Earlier this year I had the chance to visit the Hawaiian Island of Moloka’i, and write about it for Denver Life Magazine. Take a look at what I found on this magical island!
Traditions surround us: brides wearing white for their weddings. Kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Throwing a coin in Rome’s Tivoli Fountain so that you’ll return. It’s fun when hotels develop a tradition of their own, too. Here are a few hotel traditions that you can take part in, from Florida to Hawaii to Guatemala.
The Sunset Bell at Sandpearl Resort
Back when the Clearwater Beach Hotel resided where the Sandpearl Resort (Florida) is now, the ringing of a bell called guests to supper. Every evening at sunset, the ring it made meant different things to different people. To some, it signified the end of a day lounging in the crystal blue water. To others, it signified another delicious meal. Nowadays, a different guest (usually a child) is chosen each evening by the resort’s mascot, “Ridley the Turtle,” to ring the bell. It is done in tribute to the day’s passing and the evening’s future.
Photo courtesy of Sandpearl Resort.
Nightly Sunset Celebration at Marco Island Marriott Brings the Fire
Every night at sunset guests of the Marco Island Marriott (Florida) and patrons of Quinn’s restaurant can enjoy an incredible spectacle on the beach. At the start of sundown one guest is selected from the crowd to bang the gong. The sound of the gong symbolizes the start of the performance: a Polynesian fire dancer honors sunset each night with a traditional blowing of a conch shell while entertaining guests with a 15-minute fire dance on the resort’s private beach.
Photo courtesy of Marco Island Marriott.
Cliff Diving at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
Across the country and the Pacific Ocean, the Sheraton Maui ends each day with a Cliff Dive Ceremony. As the sun begins its slow dive into the ocean, torch lighting signals the nightly ritual of Lele Kawa (cliff diving). Legend tells us the last chief of Maui, Kahekili (Thunderer), proved his spiritual strength by leaping from sacred Pu’u Keka’a to the Pacific. With sunset painting the sky, a young cliff diver honors his heritage each evening by re-tracing footsteps in the sand on Kaanapali Beach. A chant of old Hawai’i begins the progression of our warrior; the echo of the conch shell announces his arrival. He leaves a trail of glowing torches surrounding the lagoon as he makes his way to Black Rock. Upon reaching the summit, he offers his torch to the ocean below, casts his flower lei into the sea, and finally takes the breathtaking dive from Black Rock into the rolling surf below.
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Maui.
Worry Dolls at Casa Palopo, Guatemala
In addition to the traditional chocolate on your pillow, Casa Palopo gives each guest a set of miniature, handmade Worry Dolls. Before going to bed, tell one worry to each of the dolls (they come five to a pouch), then place the dolls under your pillow. According to legend among the Guatemalan highlands, the dolls will take your worries away while you sleep.
Photo courtesy of BuriedMirror.com.
I’m running out to get a worry doll right now…
Have you come across a hotel tradition that you took home with you?
Traveling, I’ve heard people raving of their favorite spots to grab a cup, or watch a roast. Vanessa from TurnipSeed Travel loves the coffee found in Maui, while Pola of Jetting Around sips hers at a favorite shop in Chicago.
Sunday’s National Coffee Day, so I thought I’d share a few different ways to enjoy your next cup of coffee – whether that be a new destination, a new drink, or a new experience all together.
New Orleans’ Windsor Court Hotel’s The Grill Room offers an impressive flaming Café Brulot, a culinary tradition in NOLA. The cocktail is infused with brandy and spices through a siphon that was made popular during the Prohibition. For a regular cup, you’ll also find the “Windsor Court Blend” of coffee created by Orleans Coffee Exchange and available for purchase.
The Grand Wailea jumps in on the coffee action it’s own coconut blend of coffee cultivated at nearby Molokai Island called “Ulu Niu” in collaboration with the resorts Executive Chef Eric Faivre and Coffees of Hawaii.
Italy’s well-known for its coffee, and the Rome Cavalieri has made a name for itself, too. The property is now offering a new selection of cappuccinos, macchiatos and coffees, including a gold cappuccino topped with gold dust for its Golden Anniversary. Coffee with bling!
Coffee in New York State? Sure! The Finger Lakes region serves up Java Gourmet and Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters, fusing coffee and food into an award winning, artisanal, coffee-based specialty food company.
Guests at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan, can indulge in three unique coffee cocktails as they overlook the skyline of the city on the 27th and 28th floors of the hotel’s glass tower atCygnus 27.
OK, let’s talk spa!
At the W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island, the AWAY Spa offers the “Café con Coco Scrub,” a freshly prepared combination of Encantos Puerto Rican coffee grounds, local shredded coconut and kukui coconut oil. Yum!
The Zen Spa at Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino boasts a coffee-infused stress relieving treatment for business travelers called “The Executive Man.” Designed to relieve stress from head to toe, the treatment includes a “Cappuccino Buff” that uses a ground coffee exfoliating scrub for the caffeine-driven traveler.
The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkley, Calif., is offering two coffee-based treatments through December: a Coffee Fruit Anti-Aging Facial that features organic Hawaiian coffee fruit extract; and the Tropical Coffee Fruit Renewal, a full-body treatment that begins with a Hawaiian Coffee Fruit and organic sugar body scrub, followed by a massage.
So, there you go. The next time you need a cup of coffee, consider these different ways to get your caffeine fix!
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When I was in Maui last fall, I set out on a personal mission to find the island’s best Hawaiian shave ice. Hey, someone had to do it!
Many had told me about Ululani’s in Lahaina. “Get it with ice cream on the bottom,” tweets read. And I thought to myself, “Bleah. Ice and ice cream mixed? Nasty!” But when I got to the window and mulled over the flavor options, I saw another order being prepared, with ice cream on the bottom.
OK, I can do this. I ordered a small (you should see the sizes!) passion orange with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom and a sprinkling of li hing mui powder on top.
Oh. My. Goodness. I was in love!
And craved that shave ice every day of my trip. I did return to Ululani’s several times. I’m not ashamed.
However, as part of my mission I had to try others, and I did.
Before taking on the Road to Hana, Lee Abamonte (a fellow travel writer and driver for the day) and I stopped by Tobi’s Shave Ice in Paia before we started out on the winding roads. It was good and tasty and refreshing, but it wasn’t Ululani’s. (Sorry, Tobi!)
Wendy Harvey, who’s local to Maui and knows her shave ice, raved about Local Boys Shave Ice in Kihei. And so I stopped for a bite when exploring the south of the island. I loved the ordering counter and took the cup filled with yumminess to the beach. What a gorgeous setting! The shave ice was good, but…
I made it back to Ululani’s as often possible during my trip, and even bought my husband a t-shirt (he wasn’t with me on the trip) to remind me of the iced goodness.
I long for Ululani’s and talk giddily about it to others who’ve had the pleasure to experience it. Nothing here in Florida comes close to its soft, silky texture.
And then I hear about an ‘adult’ version of Hawaiian shave ice at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. What? Imagine lounging by the pool or on the beach whilst indulging in Rum Rainbow, Spiked Pineapple, or Tropical Cactus. Don’t like those flavors? You can create your own!
As if I needed another reason – when’s the next flight to Maui?
Have you had Hawaiian shave ice? Which is your favorite?