Sunday, January 7, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 7, 2001

Here's why pro golfers love to go to Kapalua

By Bob Krauss
Advertiser Columnist

A Molokai girl is not the person you’d expect to be in charge of bubble baths for golfers competing with Tiger Woods in the Mercedes Championship at Kapalua this week.

Kimberly Mikami Svetin is manager for activities at the Ritz-Carlton resort on Maui. One of the amenities at the Ritz is a tuxedo-clad butler who draws bubble baths for guests at $50 a bath. That includes a bottle of champagne.

"Do ladies and gentlemen at the Ritz-Carlton bubble-bathe together?" I asked.

"The butler doesn’t know what happens inside after he closes the door," Svetin explained. "The bath is popular with honeymoon couples.

"I had one, and it was divine for the mother of a 1-year-old. I’m lucky if I get a five-minute shower."

Svetin has added to the bath menu for the golf tournament. The Golf Dream Bath has bubbles scented by green bath salts and peppermint oil.

Before the butler draws the bath, he turns on music and the towel warmer and sets out champagne and chocolate truffles.

Each of the 34 professional golfers will drive a Mercedes during the tournament. Each will be greeted by name by hotel staff.

"Our employees recognize Tiger Woods," said Svetin. "But we want them to be able to recognize all of the golfers. So we’re having a contest."

A special bulletin board went up in the employees’ dining room with photos and biographies of each golfer.

A Facts of the Day contest is under way. Employees who answer five facts correctly win trips to Neighbor Islands.

While golfers concentrate on beating Tiger Woods, Svetin dreams up ways to turn the hotel into an elegant clubhouse for the rich and famous. She is long on creativity.

"My family owned the only drug store in Kaunakakai," she said. "When you grow up without television, you learn to be creative."

"What about this nonalcoholic beverage for guests, the 19th Hole Quencher, that mixes secret proportions of passion, orange and guava juice?"

"I’m not going to tell you. It’s a secret."

For an extra charge, you may book a club-level suite that overlooks the third hole of the Bay Course and have the tournament come to you. Maids will leave bags of Kapalua tees, a Ritz-Carlton golf bag tag on your dresser, and a sleeve of Kapalua golf balls.

Pastry chef Jacques Poulin will bake "greens"-scented sugar cookies for young golfers enrolled in the Ritz Kids tournament.

Svetin’s secret weapon is an adoption program. Every department manager in the hotel will adopt somebody in the golf tournament. Svetin is adopting the media.

"For example, if your sports reporter, Ann Miller, gets a cold, I’ll leave Kleenex in her room," she said.

Bob Krauss can be reached at 525-8073.

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