Owners Eric von Platen Luder and Scott Dodd created a love letter to Hawaii with their recently opened Lava Lava Beach Club.
They took advantage of the scenic splendor at Anaehoomalu Bay, making it feel like you’re stepping into an idyll. Their attention to rustic detail and contemporary color pallet, with tones taken from ocean and sky, is bound to impress. Throughout the club’s open-air restaurant and four guest cottages are pops of burnt oranges reminiscent of sunsets, ocean blues and chartreuse greens among the wood and wicker.
Not only did Dodd and von Platen Luder try to capture Hawaii in the landscape and architecture, but also the spirit. The result: a laid-back, vibrant club that’s the epitome of barefoot luxury. Here, “bikinis and board shorts are welcome,” Dodd said Sunday afternoon.
Just mere steps to golden sands and azure waters, the club’s mission is to create a fun, beachfront destination within the Waikoloa Beach Resort area where residents and visitors alike can dine, drink, celebrate or simply relax. The club combines the owners’ passions and other ventures. Dodd and von Platen Luder own Paradise Gourmet Catering, Grass Shack Parties & Rentals, Huggo’s and On The Rocks.
Lava Lava Beach Club took roughly two years to create, and it’s “a dream come true,” Dodd said.
“The response has been really great,” he said. “Every person who has stayed, ate or celebrated something here over the past six weeks has raved about it.”
Besides the new restaurant dining and accommodation options, the club offers an outdoor lawn that accommodates up to 600 people for weddings, special occasions, fundraisers, social gatherings and corporate events, Dodd said. For intimate cocktail, pupu and dinner events of 30 people or less, the beach on the south side of the property can be used, he added.
Lava Lava Beach Club, which officially opened in June, holds the unique distinction as not only the newest oceanfront lodging, but also the first to be built on Hawaii Island’s Kona-Kohala Coast in more than 15 years, Dodd said.
The guest cottages were designed to give guests all the comforts of a private home, the convenience of a beachfront hotel and the excitement of a surf shack. Each 576-square-foot cottage includes a private covered lanai, outdoor natural lava rock shower enclosure and garden, a king size bed, a queen size day bed in the living room area and a kitchenette. One cottage meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Dodd said.
The cottages are named Kahakai (beach or seashore), Moana (ocean), Nalu (wave or surf) and Waa (canoe). The featured artwork celebrates Hawaii’s water sports, including canoe paddling and surfing. Guests will enjoy local artist Mike Field’s popular vintage-esque creations featuring the strong clean lines and bold intense use of color, as well as more whimsical art pieces like an octopus holding paddles or a lobster doing stand-up paddling. Each cottage is air-conditioned, offers flat screen televisions and i-home music systems, as well as has a concert-size ukulele available for strumming. Typically around 5 p.m., guests are treated to a special surprise — usually a free pupu and specialty drink, Dodd said.
There’s a two-night minimum to stay in a cottage, which typically costs $450 a night and has a four-person maximum capacity, Dodd said.
Lava Lava Beach Club has approximately 90 employees. It’s not unusual to spot employees doing restaurant and accommodation duties. For instance, “Uncle Danny” cleans the cottages around noon and is also a food runner, Dodd said.
The 120-seat restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. It features a “relaxed island” lunch and dinner menu that spotlights locally sourced ingredients, with options for light dining or creative upscale options by Executive Chef Colin Stevens. Entrees range from $11 to $36. Eventually, Lava Lava Beach Club will offer breakfast, Dodd said.
Prior to moving to the Big Island, Stevens lived and worked in Thailand, specifically Bangkok and Phuket. He has worked in numerous resorts, member clubs, fine dining restaurants and chains. Stevens said he hopes to bring more of a balance of flavors, which is greatly emphasized in most Asian cuisine. He also hopes to strike a perfect harmony between sweet and sour, spicy and salty, while incorporating the club’s farm-to-beach philosophy and his molecular gastronomy skills.
His favorites on the Lava Lava Beach Club menu are Tipsy Misto Fitto — beer battered calamari, rock shrimp, artichoke hearts, chili lime aioli and lava lava sauce — and Shake ‘Em Fries with three signature flavor dusts of cheese, bacon and chili. Other crowd-pleasers, according to Dodd, are Huggo’s teriyaki steak, a signature since 1969, and the fish tacos.
Also at the restaurant, live music and entertainment happen nightly until 10 p.m.
For more information, visit lavalavabeachclub.com or call 769-LAVA (5282).