Aloha! Fall in the Hawaiian Islands offers the perfect opportunity for reliving idyllic summer memories of swimming the state’s wondrous beaches and reenergizing in its stunning landscapes. Whether your preferred way of immersing yourself in Hawaii’s diverse landscapes involves taking an ATV ride through emerald ranchlands, or zip lining high in the sky over rainforest canopies, the fall season is one of the best times of the year for traveling to the Islands. You’ll find below the most recent updates and developments for meetings, conventions and incentives, from hotel and meeting venue renovations to new and engaging activities, and creative programs.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEETING VENUES
Opening in December, the new Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach aims to be an aloha-infused retreat on the island of Oahu. Situated steps from the beach among oceanfront shops, eateries and activities, the modern resort is the result of a $115 million redevelopment of the former Pacific Beach Hotel spanning the entire property from exterior facade to all public spaces and 839 guest rooms and suites. Whether in search of an intimate group setting or venue overlooking Waikīkī, groups at Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach will be able to choose from almost 20,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces in a variety of indoor and outdoor options. The resort will offer two ballrooms ranging in size from more than 5,000 square feet to nearly 12,000 square feet, and six meeting rooms ranging from just under 700 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet, offering venues accommodating all group sizes and functions. For more information, visit www.alohilaniresort.com.
The Grand Naniloa – A DoubleTree byHilton, located in Hilo on the island of Hawaii, offers 20,000 square feet of event and meeting space for conventions, corporate meetings and retreats. Choose from six rooms ranging from 1,060 square feet to 7,213 square feet. The functional space also features an expandable floor plan for indoor-outdoor events, offering an open-air setting amidst a picturesque backdrop of Hilo Bay, as well as on-site catering. Able to accommodate business gatherings, weddings, reunions and social events, the Grand Naniloa is a member of Historic Hotels of America®, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating historic hotels across America. For more information, visit www.grandnaniloahilo.com.
Kauai Marriott Resort recently debuted four new oceanfront fire pits. Nestled between the resort’s pool and white sand beach, the fire pits offer guests of the Kauai resort a place to gather under the stars after an active day exploring the island. For more information, visit www.marriott.com.
Kualoa Private Nature Reserve on Oahu invites groups seeking a venue for company meetings and events to check out its new meeting room, Hale Kupuna. Patterned after a Maori marae – a meeting ground where the community comes together for conferences, celebrations, educational workshops and other important events – Hale Kupuna’s air-conditioned meeting space is equipped with a video monitor and seating for 60 people. For more information, visit www.kualoa.com.
Mauna Kea Resort LLC has signed a franchise agreement with Westin Hotels and Resorts to debut the international hospitality brand on the island of Hawaii with the $46 million renovation and conversion of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The hotel will open in February 2018 as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and remain part of Prince Resorts Hawaii. In September, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel will begin participating in Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest, allowing guests to redeem points for stays at the hotel. For more information, visit HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/updates.
The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel on Oahu is nearing completion of the last phase of a seven-year, multimillion-dollar renovation of its hotel rooms. The project is expected to be completed in December. For more information, visit www.kaimana.com.
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on the island of Hawaii recently revealed a renovation incorporating island elements – including lava, waves and coral – into the hotel’s interiors. Refreshed guest rooms, a new porte cochère and arrival experience, and a new coffee and cocktail concept debuted in August. The 15-acre beachfront hotel is located near early Hawaiian fishponds and the white sand beach of Anaehoomalu Bay. For more information, visit www.marriott.com/waikoloa.
ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
Marvel at Oahu’s humpback whales aboard Atlantis Cruises’ ship, Majestic. A dedicated whale-watching experience, cruises on Majestic feature naturalists sharing information and educational commentary on the behavior and biology of humpback whales with guests. With Hawaii the only U.S. state where humpback whales breed and calve their young in the wild, guests visiting during the state’s annual winter whale-watching season will experience the sight of humpback whales spouting and breaching in O‘ahu’s offshore waters. Cruises will be available daily beginning December 17 and continue through April 8, 2018. For more information, visit www.atlantisadventures.com.
