Hawaii happenings from fall 2017 to summer of 2017

There’s  a whole lot of action happening in the Hawaiian Islands this month that visitors might like to know about, or not, if you care here’s a few items of interest:

  • An  $18 million dollar renovation of the beachfront Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on Oahu.  currently underway, which will be finished in October 2015, includes a dynamic redesign of the resort’s porte cochere, main lobby and front desk area. In addition, the grand Kona Moku Ballroom’s new design concept will include new wall covering, lighting, carpeting, doors, wood paneling, painting and new signage. MarriottHawaii.com/Waikiki-Beach-Marriott-Resort
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on Oahu recently got a$21 million face-lift of thje 17-story Diamond Head Tower.  The rooms in the Diamond Head Tower now incorporate Hawaii-inspired décor, and new amenities include a lanai (balcony) and bar area. HiltonHawaiianVillage.com
  • The Hilton Waikiki Beach on Oahu recently unveiled improvements and other new enhancements to the hotel. Newly constructed restrooms and shower facilities on the 10th floor pool deck vastly improve the functionality, comfort and aesthetics of the entire guest experience. In addition, the beautifully hand-tiled pool includes a retiled deck and the installation of ADA-approved access. The main lobby, the lobby bar LBLE and HHonors lounge also received new furniture. HiltonWaikikiBeach.com
  • Travaasa Hana in east Maui has launched a $12 million room restoration project. Leading the redesign of the guest rooms is Hunton Conrad, a Maui-based interior designer known for his landscape artistry. Upon completion, guests can expect the 70 bungalows and suites at the resort to offer a new and enhanced vacation experience. Though changes will be made during the restoration project, all rooms will continue to remain free of radios, clocks and televisions, allowing guests to soak in the natural beauty of Hana. Travaasa.com/Hana
  • Lanais have been added to  all 602 guestrooms at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa which also upgraded its workout facility, enhanced amenities at the Anara Spa, and renewed dining spaces at Stevenson’s Library, Ilima Terrace, Poipu Bay Clubhouse, The Dock and Hale Nalu. GrandHyattKauai.com
  • , G & Z Upcountry B&B is Maui’s newest and ideal for  a relaxing weekend getaway or romantic retreat without missing the comforts of home. G & Z Upcountry offers a full-sized kitchen, bedroom, living room and bath complete with a private entrance. At an elevation of 3,000 feet, guests can welcome each day with a breathtaking sunrise over Haleakala and watch the sunset fade behind Mauna Kahalawai at dusk. GandZMaui.com
  • Aqua Hospitality and Aston Hotels & Resorts have announced the group will now operate under the Aqua-Aston Hospitality banner. The group’s five brands include Aston Hotels & Resorts, Aqua Hotels and Resorts, Lite Hotels, Instinct Hotel Collection, and Maui Condo & Home. Aqua-Aston.com
  • Aqua-Aston Hospitality has added Ohia Waikiki hotel into its management. The 17-story, 251-room property, formerly known as the Outrigger Surf East, is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation to include a 24-hour restaurant, a lobby seating area with a flat-screen TV, swimming pool, sundeck and bike and surfboard racks. Aqua-Aston.com
  • To island chef and restaurateur Peter Merriman is opening Merriman’s, his eponymous fine-dining restaurant in Honolulu in June 2017  (what a treat, his food is amazing). Merriman’s will serve lunch and dinner showcasing purveyors of island-farmed beef, lamb, sustainably caught seafood, fresh-picked produce and more. MerrimansHawaii.com
  • After 39 years, Destination Resorts Hawaii has changed its name to  Destination Residences Hawaii. Based in Wailea, Destination Residences Hawaii manages vacation rental private homes on resort properties such as Wailea Beach Villas, Polo Beach Club and Makena Surf. All of Destination Residences Hawaii’s vacation rentals offer the comforts and conveniences of a home, with full-service resort amenities, such as housekeeping, concierge, front desk check-in and a manager on duty 24 hours. DRHMaui.com
  • Widely known for its pineapple wine, Tedeschi Vineyards, located at Ulupalakua Ranch in Upcountry Maui, has rebranded as MauiWine after 41 years of business. As part of the transition, the vineyard has also revamped its logo and packaging, and launched a new website. Though there have been many changes, MauiWine will continue to grow its own grapes at its 23-acre vineyard and source local Maui Gold pineapples from Haliimaile Pineapple Company. MauiWine.com
  • Utah-based Kapolei Hotel Partners LLC, which includes Western States Lodging and Thackeray Garn Company, recently completed its acquisition of 2.8 acres next to Kapolei Regional Park. Slated to open in 2017 in the Leihano area, a seven-story Embassy Suites with 180 rooms will be Kapolei’s first hotel. WSLM.biz

ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

  • Farm to Fork Fridays by the Ocean Pool Bar & Grill at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui is a new weekly series celebrating sustainability. The series spotlights locally infused dishes, which utilize ingredients produced on-island. Guests can savor a two-course chef-inspired main entrée from the Duo menu for $32. WestinKaanapali.com
  • Mele at the Moana, a new concert series at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki on Oahu, offers Hawaiian music fans free monthly concerts, featuring some of the Aloha State’s top talent. Scheduled on the last Friday of each month, the events reconnect the present with the hotel’s rich musical past and the extraordinarily popular live radio program, “Hawaii Calls,” which was broadcasted worldwide from the hotel’s famous Banyan Courtyard for 40 years. Moana-Surfrider.com
  • The GolfBoard, a new and fun mode of transportation, recently debuted at the award-winning Mauna Kea Golf Course and Hapuna Golf Course. In addition to being the first to offer GolfBoard on Hawaii Island, Mauna Kea Resort’s fleet of 24 is the largest of any course in the state. The innovative platform allows golfers to navigate the courses with ease, similar to how a surfer smoothly rides a wave. PrinceResortsHawaii.com
  • The Limahuli Garden and Preserve on Kauai’s north shore is now offering the Sustainability Tour. Offered twice a month, on Saturdays or by appointment, on the grounds of the beautiful 17-acre native botanical garden, the Sustainability Tour explores the garden’s treasured plants through the lens of modern challenges. Pairing ancient Hawaiian knowledge with modern science offers visitors insight into ways to better care for our global gardens. NTBG.org
  • Visitors to Hawaii Island can visit the new Epic Origami exhibit at the Imiloa Astronomy Center, showcasing impressive pieces in the art of paper folding. After receiving a book by renowned origami artist John Montroll at the age of 15, artist Bonnie Cherni practiced folding with newspapers. Years later, she continues to fold, but now uses interesting materials such as canvas, copper mesh and paper on aluminum Each piece in the exhibit took 100 folding steps, with some as tall as three feet. ImiloaHawaii.org
  • Burn’n Love, a tribute to Elvis Presley and one of the most popular visitor shows on Maui, recently opened a second show location at the Magic of Polynesia Theatre in the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber on Oahu. Be transported through time, learn a few facts about the King’s visit to Hawaii and enjoy an evening featuring some of his greatest hits. WaikikiBeachcomberResort.com
  • Award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi recently introduced his newest restaurant, Eating House 1849, on the island of Kauai. Located at The Shops at Kukuiula, Eating House 1849 promises regional cuisine with a historic flair that pays homage to Hawaii’s vibrant culinary heritage. Inspired by Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Hawaiian, Korean and other Hawaii cultures, Eating House 1849 strives to blend the ambiance and simple flavors from the Islands’ plantation era with the dynamic modernism of haute cuisine. At the Kauai Culinary Market, enjoy chef demos on Wednesdays and live entertainment on Fridays. EatingHouse1849.com
  • Since 2010, Street Grindz has connected chefs and artisans with customers through monthly events and pop-ups such as Eat the Street, Honolulu Night Market and Taste Table. Street Grindz recently introduced Makers & Tasters, a market located along the Kewalo harbor waterfront. Makers & Tasters will be the company’s first daily marketplace. Its vision is to create a food park where all businesses (makers), from budding newbies to seasoned experts, can perfect their dishes, share goods, and build a strong network of customers (tasters). With a mix of vendors and cooking styles, Makers & Tasters promises there will always be something for everyone to enjoy. MakersAndTasters.com
  • Valid for a full calendar year, the Hawaii Tri-Park Annual Pass allows cardholders unlimited noncommercial entry to Haleakala National Park on Maui, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park on Hawaii Island. Created by local Hilo artist John Dawson, the pass artwork depicts naupaka kahakai, a coastal plant, specially selected because it borders the coastline of all three national parks. NPS.gov
  • Kohala Sail & Sea is Hawaii Island’s newest sailing adventure and the first company to offer boat tours from the Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor, the state’s newest harbor. Kohala Sail & Sea offers a wide range of ocean adventures including snorkeling, sailing, sunset cruises, dolphin watching, and seasonal whale watching. Guests enjoy complimentary light refreshments and smooth sailing aboard the Riva, a sturdy and comfortable 34-foot sailboat with lots of room for six people. KohalaSailAndSea.com
  • Tasting Kauai recently announced a partnership with the St. Regis Princeville Resort, making the hotel one of six stops on the tour company’s North Shore Food Tour. Breathtaking views of Hanalei Bay and Mount Makana, and a variety of delectable private tastings made with locally grown seasonal products, are just a few perks guests can indulge in while on the tour. Participating restaurants and chefs include KG Beachside Tapas with chef Noelani Planas, the St. Regis Bar with Executive Pastry Chef Heather Campbell, Kauai Grill with Executive Sous Chef Maxime Michaud, and Nalu Kai with chef Planas. TastingKauai.com
  • The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani welcomes back Te Moana Nui, as the Polynesian evening show rejoins the hotel’s entertainment lineup. Te Moana Nui, meaning “vast ocean,” takes guests on a journey through the history and culture of the Pacific. Guests can experience the vibrant Polynesian stage show every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday in the Ainahau Showroom. Before Te Moana Nui begins, guests may dine al fresco in the hotel’s Pikake Terrace, which offers a wide variety of selections by chef Chris Kirksey, including prime rib, crab legs and other island-inspired cuisine. Princess-Kaiulani.com
  • Founded by Lanai residents, Lost on Lanai makes it easy to find new adventures by using timely information and sharing Lanai experiences. Fueled by the passion and desire to support local businesses and the island economy, Lost on Lanai is a locally based booking agency ready to assist both day and overnight guests. Visitors to its website will find everything to satisfy their adventure needs, from ferry tickets and jeep rentals to golf, guided tours, bike excursions, voluntourism activities and hotel reservations. LostOnLanai.com

