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Our Experience at the Environmentally-Conscious 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

One of the amazing aspects of my job is that sometimes I get to try and test products, clothing and experiences to report back to my community what is absolutely worth getting and what is not… a HUGE perk to this is the opportunity to travel and experience spectacular hotels in beautiful parts of the world. When a friend of mine in the luxury hotel industry who now works at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay heard that my family and I were planning a trip to Hawaii, she reached out to me about staying at this new environmentally conscious hotel. So… we made it happen! And, wow, was it ever neat!!

Please note: this is a sponsored post. Thank you to 1 Hotel for hosting my family and I!

Jillian Harris and her family at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay
Leo and Annie Pasutto at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

Located on the north shore of Kau’ai, the hotel has breathtaking panoramic views of Hanalei Bay. From our hotel room, we overlooked tropical rainforests, rivers that snaked down the mountains, and, of course, the beautiful aqua-coloured water! The hotel itself gives off Tulum vibes; it’s very boho chic, and the interior design has this dark and moody style. 

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay view from Jillian Harris's hotel room

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty, let me just preface this by saying… this is luxury. I try to review products and experiences at a range of prices, and this one is definitely at the high end… But, for those of you in this community who I know are SUPER interested in learning more about environmentally-conscious travel, this blog is for you!

‘Buy the Change’

I’ve heard this phrase thrown around lately: “Buy the change.” Where we spend our money has an impact. That being said, I think it’s important to acknowledge that often these hotels or companies that take extra lengths to be mindful of the environment have higher operational costs. So, part of the expense of 1 Hotel is the lengths they go to make the hotel what it is. But let’s get into my review!

The environment is at the Heart  

The biggest reason why I wanted to stay at this hotel is that 1 Hotel has made such big sustainability efforts in the reconstruction of the space. In 2018, the property was acquired by Starwood Capital Group, and they knew a major renovation was needed. But, keeping in mind their sustainability efforts, 1 Hotels decided to approach NICOLEHOLLIS to thoughtfully renovate the space instead of doing a big tear-down and rebuild so that as much material and furniture as possible could be incorporated into the updated hotel.

The hotel calculated and approximated that 144.6 tons of materials were saved from entering landfills and 73.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere by intentionally choosing a renovation rather than a demolition and rebuild. It was really fascinating to hear about the history of the construction and how that informed all of the environmentally-mindful choices thereafter.

Beyond the rebuild, the hotel continues to foster environmental endeavours. Here’s a brief list of some things on their resume:

  • They are on track to become LEED certified; meaning the hotel will be optimized for energy efficiency
  • They are on track to be 100% carbon neutral 
  • They have implemented CO2 offsets – like the use of their green roofs!
  • They are very involved in philanthropic work related to environmentalism

Diversity & Inclusion

I also really appreciate that diversity and inclusivity are a priority for 1 Hotel. They are committed to the path of reaching 15% BIPOC representation and 50% female representation in leadership at SH Hotels & Resorts by 2024 (their parent company). They are also committed to the Fifteen Percent Pledge, which I was really happy to see. If this is your first time hearing of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, it’s a great initiative that challenges businesses to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses to reflect the statistic that 15% of the US population is Black.

There are so many people-centred initiatives that 1 Hotel has taken on. I highly encourage everyone reading to take a look through their Impact page to learn more.

The Food

It goes without saying that I am a foodie. And while I may be committed to my wellness journey (you can read all about my detox here and my experience at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Wellness Weekend here), that doesn’t mean that healthy, nutritious food can’t be spectacular!! If you’re not convinced, allow me to present you with a mouth-watering photo of our unreal breakfast as evidence…

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay breakfast buffet photographed by Jillian Harris

So, yes, the food was delicious. Some food highlights for me were the buffet that featured so much local and fresh food. At the breakfast buffet, I also had one of the best omelettes of my life! While enjoying our meals, we also got to look out over the bay, which was a spectacular view! Then for dinner, we had the most phenomenal sushi at Welina Terrace. It’s a must-try if you visit!

Annie Pasutto at the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay pool

And the drinks—of course!—were outstandingly good. Justin and I were especially excited about the green juice they offered at The Juice Bar. (Yes, they have a juice bar! And it was SO delicious!) We also loved the cucumber water with rum! It was the perfect poolside drink!

Jillian Harris enjoying cocktails at the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay
Jillian Harris enjoying a Pina colada at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

The Design

Let’s talk about the incredible rooms, shall we? They were designed like I’d never seen before. Everything was built from natural materials—even the kitchen glasses were made from recycled wine bottles! In keeping with that theme, there was no paper or plastic in sight! It really makes you realize just how much paper and plastic we are normally surrounded with.

They also encourage you to leave items behind in the hotel to donate to the local communities, which I thought was a really nice practice.

Now… the BEDS!! We HAVE to talk about the beds because the mattress was UNBELIEVABLE! It was so plush and luxurious. I had the absolute best sleep.

The Kids’ Favourites

Annie and Leo Pasutto at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay's pool
Annie Pasutto playing in the pool at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

Annie and Leo would be supper disappointed in their Mama if I didn’t mention the pool we spent most of our time at! The hotel really does have the most beautiful pool and beach area. We spent a lot of our time here as a family because we wanted to relax and really experience all the amenities that the hotel had to offer.

Their cabanas are so beautiful as well, and like the rest of the construction, use natural materials. Here are some photos of what the gorgeous cabanas looked like:

Cabanas at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay
Jillian Harris at the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay pool

They also have excellent poolside service! And, in keeping with the theme of the hotel, there are metal reusable cups accessible for getting water, so you don’t have to use plastic water bottles.

One of the things I was most impressed by was the kids’ program, Seedlings! It’s unbelievable! They teach the kids about sea life and do a trash-to-treasure pickup and a ton of other fun activities to keep the kids entertained. So, yes, this hotel is absolutely kid- and family-friendly!

The Spa

I was lucky enough to try out Bamfard Wellness Spa while I was there! I got to experience the Intuitive Healing service, which was unreal. They use local noni leaves and balms from the local pharmacy (where they create infusions). It was such a cool experience. If you want to learn more about this service and learn more about the space, click here.

Final Takeaways

All in all, I was just so impressed with the hotel’s commitment to DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), sustainability, and supporting local. I haven’t always been able to stay at luxurious hotels like 1 Hotel or be hosted (an amazing perk of my job!), but I did want to spotlight 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay in particular because of all that they are doing for DEI and the environment. Once again, thank you to 1 Hotel for hosting my family and me! We had an unforgettable trip!

Please note: this is a sponsored post.

If you would like to learn more about 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, click here!



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