On the sunny south shore of the Garden Isle of Kaua’i lies the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i. The plantation style resort, which takes its design inspiration from the 1920s era Mediterranean, is full of gems, from thatched hale dining at Tidepools to simply unbeatable island treatments at Anara Spa. Of course, the silken ribbon that winds through each of the hotel’s departments and ties them together is a refreshingly informal, engaging brand of hospitality that keeps many guests returning each year. Many of the employees at the resort have also been longtime fans, remaining at the property for decades.

I took a moment to pose some questions about the resort’s vaunted hospitality to Rebecca Quamie, Director of Human Resources:

Great Hospitality begins with great people. When you’re looking to hire frontline employees, what particular traits do you look for that tell you they’ll provide your guests with great hospitality?

At Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort, we lead with cultural and emotional connections. It is what we promote and celebrate here. Hiring great people who can really bring our beautiful resort to life and create authentic, emotional connections of aloha with each other and our guests is the most important thing that we can do.

If you could sum up your hospitality training programs in a single sentence, what’s the primary takeaway?

We unleash our associates to create authentic, emotional connections and experiences of aloha by placing a “compass” in their hands to bring the guest experience to life instead of a one size fits all “road map” of what they are to do and or how they are to create.

What’s an example of a core service standard that every guest should expect? 

Authenticity. It is a tenet we deeply believe in. Authenticity encourages innovation and insights because our associates are able to truly interact with each other and our guests in a much more elemental, human way that leads us to learning of and delivering on individuals’ wants and needs.

What makes GHK’s hospitality stand out from other resorts in the same category? 

The key difference from our perspective is that we take full advantage of what we consider our most valuable asset: our people. We increasingly find ways for our people to bring themselves to what they do and to bring their experiences and the leanings from our guests into what we do behind the scenes. We proudly have over a hundred associates who have been at this resort for 25 years. This rich history and commitment really does reflect, from an authentic, experiential perspective, a different type of amazingly special travel experience.

What’s your approach to service recovery? 

Our associates have been given substantial latitude to tailor and differentiate service recovery in ways that honor aloha, empathy and care for our guests as individuals.

When looking forward, what trends in hospitality or service delivery are you excited about? What are some recent improvements?

From listening to our guests, we learned there was an opportunity to better meet the needs of a large group of travelers that we call Modern Explorers. Modern Explorers are a multigenerational group comprised of travelers who view their hotel as more than a place to stay. Rather, their hotel is the hub of their experience, connecting them to unique experiences, the best of what the destination has to offer – experiences that lead to great stories.

In response to this target guest, Hyatt again set the standard by introducing Hyatt Centric in January 2015. Hyatt Centric is our new, full service lifestyle brand whose brand’s mission is putting its guests – these Modern Explorers – at the center of the action in the best destinations.

Gratuities can be a sticky subject. What advice would you provide to readers about tipping?

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is a shining example of the spirit of aloha. We serve and provide without expecting anything in return. Gratuities are appreciated as graciousness freely given by our guests.

Mahalo nui loa for taking the time to answer questions, Rebecca. For more information about Grand Hyatt Kaua’i or to book a stay, visit the resort’s website.