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

  • From Nov. 12-14, the annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival on Hawaii Island will feature hula halau (hula schools) from around the world showcasing their interpretation of hula. Hosted by the Moku O Keawe Foundation, the festival aims to enrich and educate the practice and development of hula and its associated arts, in order to build, strengthen and inspire the continuation and advancement of cultural traditions in Hawaii. Workshops, arts and crafts exhibits, concerts and much more, allow attendees to experience a unique culture and way of life. MOKIF.com
  • Committed to preserving the Hawaiian culture, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel proudly hosts the 25th annual Hula O Na Keiki, Maui’s only children’s hula competition. From Nov. 13-15, students from around the world will compete and demonstrate how they perpetuate and preserve Hawaii’s traditions. Dancers will be critiqued on their interview skills, chanting styles, dance performances and cultural appropriateness of costumes and adornments. The well-respected hula and cultural advisors evaluating their skills include Hokulani Holt, Kaponoai Molitau and Maka Herrod. HawaiiCulture.com
  • What started as a humble project headquartered at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s East-West Center —an educational and research institution created by U.S. Congress — has transformed into an event drawing more than 70,000 worldwide attendees annually. The Hawaii International Film Festival on Oahu is the largest East-meets-West festival in the United States, winning the praise of governments, filmmakers, scholars, educators, programmers and film industry leaders around the world. From Nov. 12-22, Hawaii’s premier film festival will present feature films, documentaries and short subjects, as well as seminars, workshops, special award presentations and receptions. HIFF.org
  • The 22nd annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival returns to the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort & Spa on Nov. 15. The celebration of music brings together musicians from communities throughout the Islands for a day of continuous Hawaiian slack key guitar performances on Kauai. Tickets sales will benefit the Ki-Ho Alu Foundation. SlackKeyFestival.com
  • Originally organized by renowned professional surfer Fred Hemmings in 1983, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is an annual tournament on Oahu’s North Shore honoring the best male and female surfers. Watch the pros catch some of Hawaiiʻs biggest swells during the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa’s Alii Beach from Nov. 12-23, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach from Nov. 24-Dec. 6, and the Billabong Pipe Masters at Banzai Pipeline from Dec. 8-20. Earning any of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition’s prestigious titles is a true milestone for professional surfers. TripleCrownOfSurfing.com
  • Honoring a legendary Hawaii surfer and waterman, the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau on Oahu is a competition testing the courage and skill of big wave surfers from around the world. Surfers are handpicked to compete and the contest only begins when wave conditions at the North Shore’s famed Waimea Bay surf break reach heights of 20 feet or more during a holding period from Dec. 1-Feb. 28. Invitees and alternates will paddle out and gather in a traditional surfers’ circle at the holding period’s opening ceremony to commemorate Aikau’s legacy, and make a connection of camaraderie with fellow competitors. Quiksilver.com
  • The island of Kauai gets into the holiday spirit at the Lights on Rice Parade. The annual Festival of Lights tradition brightens roadways with Christmas decorations, stretching from Vidinha Stadium and Rice Street to Lihue’s historic county building. Caroling, live entertainment, a craft fair, a parade of floats, food vendors and more make this a special holiday event the whole family can enjoy. LightsOnRice.org
  • Soak in the last Saturday of 2015 surrounded by a community of artisans, music, food and fun in Kilauea town on Kauai. On Dec. 25, discover locally made products, including pottery, woodwork, original fine art, jewelry, organic skincare, handmade soaps, wish trees, apparel, chocolates and more at the Kilauea Art Night. Satisfy every craving with a wide variety of Kauai food vendors, including The Right Slice, Kickshaws, Porky’s Hot Dog Cart, Hanalei Pasta and Akamai Juice. Don’t miss the Keiki Fire & Light performance and live entertainment. Facebook.com/KilaueaArtNight
  • The annual Waimea Ocean Film Festival brings a combination of film, breakfast talks, filmmaker discussion panels, art exhibits and activities to Hawaii Island just after New Year’s celebrations are over. Attendees can view films, presentations and speakers at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and the Fairmont Orchid from Jan. 1-4. Early risers can enjoy yoga on the beach, as well as breakfast talk sessions with filmmakers and special guests. The nonstop schedule of award-winning films and dynamic talks then move to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai from Jan. 4-8. WaimeaOceanFilm.org
  • The Waimea Town Celebration is Kauai’s largest and oldest annual festival on the west side of the island. From keiki (children) to kupuna (elderly) and kamaaina (locals) to malihini (visitors), everyone is welcomed to join in on the fun and excitement. From Feb. 13-20, the tight-knit community of Kauai’s west side proudly celebrates its history and culture with eight full days of activities and entertainment. WaimeaTownCelebration.com
  • The Honolulu Festival on Oahu is Hawaii’s premier cultural event, promoting understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim region. Through educational programs and activities sponsored by the Honolulu Festival Foundation, the festival continues to share the rich and vibrant blend of Asia, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures with the rest of the world. From March 11-13, attendees can expect dance performances, and traditional art demonstrations and displays by artisans from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Hawaii and the rest of the United States. Free admission is offered for all events and activities — which are held at various locations in the city — to ensure that everyone can take part in the festivities. HonoluluFestival.com
  • Made possible by The Bill Healy Foundation, a non-profit organization working on behalf of children and the environment, the Kona Brewers Festival is produced in the spirit of pualu (working together) and malama pono (respecting the land). The festival promotes craft beer brewing in Hawaii, and encourages professional brewers and chefs to work together while having a positive economic, educational and environmental impact on the Hawaii Island community. From March 9-12, attendees can participate in a Brewer’s Paina and art auction, a Home Brewers Competition, a golf tournament, and enjoy incredible craft beer, island style cuisine, great music and much more. KonaBrewersFestival.com

