room and invited to return to The Flying Fish at any time during their stay to learn more.

Whether guests are assisted by Sheraton Kona’s Vacation Services Coordinators or not, each is presented with a special makana, a gift, of paakai (sea salt) with alae. Alae is red clay and it can be found at Keauhou. Alae was once used as a medicine, a fabric dye and even a spice. The story of paakai and alae and their meaning in the Hawaiian culture is shared as the gift is presented.

“We want our guests to feel an immediate connection and sense our Aloha from the moment they arrive,” general manager Matthew Grauso said. “Our Hookipa Service and Vacation Services Ambassadors add a welcoming touch that is appreciated by weary travelers.”

Grauso added that by greeting guests as though they’re entering a home and by personalizing vacation itineraries, the resort is providing opportunity for dialog so that every guest achieves the most from their visit and from their vacation dollars.

The Flying Fish, Sheraton Kona’s gateway to Keauhou Bay, is the epicenter of the resort. Its location adjacent to the front desk makes it ideal for the Vacation Ambassadors Service.

In The Flying Fish not only are guests introduced to off-property tours and activities such as snorkel cruises, Hawaii Volcano National Park Tours, or rainforest and waterfall hikes, they also learn more about complimentary on-property historical tours, daily cultural activities, the Kini Kini Hawaiian Sailing Canoe, Haleo luau dinner and show, dining and entertainment at Rays on the Bay and more.

“This new service is another makana, gift, from Sheraton Kona to our guests to help enrich their overall experience and enhance their sense of place here at Keauhou Bay,” Grauso said.

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