From gatherings of two to 200, The St. Regis Princeville Resort staff has mastered the art of creating extraordinary moments.- By Lynn Theodose
On a day that might seem ordinary, The St. Regis Princeville Resort makes it extraordinary. This was the case with one starry-eyed St. Regis guest, who wanted the cherished moment of asking his girlfriend to marry him to be carried out at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Shantel Thornton, concierge at the resort, helped this special guest make his dream come true.
Months before the couple’s stay last year in September, Thornton emailed back and forth with the guest to create this once-in-a-lifetime moment. Thornton suggested that the guest rent a private sailing canoe, complete with a bottle of Champagne. Her idea was to hold up a sign as the couple sailed past a small cove while the orange-and-pink colors of the sunset sky glowed behind them. Her idea played out perfectly, and as the bride-to-be saw Thornton holding up a sign that read “Will you marry me, Jocelyn?” she wailed in delight.
The captain of the canoe and Thornton, who was on the beach, both snapped photographs, beautifully capturing the moment as the lovers sailed back to shore. This is but one example of the extraordinary, bespoke service that is standard for each guest at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Awe-inspiring natural beauty, uncompromising service and the incomparable “aloha” tradition that distinguishes Hawaii from any other destination define The St. Regis Princeville Resort. The collision of these three elements results in personalized experiences that surpass the imagination.
“We are located in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, close to perfection,” says Stephanie Reid, director of public relations. “Our staff takes personal responsibility to ensure that each guest experience is truly perfect and reflective of our amazing location.”
Love in the Air Kauai’s endless buffet of natural beauty presents an unparalleled setting for romance, making it one of the top wedding destinations in the world. Senses expand when faced with the jaw-dropping beauty of luscious green mountains and the impossibly blue ocean. The St. Regis Princeville Resort is set high on a bluff overlooking the fabled Hanalei Bay, stretching gracefully down to the edge of the sea. This inspired location offers a diverse selection of ceremony sites.
Two become one on an elegant terrace with sweeping ocean vistas, against the distinctive backdrop of kamani trees perched at the water’s edge or tucked away in a private cove on the sun-warmed sand. Just steps away is a collection of venues ranging from the grand Astor Ballroom, which comfortably accommodates hundreds, to more intimate indoor/outdoor locations that seamlessly blend interior elegance with the great outdoors. For a relaxed, tropical-style celebration, Nalu Kai Grill and Bar boasts a tasteful yet casual atmosphere lit by the dramatic flames of tiki torches and a riot of stars.
Signature St. Regis touches create a distinctive wedding celebration that reflect the significance of a couple’s union. Fragrant flower leis and ukulele music woven throughout the ceremony and reception add a Hawaiian touch. Halele’a Spa offers full hair and makeup services; pastry chefs create artful and delicious wedding cakes; and the culinary team designs menus to reflect each guest’s tastes and preferences.
Every detail is lovingly arranged to assure that the long-imagined day becomes a memory to cherish forever. Wendy Fisher, senior sales and special events manager, and her team excels at designing exclusive celebrations that perfectly match each couple’s vision.
“A wedding is a milestone occasion, and we play an important role in surpassing the guest’s expectations,” Fisher says. “We are responsible for ensuring that every detail receives the highest level of care and attention. When the wedding day is effortless for the couple, then we have succeeded.”
Even if the resort’s multitude of venues does not meet a couple’s need, Fisher and her team conduct a tireless search for a wedding site that surpasses expectations. And the resort is happy to do this. Recently, the wedding team constructed the fantasy of a lifetime for a bride who had always dreamed of marrying beneath a waterfall. An island-wide foray led to an enchanted glade deep within the jungle. Within a month of the initial consultation, the St. Regis team transformed the untamed site into a living fairy tale. On her wedding day, the ecstatic bride arrived in a white horse-drawn carriage and glided down a crystal-laden aisle to the base of a Hawaiian waterfall, where she and her groom pledged their love before family and friends. The same level of commitment and ‘aloha’ of the The St. Regis Princeville Resort associates extends to small, intimate celebrations too.
