Love is in the air — retailers bank on it

LIHU‘E — Valentine’s Day is a time when people show their appreciation to their friends or loved ones. It is also a time when restaurants and flower businesses bloom.

“We definitely anticipate being very busy,” said Jonica Reid, manager of The Beach House restaurant in Po‘ipu, chosen by The Garden Island readers in The Best of Kaua‘i 2011 guide as the best romantic restaurant on the island.

Reid said The Beach House is opening an hour earlier today, but on Monday the restaurant was already booked until 9:30 p.m.

Kapa‘a’s The Bull Shed restaurant and Tidepools restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa in Koloa tied at second place for best romantic restaurant in The Best of Kaua‘i 2011.

The concierge at the Hyatt said Tidepools has been almost completely booked for the past two weeks. On Monday they were still taking reservations for Valentine’s Day, but only for after 9:45 p.m.

The Bull Shed, a local favorite for many decades, on Monday still had reservations open for Valentine’s Day.

The Garden Island readers last year picked the buffet and the Sunday brunch at Kukui’s Restaurant at The Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club in Kalapaki as the best of Kaua‘i.

“It’s pretty busy,” the Marriott’s Hannah Taito said, adding that Kukui’s added more seats after being completely booked. The restaurant will offer a special buffet for those who decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day there.

A fairly new hotel on the South Shore, Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, won TripAdvisor’s top honors this year as best hotel for romance in the United States.

Whitney Yadao, a guest services agent at Koa Kea, said the hotel’s restaurant, Red Salt, is booked until 9:30 p.m. today, but on Monday reservations were still being taken for after that time.

Stephanie Reid, public relations director at St. Regis Princeville on the North Shore, said two of the resort’s restaurants are putting together a “really nice” dinner for the occasion.

“We are actually doing a special dinner at The Kaua‘i Grill and at the Makana Terrace,” she said.

St. Regis was recently chosen by TripAdvisor as the fifth best hotel for romance in the United States.

Got flowers?

If by now you haven’t got flowers for your loved one, hurry.

The Garden Island readers chose Flowers Forever in Lihu‘e as the best flower shop on the island in 2011, an award the traditional flower retailer has won year after year. The store has been in business for more than 30 years, according to owner Alan Tada.

On Monday, Tada said the store was very busy, but there were still flowers left. Flowers Forever prepared many specials for its customers. Besides “roses, roses and roses,” Tada said the store had chocolate boxes, stuffed animals, balloons and even wine and champagne.

The Garden Island readers’ second choice for best flower shop in 2011, Kalaheo Flowers & Gardens, was low on supplies Monday.

“We are getting pretty close to being sold out at this point,” owner Carol Kimura said, adding that there were still some roses left and other Valentine’s Day flower arrangements, including Forever Yours, Tender Tulips, and Hugs and Kisses.

What recession?

Jonica Reid said The Beach House has not been feeling the effects of the economic recession.

“We pretty much hit record sales every holiday this past year,” she said.

Taito said the Marriott has been fortunate, staying “pretty busy” even between holidays.

Stephanie Reid said St. Regis has also been busy despite the recession.

Koa Kea opened in 2009, in the midst of the recession, and has been busy ever since, according to Yadao.

Tada said Flowers Forever has been busy all year long.

Kimura of Kalaheo Flowers & Gardens said the store has felt the recession, but not on holidays.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.

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