Nurturing community partnerships, integrating host culture, and creating a genuine shared experience are among Timbers Kaua‘i’s 2023 highlights for General Manager Chris Gampon. As we enter the new year, we connected with Chris to discuss what to expect for 2024 from the Timbers ‘Ohana.

Born and raised on the southside of Kauaʻi, Chris has fond memories of fishing with his dad in a pond that now lies within the confines of Kukuiʻula. As he moves about the property at Timbers, pairs of Koloa ducks transport Chris back to moments of connection with his father. Although they were a rare sighting in his youth, the same two Koloa ducks consistently joined Chris and his dad at their fishing spot, bearing witness to the art of slowing down. Sharing a canoe and fishing for bass and bluegill, Chris remembers learning patience and embracing the calm of nature–a practice that he graciously shares with his extended family at Timbers.

Hawaiʻi’s native duck, the Koloa Maoli, has been a part of the ecosystem of the Hawaiian Islands for tens of thousands of years. It is unique to these remote islands – found nowhere else on Earth. Like many native species, it is threatened with extinction. Now Chris gets to enjoy seeing these ducks on almost a daily basis. “We are lucky to have the Koloa Duck as one of the five endangered waterbird species that take refuge here at Hōkūala where they are federally protected and managed under the Habitat Conservation Program.”

In his role as GM, Chris has had the pleasure of participating in the owners’ coconut tree planting ceremony at the Farm at Hōkūala. The ceremony is designed to root new owners to the land and family at Timbers. “Our coconut tree planting ceremony is very impactful for owners,” Chris explained,.“It’s a symbol of beginning, that they made the right decision, and reinforces that they’re at home.”

The annual Hōkūala Kaua‘i Scholarship Program is a point of particular pride for Chris, as it focuses on the local community. All scholarship applicants are Kaua‘i residents, and one scholarship is specifically reserved for a Timbers employee or a member of their ʻohana. It’s important to Chris in his role at Timbers to nurture the education of local youth and remind the local community that Timbers is an accessible partner, not just a high-end resort. “It’s easy to get lost in operations when running a big business,” Chris said, explaining how partnering with different organizations enriches the Timbers experience. Chris cited the relationship with Kaua‘i Museum for example, saying it “helps keep history alive and connects to the legacy of the land.” 

Timbers participates in the annual Eat the Invasives dinner and hosts a yearly Folds of Honor golf tournament, but the relationship with Surfrider Foundation is especially close to Chris’s heart. “We offer space for airlifting and a home base to sort rubbish and recyclables,” Chris explained. “We offer support for them to continue the great work that they do.”

Partnering with organizations to preserve the ecosystem and restore the land is as important to the staff as connecting with the owners. “Like I always say, beautiful bricks and sticks, but it’s the people that create the moment that motivates guests to come back,” Chris said. He personally speaks with every hire on staff and sets expectations, explaining the culture of the work environment at Timbers. “I purposefully look for candidates that can deliver that high-level personal experience 100% of the time.” The integration of  host culture–sharing and living aloha–creates an environment where guests feel seen and included. “We like to create a memory bouquet for people to take with them,” Chris explained. 

Thanks to the new activities team, there are a number of cultural experiences integrated into the Timbers calendar for 2024 including bamboo stamping, ti leaf lei making, ancient Hawaiian games, and more. Chris’s favorite part about his role as GM is the opportunity for one-on-one connection and sharing aloha. The experience of taking an owner out to Polihale for the first time, or sharing a farm-to-table meal at Hualani’s is not an unusual occurrence. Now open 7 nights a week, Hualani’s reimagined the menu in 2023 by integrating wine pairings and flights. Chris explained that the rotating menu always utilizes what’s in season, and the wine list is curated specifically to reflect and compliment those flavors for an unparalleled dining experience. 

Welcoming locals and visitors alike, Chris calls Timbers an “exclusive but inclusive community,” with miles of beautifully maintained trails, public beach access, and county-sponsored events like the recent 5K Resolution Run. “We’re part of the community. Not just physically. We try to make sure that we stay vital members and partners, and it feels good to be embraced for that effort.”