Visitors to Lanai can now enjoy a range of ocean experiences aboard a new fleet of watercraft at Four Seasons Resort Lanai. The watercraft include the Lanai, a newly christened 50-foot sailing catamaran; the Kalulu, a 39-foot ridged inflatable boat previously used as a chase boat for the America's Cup; and Holo Kai, a 45-foot six-seat outrigger canoe. Guests can select snorkel sails – with stand-up paddleboards and scooters added for fun – sunset sails, private charters, whale-watch sails, scuba excursions and more on the waters surrounding Hawaii's smallest inhabited island. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/lanai.
On the third Saturday of each month, Hula Arts at Kīlauea transports visitors back in time through chant and hula kahiko (ancient hula) performed outdoors at its kahua hula (hula platform) in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii. From the kahua hula near Volcano Art Center Gallery, dancers and audience members are able to look into nearby Halemaumau Crater, home of the Hawaiian volcano diety Pele. The program runs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., though its schedule is subject to change. For more information, visit www.volcanoartcenter.org.
Holokai Adventures’ guided Heeia Fishpond Exploration tour on Oahu offers an educational, off-the-beaten path Hawaiian cultural activity. The adventure begins with lessons on the basics of kayaking and ocean safety before moving to the water, where participants learn about the historic cultural significance and modern-day restoration of early Hawaiian fishponds. Guides on the tour discuss the importance of fishponds like Heeia to the sustainable food-gathering efforts of early Hawaiians, and how visitors can apply similar thinking to current times. For more information, visit HolokaiAdventures.com.
The 500-square-foot Makai Theater is the newest addition to Maui Ocean Center's in-park attractions. Makai Theater seats up to 30 and features a high-definition projector with theater-quality surround sound. The theater screens a rotation of short films on conservation, spotlighting local and global ocean topics. Theater entry is free with aquarium admission. Seating is limited. For more information, visit www.mauioceancenter.com.
On September 1, Royal Star Hawaii Motorcoach Tours and Destination Services will begin offering a new online virtual-tour tool allowing users to step aboard and preview three of its most popular motor coaches. Royal Star Hawaii is an O‘ahu transportation company offering an on-time guarantee, 15-minute increment charge, and a 100 percent seat-belted and DriveCam-equipped fleet. Royal Star Hawaii is the recipient of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award. For more information, visit www.RoyalStarHawaii.com/virtualtour.
Kauai’s largest chocolate farm and vanilla plantation, Steelgrass Farm continues to grow, recently welcoming even more chocolate trees to its estate. The farmoffers certified Kauai-made products, including chocolate bars, cacao nibs, honey and hand-pollinated vanilla beans. By popular demand, the farm’s Branch to Bar estate tour is now being offered four-times weekly from 9 a.m. to noon. Guests on the tour enjoy samples of 10 different chocolates from around the world, tastings of fresh tropical fruit grown on-property, ripe chocolate fruit from the farm, and more. For more information, visit www.steelgrass.org.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park on Oahu is now offering its facilities for evening events, including sit-down dinners for 200 guests or cocktail parties for 600. For more information, email Capt. Chuck Merkel at email@example.com.
Oahu visitors can gain new insights into Waikiki’s fascinating history, culture and marine ecology on a brand-new guided sailing tour offered by Roberts Hawaii. The Waikiki Ocean Thriller combines an offshore guided tour of Waikiki with a fun thrill ride across the open waves, including ample opportunities to view some of Hawaii’s marine life. Highlights include unimpeded views of Waikiki’s renowned shoreline and landmark buildings, a firsthand look at sea creatures in their natural habitat, and an informative tour through Hawaiian history and culture. For more information, visit WaikikiOceanThriller.com.
