After our refreshing stay at the Four Seasons Maui, we packed our bags and hopped over to the Fairmont Kea Lani to take part in the Journese Curator’s Experience. Upon checkin, we were whisked away on a golf cart to our Three Bedroom Oceanfront Villa – an unbelievable surprise arranged for us by the incredible Journese team! Even though it rained for most of our time in Maui thanks to the lovely Hurricane Ana, I couldn’t imagine better accommodations to be cooped up in. It was pretty nice getting to relax for a couple of days, leaving the villa only to eat and attend the Curator’s events.
While we did miss out a bit on all there is to experience in Maui, we were still able to see the gorgeous properties and eat some delicious food. My top recommendations for meals: Monkeypod, as mentioned before, Fabiani’s for fantastic pizza (get the Hawaiian!), and Coconuts Fish Cafe, well worth the drive into town for the best fish tacos and fresh Mahi you will ever, ever eat (don’t miss out on their french fries, either – I don’t even like french fries and I inhaled these things!).
We were fortunate enough to visit the Andaz Maui at Wailea, the first Andaz property that I’ve seen in person. Andaz, a concept of the Hyatt brand, is just now venturing into the world of resorts with this property and their new resort in Costa Rica, which I’ve had rave reviews on from past guests.
The idea behind the Andaz brand is a casual luxury vacation customized to your individual needs – the name “Andaz” literally translates to “personal style.” You’ll see these touches everywhere, a great example being the spa, which starts in an apothecary area where guests choose their own massage oils based on their preferred scents.
This super modern, boutique property (the smallest in the Wailea area) is incredibly intimate and perfect for couples with its adults-only pool and trendy vibe. However, there are aspects that families will enjoy, as well, like a kid’s program and the incredible oceanfront villas, which are great for multi-generational getaways. Think a smaller, understated version of the Four Seasons Anguilla, villas and all.
Our dinner at the Andaz was a private event, but everything from the super fresh sushi to the mini Loco Moco’s (their version: Kobe Beef topped with a quail egg) were absolutely delicious, a great reflection on what the property has to offer guests. I would have no hesitation sending clients here, it was simply perfect!
Our last day at the Fairmont Kea Lani started with the open feedback session that Kimberly Daley, the Senior VP of Marketing for Pleasant Holidays & Journese, hosts every year. In order to improve her brand and cater to her clients (the Curator’s Experience hosts Journese’s top 25 producing agents from across the country), Kim opens herself and Journese up for feedback and constructive criticism (a few of the agents could have learned the constructive part a bit more, but Kim has thick skin, thankfully).
I think the very act of being vulnerable in front of your clients and peers, admitting that there are areas that you could always be improving, accepting feedback with gratitude and an open mind is a testament Kim’s leadership and the values Journese holds at its very core. We don’t know it all, there is always room for growth and improvement, and the minute we forget that is the minute we let our pride take over and risk the harsh fall that comes quickly after. As Kim said at the opening of the day, “I fully believe we have to lose ourselves before we can be found.”
That night, I had the honor of receiving the very last award given out by Journese for the top producers, which didn’t hit me until I saw the final plaque sitting alone on the table, everyone else having already received theirs. Being in that room with my mother beside me – my best cheerleader – and Kim on stage – my best mentor – was something I will never forget. The kind words that she said before calling my name made me tear up, it reminded me how fortunate I am to be in a business with suppliers that care about you on a personal level.
Of course we are here because of our production, but the reason I am here, pouring into this particular company, is because they care about me as a person. They get to know me, find out about my family, keep up with my travels, watch over my clients. The entire team, like Caetie & Sue, pictured below, along with each and every one of the reservations agents, is truly in their position because of their dedication to their clients. I could not ask for a better partner or a stronger reminder of why I do what I do.
Our goal as an agency is to create long-lasting relationships and friendships with my clients, my employees, my peers and my suppliers. Receiving the Curator’s award meant so much more to me than just production; it reflected the goals that I’ve met in the past year and reminded me of the people who helped me to get there.
I’m so grateful for each and every client, supplier, peer, and friend and I can’t wait to see where we are by this time next year!