“Recently a couple came to the resort for their anniversary. He had an incurable disease and had recently been confined to a wheelchair. The wife wanted to surprise him with a ceremonial vow renewal and romantic beachside dinner,” says Kristine Ichikawa, a concierge at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. “From there, I organized and planned the renewal with some help from the chef and managers at Nalu Kai restaurant. The day of the ceremony, I arranged the set up of the cabana and had flower leis and rose petals to create a heart in the sand.” Then, Ichikawa stood back and watched a miracle unfold. “He was so surprised—he used all his strength to stand up in the heart with his wife as they read their original vows to each other,” Ichikawa adds.
“The wife’s brother read the poem that was recited at their wedding. It was beautiful, and I was so happy to be a part of it. It took a lot of work but was well worth it.”
The St. Regis Princeville Resort staff also takes great pleasure in hosting anniversaries, proposals, vow renewals and honeymoons. A romantic dinner by the sea is the ultimate setting for an intimate celebration for two. “Romantic dinners are epic,” says server Lyza Sosa. “It’s such a sensual experience, right there on the edge of the ocean: the waves, the perfume of ginger leis, the smell of the sea, torch fire dancing in the breeze, a lover’s sunset giving way to more stars than you can count. Romance really comes alive down there. “Sometimes couples will request an ukulele player, and I love when they get up to dance in the sand. It’s a really special thing,” Sosa adds.
In traditional Hawaiian culture, family is the touchstone of life. The St. Regis Princeville Resort honors that tradition today and is a favorite destination for family reunions, where the simple act of bringing everyone together becomes the vacation of a lifetime. The resort offers select activities to appeal to every member of the family. For family meals, talented culinary wizards create private, gourmet adventures hand-tailored to suit any palate. When the allure of the ocean beckons, a private sailing cruise, complete with an in-depth snorkeling tour led by a marine biologist, segues into a beachside bonfire as the evening unfolds. Any occasion becomes extraordinary when placed in the hands of the experienced St. Regis team.
Birthdays, graduations, promotions, retirements and all of life’s shining highlights become more luminous when set within the breathtaking beauty of Kauai and the uncompromising service and dedication to detail of The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Naturally, with so many celebratory events, celebrations are bound to mix.
“We had a guest come to our resort to plan a family reunion to celebrate his mother’s birthday,” Fisher says. “He was so enchanted by the beauty of this place that he proposed to his girlfriend and decided to hold the wedding here, at The St. Regis Princeville Resort, during the upcoming reunion, when he would have all of his family together. “Several times, guests have come here on vacation, fallen in love with this gorgeous setting and decided to renew their vows in paradise,” she adds.
Legendary Hanalei Bay is home to one of the world’s most magnificent sunsets. Each evening, as the descending sun sprinkles diamonds on the water and shines emerald green upon towering mountains, The St. Regis Princeville Resort hosts its nightly Champagne sabering. The Champagne ritual is a St. Regis tradition observed at every location throughout the world, although on Kauai it takes on an unmistakably Hawaiian flavor. Reverberating out from The St. Regis Bar, the dramatic blowing of the conch shell marks the beginning of the celebration and honors ancient Hawaiian tradition. Once everyone has assembled, the butler team leads the way out onto the lanai, a canopied outdoor patio. The hosts discuss the otherworldly splendor of the resort’s mythic location, saber the Champagne and lead the nightly toast as the spirit of ‘aloha’ intermingles with the crowd.
“I adore the nightly Champagne toast,” says Douglas Kidman, a butler at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. “It’s a wonderful, timeless way to honor the beauty around us and the joy of being together.”
Life is full of remarkable moments, from grand, life-changing events to a subtle warm, tropical evening. At The St. Regis Princeville Resort, the beauty of the island setting, the grace and mystique of the ancient Polynesian culture, and the commitment to exemplary service set the resort apart. “I enjoy helping to create memories that will last a lifetime,” Kidman adds. “My daily interaction with the guests allows me to share this island’s ‘aloha’ spirit, interact with wonderful people from all over the world and create memories that will last a lifetime.” It is that loving spirit and dedication to the art of celebration that helps transform an ordinary commemoration into an unforgettable moment at The St. Regis Princeville Resort.