December News
Aloha from Kauai and our Great Vacation Retreats Ohana

We hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! It's that time of year to pull out the holiday decorations and string up the lights! The fresh cut Christmas trees have arrived at the island's Home Depot after spending weeks in shipping containers and passing agricultural inspection in Honolulu. We get to choose from Evergreens such as Douglas and Noble Firs that have come all the way from Oregon and Washington to deck our halls. There are few options on the island to have an authentic experience of going to a farm to pick out your tree. Kalaheo Flowers offers Norfolk Pines (Hawaiian Christmas Trees!).
Season for Giving
“Ohana” is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It means family. We at Great Vacation Retreats often refer to ourselves, collectively, as the GVR Ohana. Our coworkers, our vendors, our everything in-between, are a part of our ohana. That is also the way we see everyone in our small, tight-knit community, on Kauai. Which is why we pledge to allocate our efforts to give back because we take care of our family in any way possible. As of today, we have and will continue to work side-by-side with Nana’s House, Healing Horses Kauai, Women In Need, and Hale Opio. 

In 2017, we started a food donation program with Kauai Food Bank. With currently 80+ properties under our management, for every non-perishable food item guests leave inside the home we take them back to our office to collect and deliver to the Kauai Food Bank. 
PROJECT: feed paper bags await guests at check-in along with an explanation of the program along with their welcome WOW gifts.

We are in the business of helping others. This is what hospitality is, after all. 

Find out how you can support local charities here on Kauai!
What is a WOW?
We love it when our guests say "Wow - how nice, how thoughtful, how cool, how great! " At GVR we aim for the Wows, with thoughtful welcome gifts, an abundance of aloha and the unexpected! Maybe it's a carton of fresh farm eggs, or a surprise bottle of wine with two glasses chilling in the fridge! Maybe it's fruit from the farmers market and an array of Kauai-made products including chocolate, cookies and gourmet snacks. Perhaps it's towels sculpted into swans on the bed with orchid leis for a honeymoon couple. Sometimes it's something as simple as accommodating a guest's special wish e.g. Recently a guest wanted to do something special for her twin girls 15th birthday so Gigi and Kahea from our office made arrangements to have Haku lei's made for them and she was able to surprise her daughters with beautiful fresh hand-crafted Haku leis on their special day. They also organized with the Sheraton for the girls to be recognized at the luau for their birthday!
Travel: The Ultimate Gift
Treat yourself and your family to the best gift of all and plan your next vacation on the beautiful garden island of Kauai! Fodors.com said it best with their introduction to their Fodor's Go List 2019...

"For some of us, travel is a necessity. A luxury, a break, an adventure–yes, but what’s more, it is our true reality. Because when we travel, we are awake. Travel, its ethos of wonder, curiosity, and open-mindedness: it truly makes us alive.

Here at Fodor’s, we spend almost all of our professional time and much of our personal time thinking about where we want to go next. The beauty of the world is immeasurable and its people inimitable. Our annual Go List helps focus our wanderlust. Because travel is more than movement, greater than sightseeing. It is our sustenance and our substance."

Hawaii made it onto the list, of course! Fodor's reasons on why this tropical destination is so wonderful...

"Why it’s Wonderful: This last year has been a bit of a rough one for these paradisiacal islands—the Big Island coped with an erupting volcano and Hurricane Lane pelted the state (and don’t forget that false missile alert). But in the midst of all of this, Hawaii did something really wonderful for the environment: the state passed a bill banning sunscreen that’s harmful to coral reefs."

They go on to say that "Not only is Hawaii perched high on the list of destinations doing something to save this planet, but it’s climbing its way to the top of foodie bucket list, too."

They mention how "the entire state has transformed itself into a local-food paradise, featuring chef-driven restaurants and next-level farm to table meals starring ingredients that taste better than they do on the mainland: fish fresh from the ocean, pears from down the road, and pineapple so deliciously-sweet they sometimes turn them into alcohol. As an added bonus, in response to environmental factors, the islands have built a well-deserved reputation for producing sustainable foods."

Discover all that Kauai has to offer by exploring our online Food and Restaurant Guide. Kauai offers amazing farm tours that offer a unique and intimate experience with many local farmers that have worked so hard to create a sustainable farming industry. From coffee and chocolate farms, taro, shrimp and clams, local beer, wine and spirits, tropical flower farms and more...

We recommend Kauai Food Tours by Tasting Kauai . They offer Farm-to-fork food tours centered on different parts of the island. See the farms, meet the farmers and chefs, and sample some of Kauai’s finest food. Tasting Kauai recently launched a West Side walking food tour in Hanapepe. Amy and Lynn from the office were fortunate enough to have a free afternoon to enjoy the tour which starts at Little Fish in Hanapepe, then goes to some of the cute local shops and restaurants in town and ends at the start of Hanapepe's weekly Friday Art Night. 
What's your dream vacation destination?
Kauai no ka oi means Kauai is indeed the best! Take it from our local keiki crew, they would not steer you wrong. All you need for the perfect vacation is a warm tropical ocean, waves, blue sky, sunshine and happiness! We make finding your vacation rental accommodation easy! Many of our rentals are equipped with a/c and have your mid-size car rental included!
Find Kauai-made Stocking Stuffers
One of our favorite places to find unique Kauai-made gifts is at Warehouse 3540, Kauai’s Creative Community Marketplace. Their goal was to create a local spot to not only give local vendors a platform, but to give the public access to a place that exemplifies freedom for original creations. Once an old glass factory, it has nowbeen renovated to house several local creators who have set up unique boutique shops and art galleries. The warehouse also offers a pit stop for hungry passersby with food trucks located just outside of the entrance. 

We love Ivy & Co. by local designer Rebecca Owen! She mixes her style of retro Hawaiiana with hip accents and offers the most adorable baby clothes and aloha wear. Her headbands make the perfect stocking stuffers! Follow Ivy &Co. on Instagram.
Horton the Horse!
And now for the monthly update on our Great Dane puppy, Horton the Huge! When you are such a big puppy and you take up four seats of the couch for your nap with your legs stretching half-way across the floor you need a really, really, really big crate for your training! Here Presley demonstrates just how huge of a crate had to be ordered to house Horton for his crate training sessions. It is important when living on an island that Horton (and other pets) should be comfortable and have housing on standby in the event of a weather emergency evacuation.
Event Calendar
Don't Forget to check out  WEEKLY EVENTS - many of them are free! Listen to Polynesian drumming, watch a hula show, pose with parrots, feed koi fish, listen to live local bands, catch a ride on the Aloha Shuttle and more...

Our online event calendar highlights local island festivals and events. There is a lot happening in December.

Kauai Festival Of Lights begins on December 1st with the Lights On Rice Parade. This year's “Santa’s Gone Kauaiian“ theme features hand-crafted “Trash to Treasure” decorations art-directed by Elizabeth Freeman and created by Kauai’s talented teens! Check out the all new Kauai Lantern Tree, the dazzling Kauai Mermaid Kingdom, the “Beautiful Kauai” Tree, the upcycled “Over the Rainbow Tree”, the “Bling It On” Peacock Tree, Santa’s Cane Train Village, and everybody’s favorites: the SPAM Can Tree and “Surfin’ Santa”!
Happy Holidays! Aloha A Hui Hou!
Great Vacation Retreats | Phone 808.742.9202 | Text 808.427.0818 | alohagvr.com