HONOLULU—Wellness isn’t just about weight loss, nor should it be, as the act of embracing activities and behaviors that enable a person to improve their sense of well-being is a journey within itself. At Renew, formerly known as Hotel Renew, a state of wellness involves embracing the locale, too.
“Wellness is about making conscious decisions to live a healthy lifestyle—one that nurtures and cares for the mind, body and soul. Wellness doesn’t only apply to one’s well-being—it also permeates the community through the act of giving back and caring for the goodness and health of the community,” said Thomas Harris, GM at Renew, a 72-room boutique hotel located here.
Renew recently underwent a comprehensive redesign and rebrand to offer travelers a new type of experience centered around local wellness. The revamp touched upon the guestrooms, corridors, lobby and lobby bar. New amenities and experiences designed to connect guests to the local wellness community were also added.
“Wellness is no longer a trend—it’s here to stay. With travelers prioritizing wellness into their daily lifestyles, hotels have to be accommodating in providing options, whether it’s through fitness, nutrition, environmental, community or design,” said Harris.
The team at Renew tapped Michelle Jaime, principal and creative director of The Vanguard Theory, a Honolulu-based firm, to usher in a whole new look and feel.
“We create environments that connect people to stories of a place, a time, or a feeling,” said Jaime. “Our designs evoke a specific lifestyle, and we believe wellness is a lifestyle that uplifts you and your community. It’s not about having a fitness center stuffed in the corner of a hotel basement or a spa that only the 1% can enjoy. We see wellness as a lifestyle that is accessible to everyone at any time.”
With the goal of sprucing up the design and introducing a new concept in the marketplace, Jaime got to work on the aesthetics, programming, branding and even the naming of the hotel.
“After doing a study, we felt there was some brand equity in the existing name and we needed to update its idea of wellness from what it was in the early 2000s,” said Jaime. “We saw an emerging wellness market and challenged ourselves to find a way to connect wellness, philanthropy and place.”
Jaime dug deeper into the nuances of this wellness-focused and community-focused design project and helped the hotel to foster a corporate social responsibility initiative.
“We understood there was a rise of a conscious consumer looking for brands that would align with their own wellness and philanthropic values. So, it was important to align the hotel with a nonprofit that gave back to Hawaii that connected guests to experiences they wouldn’t otherwise find with a typical hotel concierge,” she said. “Through the hotel’s Wellness Concierge, guests can practice sunset yoga at the base of Diamond Head crater, participate in rebuilding ancient Hawaiian fishponds, or remove invasive species while kayaking along the windward coastline.”
The hotel’s philosophy of wellness now permeates every aspect of this property.
“We took the concept of a hotel concierge one step further by providing guests with access to our Wellness Concierge, whose sole responsibility is guiding guests on their wellness journey by coordinating one-of-a-kind experiences and providing recommendations on the best wellness-focused restaurants, shopping and activities on Oahu,” said Harris. “From our welcome beverage of Mamaki tea, a Hawaiian herbal healing tea, to our bags of dried lavender to aid guests in getting a good night’s rest, we curated and carefully selected elements to enhance the experience of embracing a wellness lifestyle.”
Renew’s design is minimalistic with a color palette that is earthy and natural. Jaime scaled back the design, so guests can focus on the serene ocean views.
“The check-in experience feels like a spa, and you can find local touchpoints throughout the property like the artwork, Hawaiian apothecary, Artisan Kona coffee, and organic cold-press juice detoxes,” said Jaime. “To evoke a feeling of restoration and calm, we introduced an earthy color palette of rose quartz, terracotta and watery blue. A modern tropical aesthetic was achieved by incorporating cane webbing and rattan details into our custom-designed furniture. The design for the guestroom window fabric was inspired by the Hawaiian moon phases used for voyage, harvest and spiritual practice.”
With more than 12 years since its last major renovation, the Renew team is ready for the opportunity to welcome guests into a new concept where they can be inspired.
“We want to make a positive impact on guests’ experiences inside and outside of the hotel,” said Harris. “We want to inform travelers who desire a deeper connection to Hawaii beyond the typical tourist spots. We’re catering to a new generation who care about the small details and how they make an impact on the community and planet.”
Harris is proud to be the first hotel in Waikiki to offer astrology readings and in-room aromatherapy facials, among other new additions.
“Being a small hotel offers us the flexibility to create unique, customized experiences that travelers can’t find anywhere else in Waikiki,” he said. “Wellness doesn’t only apply to oneself. It applies to the community and the environment. For Renew, we look forward to eliminating single-use plastics in efforts to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.”
As guests depart, Jaime hopes that they will leave with a deeper understanding of the culture and themselves. “It’s not about designing for the Instagram photo. It’s about real connections and real experiences,” she said.
“We are excited to welcome guests to experience a new type of wellness at Renew,” Harris said. “We look forward to providing our guests meaningful and memorable stays.” HB