Rival resorts around the world are taking aim at one another, but Hawaii’s “Rivieras” resort is unique.
“Rival” resorts are often criticized for the cost and proximity to the tourist attractions they serve, and for not having the best facilities or offering the most expensive stays.
“But what sets the Riviera apart from other resorts is that it’s a whole other thing,” says Joe McNamee, the CEO of Hawaiian Landscapes, a company that owns and operates the Rivieras.
“It’s a unique, special experience.”
Hawaiian Landscape, based in Hawaii, started out in 1972, and it opened two of its five locations in the 1970s, one in Hawaii and the other in the resort of Kona.
“In those days, there were a lot of people going to the beaches and the beachfront,” says McNamees, who has been with Hawaiian Landscheps since 1991.
“There was just this huge, massive influx of people who were going to Kona, and they wanted to be near the beaches.
So we opened a second location and expanded the business and built out our facilities.”
Now the company has about 40 locations, including two in Hawaii.
The most popular one is in Kona’s popular “Hollywood” district, where McNameens has a 15,000-square-foot building that houses his company’s “Mountain of the Sun” attraction, an 80-foot-tall waterfall.
The “Mighty Waltz” attraction is a water slide, which includes a giant glass dome.
In addition to the “Million Dollar Slide,” the company’s other attractions include the “Jungle Cruise,” a five-hour cruise that takes guests on a water ride down the coast of Kealakekoa and up a steep hill to a waterfall.
McNameen’s business has expanded since he was hired by Hawaiian Landscope.
In 2001, the company opened a hotel in Honolulu’s “Honolulu” district.
The following year, Hawaiian Land scoured the island for land for the hotel, which opened in 2004.
“When we found the perfect site for the resort, we thought we’d have to pay rent, but the land just was just so valuable,” McNameene says.
“We never thought we would have to do that, and we’re very proud of the fact that we did.
The resort is the most profitable property in the world, and there’s a lot more money than land in Hawaii.”
In addition, McNameenes business has grown beyond his “Mortal” property, which he describes as a 50-room, three-story hotel that overlooks Kealakeno, Kona and the Hawaiian Islands.
“You have to build it right, and you have to put it in the right location,” he says.
The company has been in Hawaii since 2002, and has expanded from Hawaii to New York and New Jersey.
McNames company has had more than 30 “Masters” in Hawaii at any given time, including “Morton’s,” a luxury resort in Kailua-Kona, a small island off the coast where the “Ravieras'” is located.
But “RIVIERAS” is a “Master” by the resort’s own admission, and even that designation doesn’t apply to McNameès business.
“The Riviera is an island,” he explains.
“Its a large island, and as you get closer to the coast you can see the islands of the island.”
A lot of his customers come from all over the world.
“I don’t have any specific people coming in from places like France or Germany,” he laughs.
“And when they do come in, they’re very happy to be here.
And they’ve never left.”
McNameles “Roviers” are not just “moms and dads” in the “family” he describes, but they’re also a “family business,” McNames explains.
His wife, Linda, is the CEO and co-founder of Hawaiian Lifescape.
“My husband and I have always been very involved in our business,” she says.
They started Hawaiian LandScapes in the late 1990s, and McNameés first major venture was “MILF” — the name given to a Disney film that starred Mia Farrow.
“So we were just kind of going through the motions, trying to figure out how to do things right,” McDones says.
As the “Big Waltz,” “MASSIVE WALL” and “MORTON’S” franchises were expanding, McNames first foray into the entertainment industry came with the release of “MOTION” in 2001.
“Our goal was to make a movie that could sell to a certain age group of adults,” McCall