Hawaiian trade winds gingerly shifted through palm trees as the family welcomed guests at their grandson’s first birthday party. The guests, dressed in aloha attire, are “snowbirds” from the cold east coast but now part of the Hawaiian family. Joe and Sadie Validzich have been staying at the Hyatt Regency in Maui each winter for over twenty years and happily adopted into the employee’s families. During their 6 month visit, there is plenty of time to enjoy sunshine and beach parties with many special people.
The Validzich’s are always on the go travelling around the world, but the trips are scheduled with the yearly Maui stay in mind. They are not the only ones, dozens of people have the same plan, and the Regency Club in the Hyatt has become their home away from home. Staff in the hotel personally welcome the returning guests and even the grounds keepers know them by name. Excited to see one another each January, their emails start popping with arrival dates and the air stirs with anticipation. One couple due to arrive from St. Louis, another from Pennsylvania and their chairs are waiting for them where they always sit in the club. Throughout the year they stay in contact by email and texting but seeing one another is the highlight of the year.
While sipping morning coffee overlooking a gorgeous ocean view and breaching whales, I asked many of the guests why not drive an RV to Arizona or Florida to escape the wintery scene. Each resounding answer was because, staff treat them like family and being spoiled is a definite benefit. The club team looks forward to engaging their guests in conversation and making sure all is going just right with each one. Emily Arcangel has worked here 34 years and she and other committed employees freely share genuine Hawaiian hospitality.
During the day, guests go different ways to explore island sites, swim in the pool and gather sea glass. Finding unusual glass on the shore has become a group hobby and evenings in the club over wine and cheese, glass is cleaned up and may well be made into jewelry.
Delightful dinners are enjoyed in one of the various hotel restaurants and then it’s back to the club for a nightcap. Months go by quickly with grandchildren visiting for a week to explore fun island adventures and just relaxing in the sun.
Being treated like Ohana (Hawaiian family) by the hotel team soon becomes the returning visitors chosen retirement lifestyle.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
200 Nohea Kai Drive
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761