Meeting attendees can now visit Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu at a discounted rate. Waimea Valley welcomes visitors and their families for tours of the cultural and historical site, as well as conferences, meetings and conventions at the resident price. The valley site is also open for leisure tour or group activity. For more information, visit www.waimeavalley.net.
Chef-restaurateur Kevin Hanney recently opened new private event spaces at his 12th Ave Grill, located in Oahu’s Kaimuki neighborhood, minutes from Waikiki. The two new presentation-ready private dining rooms can host up to 30 guests each or expand to accommodate 60 guests when combined. Larger gatherings enjoy the high ceilings, 9-foot windows and comfortable booth seating of the restaurant’s main dining room. The restaurant bar and lounge area offers a craft cocktail menu featuring drinks made with local ingredients and an ample whiskey menu. For more information, visit www.12thavegrill.com.
Baku, a new restaurant spotlighting modern Japanese robata-style cuisine, recently opened at the International Market Place on Oahu. The restaurant’s specialties are prepared in an open kitchen on signature robata and yakitori grills. Robata – a cooking technique meaning “around the fire” – utilizes a grill design originally conceptualized centuries ago that burns specially sourced charcoal at more than 800 degrees, imparting a smoky flavor to food cooked on it. Baku’s menu also features sushi and sashimi, complemented by a premium sake menu, an international wine program and handcrafted cocktails. For more information, visit www.baku-restaurant.com.
Mauna Kea Resort on the island of Hawaii recently unveiled its new honey project and on-property apiaries. Working closely with the Hawaii Apiary Program, a part of the State of Hawaii’s Plant Industry Division, the resort’s honey project offers a demonstration of Hawai‘i beekeeping designed to raise awareness, interest and support from the local community. Mauna Kea Resort Honey is already on menus at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel’s Coast Grille. Over the next few months, honey collected from hives at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel will be bottled and sold on property and utilized in menu items throughout Mauna Kea Resort. For more information, visit www.princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel/overview.
Sheraton Kauai Resort recently presented a check for $20,000 to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, a member of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nonprofit. The monies were raised through the resort’s Charity Bungalow program, which donates rental proceeds from Bungalow No. 5, one of eight private poolside bungalows overlooking the resort’s Ocean Pool and beachfront. Charity Bungalow No. 5 can be reserved in advance through the resort’s beach activities desk with a minimum $150 donation. For same-day rentals, a $150 donation is suggested but not required. Sheraton Kauai Resort also hosts a Table 53 charity program at its signature restaurant RumFire Poipu Beach, with all net proceeds from food and beverage sold at a designated oceanfront table donated to a different local charity each month. For more information, visit www.sheraton-kauai.com.
Tasting Kauai and the Aqua Kaua‘i Beach Resort are partnering to offer a multiday food tour of the island of Kauai, happening December 13-16. The tour will begin with a welcome dinner at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort’s Naupaka Terrace, where guests will meet Executive Chef Rodman Machado and enjoy a five-course dinner with wine pairings. Over the tour’s three days, guests will meet island chefs and farmers at private tastings, cooking demonstrations, workshops and farm tours. Guy Higa, executive chef of the Kauai Marriott Resort, will present a four-course Hawaiian food lunch and cooking demo. Jean Marie Josselin, owner and executive chef of Jo2 Restaurant, and pioneer chef of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, will talk about his work with farmers and prepare a three-course dinner including handcrafted cocktails. Ron Miller, owner and executive chef of Hukilau Lanai, will teach a Hawaiian charcuterie class and dine with guests at a charcuterie-infused lunch. The culinary tour will also include a visit to a chocolate farm, a chocolate-making class, a popsicle tasting and demo, a farmers market tour, a tropical fruit demo and cooking class, and a taro farm tour. For more information, visit www.tastingkauai.com.
Slated to open in November at SALT at Our Kakaako, W at Kakaako will feature a menu of American, Japanese and Italian fusion dishes crafted with locally grown ingredients. The restaurant aims to connect Hawaii farmers to consumers with its menu and sit-down dining experience. For more information, visit SaltAtKakaako.com.