TRANSPORTATION

  • Hawaiian Airlines debuted a new onboard safety video highlighting more than 30 crew and family members and their favorite locations throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Debuting on all of Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight entertainment systems, the video offers breathtaking footage of world-famous destinations such as Yokohama Beach and Kualoa Ranch on Oahu; Haleakala National Park and Poolenalena Beach on Maui; Waimea Canyon and Waikoko Farm on Kauai; and Saddle Road Lava Fields and Umauma Falls on Hawaii Island. HawaiianAirlines.com
  • Hawaiian Airlines recently launched a newly designed international business lounge in the Honolulu International Airport. The Plumeria Lounge is located on the third floor and features fresh food and self-serve snacks, including pastries from La Tour Café, beer crafted by Maui Brewing Company and wines carefully selected by master sommelier Chuck Furuya. HawaiianAirlines.com
  • Travelers looking for non-stop flights between Kauai and Los Angeles can fly year-round on Hawaiian Airlines. Previously, this route was seasonal to accommodate the holiday rush. Starting in January 2016, this permanent route will offer travelers the choice of three flight options throughout the week. HawaiianAirlines.com
  • Mokulele Airlines recently announced an increase of service routes to begin in September. Two daily routes will fly from Molokai and Kona directly. Changes also include retiming Kapalua flights to increase efficiency and convenience for customers. Mokulele Airlines will also extend special keiki discounts throughout the year due to popular demand. MokuleleAirlines.com
  • In early 2016, Virgin America aircrafts bound for Hawaii will be outfitted with ViaSat’s hybrid Ku/Ka-band antenna. The new technology will bring significantly faster Wi-Fi connectivity to the airline’s 10 new A320 aircrafts and delivers Internet speeds eight to 10 times faster than other in-flight Wi-Fi systems. Passengers will be able to stream high quality, lag-free videos from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and others providers while in-flight. Virgin America will be the first commercial airline to offer an in-flight Wi-Fi service that can operate in both Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks on the same aircraft. VirginAmerica.com

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