Koloa Landing Resort’s concierge Kiana Ka’ahunui has been making travelers’ dreams come true for over 16 years. The Hawaiian native has adventured all over the island herself, and has booked 1000s of activities for lucky guests. She can hook you up with everything from a romantic poolside cabana for two to the most extreme big-family adventures on this or any other Hawaiian island.
Looking to soar over Kauai in a helicopter to get up-close-and-personal with a waterfall? Ready to sail up the Napali Coast on a ginormous catamaran with spinner dolphins swimming alongside you? Or would you prefer to explore ancient caves in a smaller boat and then snorkel in the middle of the ocean amidst schools of tropical fish? How about steering off the beaten path into a rainforest on an ATV with ten of your closest friends? With just a phone call from you, Kiana and her team can make any and all of these happen.
“I pride myself on giving people an authentic experience because I have personally done all of these adventures myself,” the globe-trotting grandmother of 22 says. Having visited over 65 countries in her own life-long travels she says, “I understand the excitement and wonder you feel when you arrive at your destination!“
Kiana is calm and genuine and brings a soulfulness to her work. “I perform my job with kindness and love and make sure that I am listening. People want to be heard.” Guests often ask her, Where is the magic? And though you never know exactly where the magic will hit you on Kauai, Kiana is always ready to help you find it.
So what’s the number one activity on Kauai today?
Kiana answers without hesitation: “The helicopter tour! Because it is the best way to see Kauai.” Most of the island remains pristine and is accessible only by air or on foot, so you get an intimate view of the Garden Isle that few ever get to witness.
“There’s that moment,” Kiana says, “when you come around a mountain and come face-to-face with these razor sharp cliffs. It’s unforgettable. I have people come back all the time to tell me things like, When the pilot hovered in front of this massive waterfall there was complete silence among the passengers. We shed tears of wonderment! It’s a dream come true for many.”
Why use a concierge?
To get the best activity at the best price, it helps to have someone like Kiana on your side. “When people go to book a Napali Coast tour,” she says by way of example, “they are overwhelmed by so many boat choices! The internet is full of them. The older generation understands what it’s like to use travel agents, but the younger people are trying to do it all on their phones. When they let us, we can really help them because we know all these companies and how it works. I love going the extra two miles for my guests,” she adds.
“I have a couple coming to the resort to celebrate their 50th anniversary next month. Their trip was canceled three times so I wanted to give them extraordinary service to help them make the most of their time here. I asked them to just tell me what the perfect vacation looked like for them. What have you been dreaming of? I’m making that a reality for them.”
Conversely, Kiana also helps her clients understand what is not best for them. “Many many times I have steered people away from certain adventures if I didn’t think it was right for their age, their desires or their timing — and they appreciate this. We help them put together the best itinerary for their particular trip or family.”
Times have changed
Until recently, you could book your fun upon arrival, but in 2022, staffing shortages are impacting many activities while travelers, cooped up for too long, continue arriving in droves. This means your dream adventure might not be available if you don’t reserve well in advance. In fact, Kiana is currently putting itineraries together for fall 2022 and winter 2023.
“Sometimes people come to Kauai for that one special adventure, so if they don’t make a reservation they will likely be out of luck,” Kiana says. And with her characteristic positivity she adds that when she encounters a disappointed traveler, she suggests that they be open to experiencing something new. Sure, they had always envisioned that horseback ride at sunset or zip-lining through a rainforest, but maybe an afternoon tearing up the turf on an ATV will become their new favorite adventure! After all, you never know where that magic is going to strike.
— Erica Karlin