HAWAIʻI’S BEAUTY, HISTORY AND CULTURE INSPIRE UNCONVENTIONAL MEETING LOCATIONS
HONOLULU –When it comes to helping groups generate positive, unexpected results and fresh, new ideas, the Aloha State delivers. While Hawaiʻi’s hotels and resorts have everything necessary to host a successful meeting or convention, groups often find their biggest sources of inspiration offsite.
Meeting planners would be remiss not to embrace the beauty of Hawaiʻi’s great outdoors. The islands’ tropical weather, fresh air and spectacular vistas can help attendees feel relaxed, invigorated and inspired.
On Kauaʻi, it’s not uncommon to find venues nestled amidst a backdrop of lush green peaks and valleys. One of these, Na ʻĀina Kai Botanical Gardens, is a mosaic of 12 diverse and bounteous gardens filled with rare and exotic flora and fauna. With 240 acres, Na ʻĀina Kai offers a variety of settings, including a wild forest of hardwood trees and a meadow with sweeping ocean views. The gardens accommodate groups of 20 to 200 attendees.
Allerton Garden, part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden collection, is ideal for smaller, more intimate gatherings of up to 75 people. The garden is home to a unique collection of tropical plants, as well as European-inspired statues.
As Hawaiʻi’s premier meetings facility, the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on Oahu offers groups the opportunity to host gatherings in the 2.5 acre landscaped rooftop garden. The space is ideal for evening affairs as the Honolulu city lights twinkle off in the background.
Honolulu Ridge (Oʻahu) is just minutes from Waikīkī, but miles from ordinary when it comes to getting attendees thinking out-of-the-box. Nestled atop Mount Tantalus, high above Honolulu, the retreat features fragrant botanical surroundings and panoramic views of Oʻahu’s South Shore. The sweep of scenery includes Diamond Head Crater and the glittering Honolulu skyline, framed by striking blue ocean.
Oʻo Farm, situated on eight acres of pristine land in the Upcountry Maui farming community of Kula, provides a biodynamically cultivated, organic farm to table experience. Located at the 3,500-foot elevation of Haleakalā volcano, this gorgeous property offers customized event planning allowing guests to experience serene and scenic Kula.
From the summit greens of Wailea Golf Courses on Maui, evening groups can take-in stunning views of Molokini islet in the distance, backlit by glorious golden sunsets. The expansive flat and grassy greens offer the perfect flexibility and stage for an event.
Situated on a historic 30-acre coffee estate on the slopes of Hualālai volcano in Kona, Holualoa Inn brings a new perspective to executive retreats. The estate offers multiple outdoor and open-air spaces for meetings, events, workouts and breakouts, including the Malulani Pavilion, which can accommodate up to 120 guests and features open-beam cedar ceilings.
Enjoy the crisp, cool air of verdant Kohala volcano at 8,500-acre Kahua Ranch. The working ranch offers a variety of activities, including horseback and ATV riding, and a guided historical tour. In addition, groups can enjoy a unique, authentic barbecue experience, finished with a night of fireside live music, line dancing and marshmallow roasting under starry skies.
Groups can experience Hawaiʻi’s rich history, from its monarchy period through its missionary, whaling and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) eras and World War II, at these unique and historic venues statewide.
Oʻahu’s ʻIolani Palace was the official residence of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’s last two reigning monarchs, King David Kalākaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliʻuokalani. Now a national historic landmark and the only official state residence of royalty in the United States, ʻIolani Palace guests can walk through the same halls where lavish balls and receptions were held to celebrate kings, queens, diplomats and dignitaries from around the world. The expansive complex has indoor and outdoor spaces available for small business luncheons, lectures or large corporate events of up to 8,000 guests.
Other former residences of Hawaiian royalty are Hānaiakamalama, also known as Queen Emma Summer Palace, on Oʻahu and Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona on Hawaiʻi Island. Both venues are available for hosting smaller meetings and parties for up to 120 and 300 guests, respectively.
Several Pearl Harbor Historic Sites at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument are available for group private functions. The deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial was where the Empire of Japan officially surrendered in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, ending World War II. Spanning the length of three football fields and towering more than 20 stories at its Pearl Harbor dock, the battleship affectionately called the “Mighty Mo,” is available for tours, as well as corporate meetings or special events. Event spaces include the battleship’s main deck, the captain’s cabin and the Missouri’s pier, which can accommodate a standing reception of up to 3.000 guests.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, docked across the harbor from the Missouri, offers full-service catering provided by an array of name chefs, and a wide selection of audiovisual and entertainment options, including nostalgic WWII-era singers, Polynesian dancers and private group tours of the vessel. With a special use permit, event planners can also gain exclusive access to the USS Arizona Memorial’s two museums and theaters.
Long before Lāhainā became the visitor hotspot it is today, it served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi from 1820 to 1845 and was a bustling 19th century whaling village. Thanks to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, which has preserved and restored more than a dozen town landmarks and structures, visitors can still take in memories of the area’s significant history. A trio of venues available for private group events, include the Baldwin Home Museum, the Wo Hing Museum and Hale Pa'ahao.
Anna Ranch Heritage Center, located in the picturesque, upcountry town of Waimea on Hawai'i Island, is the restored estate of Hawai'i’s first lady of ranching, Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske. The center preserves the history of the area’s early 20th century ranching lifestyle. The main house and its expansive lawn offer a unique space to host corporate groups and special events.