Learn about sustainable and organic foods through interactions with a local organic farmer and chefs at The Westin Maui Resort and Spa. This event will offer information about growing and raising foods in a sustainable and organic environment – an important initiative of the resort’s management team and associates. Visitors can find vegetable and fruit farms, a coffee estate and more throughout West Maui, where the resort is located. For more information, visit www.westinmaui.com.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
The Clippers Hawaii Classic, presented by Kaiser Permanente, is a two-game preseason NBA showcase event featuring match-ups between the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors on October 1 and 3 at the Stan Sheriff Center on Oahu. In the days leading up to the games, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and AEG Facilities will also present Fan Fest, a community celebration with family activities, including games, competitions, sports, arts and crafts, as well as food and beverages, at the Hawaii Convention Center. To purchase tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/clippers-hawaii-classic-fan-fest-tickets-37259573387.
The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, set for October 20 through November 5, is one of the state’s premier epicurean events. With individual events happening over three weekends on multiple islands, the festival will feature a roster of more than 100 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Events on Maui, Oahu and the island of Hawaii will showcase wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions and dining opportunities, with dishes spotlighting the state’s local farmers, fishermen and ranchers. For more information, visit www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com.
Honolulu Biennial Foundation, which presents an international art biennial in the city every two years, is readying to launch its new initiative, Hawaii Contemporary (HITemp), on Oahu. Beginning in October, HITemp will present a series of themed, curated exhibitions and programs between the Honolulu Biennial Foundation’s biennial event years. HITemp’s first year is themed “Food Future Visions,” and will present an exhibition of photography and installations called “Flooded” by Allie Wist, Heami Lee, Christine Buckley and Rebecca Bartoshesky. The exhibition will open in October and run through December. “Flooded” is a collaborative work visualizing the possible future effects of climate change on our food system. For more information, visit HonoluluBiennial.org.
The Kauai Chocolate and Coffee Festival is a celebration of all things chocolate and coffee, featuring tastings, educational displays and workshops, as well as entertainment and exhibitor booths spotlighting a variety of chocolate and coffee products from around the state. Happening over two days in historic Hanapēpē town on the island of Kaua‘i, the festival also includes farm tours, informative classes, demonstrations, live entertainment, a chocolate and coffee pampering station, a silent auction, keiki (kids) activities and more. For more information, visit www.kauaichocolateandcoffeefestival.com.
Kauai’s annual Coconut Festival commemorates one of the world’s (and Hawaii’s) most beloved drupes (the coconut’s botanical classification), while also demonstrating the Polynesian dietary staple’s many uses, byproducts and history. Festival attendees can participate in games, crafting and contests, alongside continuous live entertainment, cooking demonstrations by Kauai chefs, and a large gathering of artisans featuring certified Kauai Made vendors, crafters and products. Kids get to enjoy the fest’s petting zoo and inflatable bounce houses. Organized by the Kapa‘a Business Association, the two-day Coconut Festival happens at Kapaa Beach Park, October 7 and 8. Admission is $5 and the fest is open to the public. For more information, call Mike Hough at (808) 822-5381, or visit www.kbakauai.org.
Waimea Valley will celebrate the start of the Hawaiian makahiki season with its sixth annual Makahiki Festival and Ke Alohi Hula Competition, happening November 18 on Oahu. The Hawaiian tradition of makahiki – an annual, seasonal festival of sports and other activities – is perpetuated through this event, which includes traditional Hawaiian games, live music, hula, local vendors, artist workshops, food and more The Ke Alohi Hula Competition features solo female and male dancers vying for a single hula kahiko (traditional hula) title. For more information, visit www.WaimeaValley.net.
