Being an entrepreneur isn't easy, especially here in Hawaii.
But for Michael Dailey, success has been a constant.
As owner and operator of the boutique-style Equus hotel on the leading edge of Waikiki, Dailey finds success literally in the shadows of some of the largest hotel properties on the island.
He wouldn't have it any other way. "I'd say so, because it allows us to set ourselves apart as a very individual and eclectic and iconic little property," Dailey said.
With just 68 rooms spread over nine floors, he prides himself on having enough staff to deliver a complete hotel experience while being small enough to maintain a personal touch.
"It's very satisfying and a very good feeling to talk to people and our guests and find that they've had a wonderful experience, that the trip to Hawaii has been special," Dailey said. "When you're in an urban area like this, the excitement is what's all around you, and what we want to do with our guests is be their guide."
Dailey's family has been in the hotel business for decades, as previous owners of the old Waikikian hotel, home of the famous Tahitian Lanai restaurant. That property ultimately gave way to the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
From then to now, Dailey says success comes with hard work and staying focused on the customer.
"I think our formula is providing a 4- to 5-star experience at a 3- to 4-star price, and we want to always deliver more than what anybody is expecting," he said.
Dailey also take pride in sharing another side of island life, beyond the beautiful beaches and coconut trees.
The hotel's name, Equus, means horse in Latin. It's the perfect name for man whose family has been involved in polo his entire life.
"We wanted to bring in another another side of Hawaiian culture and history. That's the paniolo side," Dailey said. "It's a wonderful tale, and it's a great backstory that I find our guests are really thrilled about something that most of them had no idea about."
But more than anything, Dailey says his success as a businessman is tied directly to ensuring memories that will last a lifetime.
"We only have 68 rooms to fill, so we don't need everybody," he said. "We just need the people who are looking for unique, very authentic Hawaiian experience."
The Equus is located at 1696 Ala Moana Boulevard. Click here for more information.