Just eleven years old, Honolulu-based Aqua Hotels & Resorts is Hawaii’s first boutique hotel chain. Aqua currently has a portfolio of 22 Hawaiian properties that deliver a contemporary and stylish experience without the luxury price tag. Aqua also is the only hotel chain to have properties on all 6 Hawaiian Islands- Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, Molokai and Lanai.
Aqua Hotels has found success in making retro-Waikiki hip again. Under Aqua’s leadership, many of Waikiki’s classic high-rise and motel-like properties have been transformed into chic getaways just steps from the action. “We embrace older hotels with good bones and locations, and develop them into places guests want to stay,” says Ben Rafter, president & CEO of Aqua.
Aqua excels at delivering an exciting Hawaii vacation, while also allowing visitors to stay within a budget. From contemporary “city” hotels in the heart of Waikiki, to spectacular neighbor island resorts Aqua’s range of properties provide the ultimate in value, while appealing to wide selection of today’s savvy travelers.
Aqua properties are known for personal service and comfortable amenities. Many properties offer a weekly General Manager’s reception where staff (often the GM!) mix up signature cocktails such as the Sway at Aqua Palms and the Wipeout at the Aqua Aloha Surf. At the White Sands Hotel, guests learn a Hawaiian word each day, while the Aqua Bamboo keeps guests relaxed with scented infused oils. Beach amenities also are provided at many properties through Aqua’s “Beach Boutique” program.
Within the Aqua collection are several unique properties that cater to a discriminating traveler in search of stylish accommodations and a more exclusive experience. The newly re-styled Lotus Honolulu takes zen to new heights with fashionable new guest rooms and spectacular views of Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean. On the neighbor islands, properties like the Hotel Wailea and Kauai Beach Resort offer the relaxed elegance and amenities of a true resort hideaway.
Aqua’s properties boast some of the finest locations in the islands. Park Shore Waikiki and Aqua Queen Kapiolani both occupy the south end of Waikiki with unobstructed views of Diamond Head, and just steps from the famed Waikiki beach, Kapiolani Park the Honolulu Zoo. Lotus Honolulu is one of a very few exclusive properties to grace Oahu’s gold coast at the base of Diamond Head. At the north end of Waikiki, the Aqua Ilikai Hotel & Suites offers ideal access to the marina, Ala Moana Park and provides spectacular views of Waikiki fireworks.
As Aqua redesigns many of its hotels, new eco-friendly and green practices are being implemented to help minimize the impact on the environment. Practices include the installation of green key switches to monitor lighting and thermostat usage when guests aren’t in the room, recycling programs, use of solar energy and water savings programs. Aqua is a member of Hawaii’s Green Hotels Association and the Hawaii Ecotourism Association.
Aqua embraces diversity and is a proud member of International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. All hotels are approved by the Travel Alternative Group (TAG), which recognizes hotels with gay-friendly policies and services. The company is a regular sponsor and/or contributor to local community events including the Honolulu Gay Pride Festival and the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival by hosting celebrities such as Mindy Cohn, Bruce Villanch, Wilson Cruz and other actors, actresses and film makers during this event.
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