If you’re craving a taste of Christmas, complete with giant Christmas trees, colorful decorations, Saint Nick sightings, gingerbread houses and holiday music, it’s time to get the family together and spend an evening at the Fairmont Kea Lani.
I asked Executive Chef Tylun Pang and General Manager Charles Head what makes their holiday spirit shine so bright for those folks who decide to spend their holidays on Maui.
MAUITIME: What is the most exciting aspect of entertaining guests for the holiday?
CHARLES HEAD: At the Fairmont Kea Lani, Festive Season is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time when return guests come together with Maui’s community to celebrate the holidays with special people, events and activities.
MT: I know you anticipate being at full capacity for the holidays. What part of the planet are guests coming here from? Do you see a majority of guests from a particular region?
HEAD: Most of our guests continue to be from the mainland. However, we have seen an increase in guests from Canada.
MT: What is the most important detail for you in the hospitality industry over the holidays?
HEAD: The commitment to offering a wonderful experience full of aloha is especially important over the holiday season. Many of our guests who visit during the holidays have returned to The Fairmont Kea Lani year after year. When they arrive, they come together and re-connect with our hotel team. These relationships have been in place for years and are starting to become multi-generational. It is such a warm and great atmosphere to celebrate the holidays with.
MT: Chef, what holiday dishes are trendy this year?
TYLUNG PANG: We are finding that more visitors are interested in a variation of cuisines. At our signature restaurant Ko, we serve cuisine from the many cultures of Maui and try to do the same thing at special events. For example, on New Year’s Eve, we will be serving Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian selections. Our guests appreciate learning about and trying food that they may have not tasted before.
MT: What dishes are always popular and served year after year?
PANG: Year after year, we continue to serve traditional holiday food combined with fresh island favorites. The herb crusted prime rib and roast turkey carving station is always popular, as well as the mac-nut crusted fresh catch of the day and, of course, the salads and vegetables from Upcountry Kula farms.
MT: What local ingredients will you incorporate into your holiday meal planning?
PANG: Over 90 percent of the produce used at The Fairmont Kea Lani is grown locally on Maui. We also support Maui’s ranchers and fishermen whenever possible. It’s not only the right thing to do to support our Maui community–it tastes better too!
The Fairmont Kea Lani will be hosting the following events:
It’s a Christmas sleigh Hawaiian style. My daughter always asks, as did I when I was kid, How does Santa get in if we don’t have a chimney? My answer is the same as my mom’s: “Through the screen door honey. Don’t worry! He leaves his rubba slippa at the door!” On Saturday, Dec. 24 at noon, see Santa Claus, along with Mrs. Claus and their elves, arrive on Polo Beach via outrigger canoe to spread holiday cheer to South Maui. This free annual event has been a Fairmont Kea Lani tradition for the past decade. Attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras, as Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be available to pose for photos with keiki.
Christmas in Paradise Dinner
On Sunday, Dec. 25 at 5pm, The Fairmont will host a Christmas in Paradise buffet dinner. Located on the Polo Beach Lawn overlooking the Pacific, the buffet will include slow-roasted free-range turkey, seafood and many traditional favorites including holiday desserts. Live entertainment and an open premium bar will ensure a memorable and festive Christmas Day. Seating from 5-7pm. The cost is $90 per person, $30 for children six-12 years and children five years and under are free (must be accompanied by an adult).
New Year’s Eve Gala
On Saturday, Dec. 31 at 6pm, The Fairmont will kick off an evening of island cuisine, entertainment, tropical cocktails and dancing, all leading up to ringing in 2012. The undersea-themed New Year’s Eve Gala will begin with a reception featuring a premium open bar and pupus, followed by a gourmet buffet dinner. The celebration will continue with entertainment and dancing until midnight. Cost is $250 per person, $150 for 16-20 years old, $60 for 6-15 years old and children five and under are free (must be accompanied by an adult).
For more information about The Fairmont Kea Lani’s holiday festivities, visit fairmont.com/kealani, call 808-875-2290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more holiday dining events please visit mauidish.com.
Got a hot food scoop? Contact Jen Russo at 808-280-3286
or fax to 808-244-0446.