1 Hotel Hanalei Bay set to open Wednesday

  • Contributed by SH Hotels & Resorts

    1 Hotel Hanalei Bay will begin accepting guests after logistical issues, lawsuits pushed the resort’s opening date to Feb. 15.

PRINCEVILLE — After nearly three years of renovations, the former St. Regis Princeville Resort is reopening under a new luxury hotel brand focused on sustainability and local ties.

Now owned by SH Hotels and Resorts, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay will begin accepting guests on Wednesday after logistical issues and several lawsuits from contractors pushed the resort’s opening date from late 2021 to February 2022, and now to Feb. 15.

Anybody interested in staying at the hotel will have to be willing to shell out — the most expensive rooms can cost nearly $18,000 for one night. And with the least expensive rooms still costing about $1,500 per night, sustainable luxury won’t come cheap.

For those who can withstand the price tag though, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay offers a slew of cuisine options. From social cafes to juice bars to poolside shave ice, the resort has no shortage of food and beverages.

Overlooking Hanalei Bay is Welina Terrace, a heavily Japanese-influenced, family-style restaurant led by chef Misao Masuda, former executive sushi chef at Nobu Lana‘i. With nightly live music and a bar menu of Japanese sakes, whiskies and cocktails, the hotel hopes to provide a little something for everybody.

“Whether you’re sitting in a lounge-style table having drinks and enjoying the live music, or whether you’re sitting at more of a restaurant-style table and want a little bit of a more formal experience, it kind of blends both with — I’m really confident — some of the best Japanese food in all of Hawai‘i, including O‘ahu,” said Dan Mizrahi, director of food and beverage at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.

For breakfast, 1 Kitchen provides a combination of continental breakfast, American-style and Hawaiian specialty dishes. At dinner, the restaurant reopens with hyperlocal, farm-to-table Hawaiian-inspired cuisine prepared by chef Gabriel Martinez.

“It’s not kitschy, you know?” Mizrahi said. “We’re not trying to be Hawaiian with our food — we’re being Hawaiian with our ingredients, and then letting him kind of do what he does best.”

Hawaiian culture doesn’t just inspire 1 Hotel’s cuisine, though. From bowl making to poi pounding to hula, the resort intends to weave traditional Hawai‘i into the visitor experience, with the kaulana mahina (Hawaiian lunar calendar) guiding much of the program’s schedules.

“For 1 Hotels, it’s really important to honor where our hotels are located, and Kaua‘i has so much to offer in terms of stories,” said Jamie Prem, people operations manager at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.

The resort has also made efforts to hire local, working closely with the worker’s union to rehire former employees of the St. Regis, and setting up community events to find new local employees.

Additionally, the hotel has made a concerted effort to find prospective employees who share 1 Hotels’ drive for wellness and sustainability.

“When we talk to people that are interested in joining, we’re already asking them, ‘How do you contribute to the community, and what kind of charity work and community organizations are you affiliated with?’” Prem said. “And those things, to us, are really important. Because if they’re already doing these things, it’s most likely these people are going to be really aligned with us, and really continue to work with us in that cause.”

Employees also have the opportunity to join the company’s Pay It Forward Program, where members are allotted paid time off to volunteer in their communities.

“If an employee comes to us and says, ‘I volunteered at X Y place and I did X Y thing last weekend,’ all they have to do is just complete a form with the information,” Prem said. “And then on the next paycheck, they will receive payment.”

Driving every aspect of the hotel’s operations is its aim to create a sustainable luxury resort.

As a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified operation, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay is set to save roughly 20 percent in annual energy costs.

By reconstructing the building during renovations as opposed to a complete rebuild, the company saved 73.8 tons of emissions from being released.

Nearly every piece of packaging used by the hotel is fiber-based and compostable, with much of the remaining packaging utilizing bioplastics.

While not currently reaching net zero emissions — largely due to utilities — the resort is on track to operate as a carbon neutral business after opening. Additionally, 1 Hotels is looking into alternative energy options, such as solar panels as a means of reaching net zero in the future.

“There are so many opportunities to do things in a better way for the environment,” said Alexis Eaton, director of marketing, public relations and programming at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.

“I’ve had a lot of hotel experience, and a lot of times it takes different levels of regulation coming for people to really be able to push forward on certain topics. Here, it’s built into the foundation of the company. And so, the drive is to lead and charge that and set new standards.”


Jackson Healy, reporter, can be reached at 808-245-0427 or jhealy@thegardenisland.com.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misstated the nightly rate for the least expensive room at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.


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