by admin | November 7, 2013

When throwing an event, how can you compete with a backdrop of green-topped volcanic mountains, spectacular rocky cliffs, and a majestically blue Pacific Ocean? Well, the best planners don’t — they let the scenery do the talking, and accentuate and build off of the natural beauty of their space to create truly magical experience for attendees.

And that’s exactly what the hotels participating in September’s Destination Hawaii did. They really set a new bar for creative thinking as they highlighted the stunning landscape and rich food and beverage offerings that Maui has to offer. The event, which was hosted by Maui’s Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa from Sep. 17-20, kicked off with a site tour (before which planners were invited to try on and claim their own pair of Maui Jims — a necessity in the sunny clime!), followed by a welcome reception on the rooftop of the ballroom at the Wailea Beach Marriott. The reception was perfectly timed to capture the exquisite Hawaiian sunset, dazzling attendees almost as much as the unique culinary offerings, which included the infamous “Caesar salad on a stick.”

The creativity kept flowing the next day; one example is when attendees were treated to a spectacular salad bar during dinner at the Grand Hyatt Maui. The “horizontal” salad bar featured a long table heaping with different ingredients — including various vegetables, cheeses, and croutons — which were not hemmed in by bowls or platters, but merely organized into colorful piles. Attendees were charmed by the live penguins who reside outdoors, in the middle of the resort, and were again reminded of the spectacular flora and fauna of the Hawaiian landscape.

The next day, the Grand Wailea Resort, adjacent to the Wailea Beach Marriott, hosted a lunch featuring a salad bar with a live “chopper” who would cut the lettuce from the stalk right in front of you. And the final dinner and reception at the Fairmont Kea Lani impressed with a sunset performance of traditional drumming on a lawn overlooking the glittering Pacific, with attendees being encouraged to kick off their shoes and enjoy the feel of grass beneath their feet. During dinner, at their leisure, attendees were also treated to 10-minute, ahhhhh-worthy massages by trained therapists out on the lawn.

All in all, Destination Hawaii 2013 was a magical experience, engaging all the senses and highlighting both the natural beauty of Hawaii and its endless array of fabulous event offerings.

— Agatha Gilmore