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The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced several new terms into our collective vocabulary, such as “social distancing” and “quarantine bubble.” And as travelers begin to resume family vacation planning, yet another new term is coming into play: travel pods.
Just as some families created COVID-19-safety bubbles with family members or neighbors at home to minimize contact with others, clients can reduce some travel-related risks by creating travel or vacation pods made up of extended family or friends they trust. This past summer, a survey conducted by Virtuoso reported that 79% of respondents say they would take part in such a pod.
Although Hawaii lifted its quarantine restrictions for trans-Pacific travelers on Oct. 15, keeping safe when visiting the islands is still everyone’s top concern.
“The Hawaiian term malama means ‘to care for,’” said Keith Regan, chief administrative officer of Hawaii Tourism Authority. “So, a ‘malama mindset’ is when visitors are thinking about how they’re going to care for themselves and their family or friends, but also how they’re going to care for the people of this community.”
To help clients maintain that malama mindset, several Maui resorts offer programs and accommodation options that are perfect for clients traveling in pods.
Fairmont Kea Lani ResortFairmont Kea Lani Resort is located on Maui’s Wailea coast, and the fact that the resort’s guestrooms are all suites and villas make it an excellent option for clients traveling in pods.
“Fairmont Kea Lani offers amazing spaces and experiences for guests to unwind, relax and reconnect with loved ones — all while sharing the spirit of aloha,” said Shannah Milstead, director of sales and marketing for the hotel. “A luxurious villa experience blends the amenities and service of a world-class resort with the comforts and conveniences of home.”
The two- and three-bedroom oceanfront residences in Fairmont Kea Lani’s villa collection are perfect for families and friends traveling together, featuring full kitchens and living and dining rooms, as well as a gated courtyard with a private plunge pool and a barbecue.
Socially distant activities are also available, including the resort’s Hawaiian Canoe Experience, which can accommodate four guests at a time (ages 10 and older), and the particularly memorable Mermaid University, where kids ages 5 to 12 years old can learn to swim like a mermaid or a mano (shark).
Four Seasons Resort Maui at WaileaThe open-air beachfront Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea sits on one of the largest golden-sand beaches on Maui and offers clients a distinctive combination of high-end service and family-friendly offerings.
“Now, more than ever, we recognize how important it is to connect with loved ones,” said Marc Bromley, the property’s general manager. “The resort is a perfect fit for families or friends traveling together in pods because we offer flexible suite configurations, all with outdoor living space. Additionally, our team can customize private excursions that allow guests to experience Maui’s unique landscape and culture.”
Among the Hawaiian experiences available to clients at Four Seasons Maui is the resort’s popular outrigger canoe program, which accommodates up to four guests at a time, making it perfect for clients traveling in pods (the minimum age to paddle is 12 years old; children as young as 9 can ride in the canoe).
Additional outdoor activities, such as ocean kayaking, paddleboarding and hiking, keep families socially distant. Pods can participate in private cultural activities such as lei-making, hula dancing and palm frond weaving (for a fee).
The resort’s Oceanfront Prime suites offer one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans, some separated from the rest of the resort with an antechamber for even more privacy. These suites also come with the resort’s most valuable and unexpected amenity: a Guest Experience team that can customize private experiences.
Perhaps the ideal accommodation for pods is the three-bedroom Lokelani Presidential Suite, which features two living spaces and a large private outdoor garden where the team can organize private dinners.
The Ritz-Carlton, KapaluaThe five-star Ritz-Carton, Kapalua in West Maui has the unique honor of maintaining the Honokahua Preservation Site, a recognized wahi pana (sacred site) that serves as a Native Hawaiian gathering place.
For clients visiting the resort in a pod, the hotel is a perfect home away from home with one- or twobedroom residential suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and dining areas. The resort also recently introduced its OOO (Out of Ordinary) package specifically tailored for “quaran-teams” working and studying from these residences.
“The OOO Package offers creative elements for kids, such as ‘B.E.’ (beach education) and Ka Lumi A’o Learning Lab, while adults can utilize a spacious lanai or poolside cabana for emails and virtual meetings,” said Andrew Rogers, the resort’s general manager. “When the pods are done working or learning, the resort offers 22,000 acres of open space for hiking, walking or just enjoying the fresh island air.”
The DetailsFairmont Kea Lani Resortwww.fairmont.com
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Waileawww.fourseasons.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapaluawww.ritzcarlton.com