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows on the island of Hawaii will welcome the first annual Hawaii Steel Guitar Festival to the resort, November 10-12. The fest will feature master workshops in Hawai‘i steel guitar, jam sessions and open-stage presentations. The lineup of master musicians set for the festival includes Alan Akaka, Iaukea Bright, Pomai Brown, Bobby Ingano, Sonny Lim, Greg Sardinha and more. Admission to the event is complimentary and open to the public. Special accommodation rates at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows for the festival are available. For more information, visit www.hawaiisteelguitarfestival.com.
Aqua-Aston Hospitality’s new corporate travel program Aqua-Aston Advantage offers corporate travelers new perks. Membership is free and program members receive preferred rates at nearly 50 hotels and resorts, as well as added benefits such as no-deposit reservations, flexible cancellations, waived amenity fees offering a savings of $13-$25 per day, complimentary room upgrades, unlimited local calls, and free Wi-Fi, parking and daily newspapers. For more information, visit www.aqua-aston.com.
The only all-suite hotel in downtown Honolulu on Oahu, Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel provides hotel services and accommodations within walking distance of the Hawaii State Capitol, government offices, Honolulu's financial district and the city’s emerging Kakaako neighborhood, home to a number of new dining options. When booking reservations for stays from now through December 31, business travelers will receive a discount on the property’s best available rates, starting at $198 a night. A current business card is required at check-in and a qualified individual must be occupying the unit. Amenities include free in-room high-speed Wi-Fi internet access, free usage of an in-room safe, complimentary in-room coffee and free daily newspaper. For more information, visit www.astonexecutivecentre.com.
Book the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa’s Breakfast at Tidepoolspackage and indulge in an exclusive upgraded continental breakfast for two in the Kauai resort’s newly renovated Tidepools lounge and dining area. A private concierge service, available daily from 8:30-10:30 a.m., allows guests to book all of their holiday activities while enjoying breakfast and spectacular views at Tidepools. Breakfast as part of the package will be offered from 6:30-10:30 a.m., from December 23 through January 3, 2018. The Breakfast at Tidepools package must be booked by December 31 and is not combinable with other offers. The package is available to guests booking Standard, Pool, Partial Ocean, Deluxe Ocean or Ocean Suite rooms. An extra person charge will apply for groups with more than two persons per guest room. For more information, visit https://kauai.grand.hyatt.com.
Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach is offering a limited-time 20 percent discount rate on its one- and two-bedroom suites in celebration of the hotel’s one-year anniversary. Following an extensive $115 million redevelopment in June 2016, the property reopened as O‘ahu’s first Hilton Garden Inn (HGI) and the largest HGI in the world at 623 guestrooms. With its modern living room-style lobby, amenities and no resort fee, Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach puts guests just two blocks from the beach, and near Waikīkī shopping and dining. The hotel’s anniversary rate is valid now through December 22 and may be booked using the promotional code: HAWAII. For more information, visit www.HGIWaikikiBeach.com.
In coordination with its new meeting and event spaces, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa on Maui has launched a new meeting-group offer available now through the end of 2018. The offer includes a one suite upgrade per 25 rooms on peak, one Regency Club upgrade per 10 rooms on peak, 5 Mbps of dedicated wireless internet bandwidth in meeting spaces, 20 percent off all spa services at the Marilyn Monroe Spa, 30 percent off green fees at the Kaanapali Golf Courses and 50 percent off self-parking. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa was voted 2017 Best Outdoor Event Space by Smart Meetings. For more information, visit www.maui.hyatt.com/meetings.
About Meet Hawaii
Meet Hawaii is a collaboration of Hawaii Tourism United States (HTUSA), managed by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and Hawaii Convention Center (HCC) to reinforce the brand of the Hawaiian Islands as a world-class destination for business meetings, conventions, and incentive programs. The marketing efforts of the Meet Hawaii team are overseen by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state of Hawaii’s tourism agency. HTA was established in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawaii tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with the state of Hawaii’s economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. For information about Meet Hawaii and the hosting of meetings, conventions and incentives, please visit MeetHawaii.com.