Haute Couture: Shopping at Luxury Hawaii Resorts

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Conceived just three years ago by a passionate group of designers, retail entrepreneurs and fashionistas, Los Angeles-based Seaside Luxe, LLC has taken resort retail to dizzying new heights. Its debut series of shops opened at Hawaii Island’s exclusive Hualalai Resort in 2008, garnering instant buzz within the hospitality and retail industries, as well as accolades from glitterati shoppers, celebrities and critics alike.

In late 2010, Lee Ann Sauter, CEO/founder, and team tweaked the concept and took it to Maui’s Four Seasons Resort, Wailea, where they opened a trio of new shops in December: Cabana, 22 Knots and Ports. “While Hualalai is all about laid back chic, Four Seasons Maui has much more of a city hotel vibe…it’s a bit more glamorous, and the look and feel of the merchandise reflects that,” Sauter said.

Regardless, expect to find many of the same designers – some creating exclusive design lines for the shops – at both Hualalai Resort and Four Seasons Maui with fashions for men, women and children; jewelry and home. Among them: Oscar de la Renta, Missoni, Pucci, Richard Chai Love, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo and Irene Neuwirth.

“We’re really excited about the collection of logo items L.A. designer James Perse has created especially for the Maui location…I predict these shirts and dresses will be must have items for this spring/summer season,” Sauter said.

New this year, Seaside Luxe buyers are looking to South America for inspiration – Brazil and Argentina specifically. Customers can expect to see new lines from designers in those countries with looks to match the hot Latin beat.
“We’ll also be expanding retail locations with an eye on international opportunities. The plan is to open four new locations by the end of this year,” she said. While each location is unique with an environment and products true to place, the critical element at all locations is hands-on personal service complemented by special events geared to connecting customers with designers, Sauter added. With negotiation on-going, she could not disclose all details or locations but did confirm a resort on the island of Anguilla in the Eastern Caribbean will be among them.

“Our goal is to have our shops become a destination on their own, and the Anguilla experience will be so special, clients on nearby St. Barts won’t think twice about making the 13-minute flight over to spend time with us,” she said.
At the end of the day, the goal is to see customers leaving the shops happier than when they arrived, Sauter said. Everyone deserves a beautiful, pampered experience, whether they leave with shopping bags in hand or not!

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