5 Trending Hawaii Destinations

5 Trending Hawaii Destinations

With updated hotels, cutting-edge restaurants and new activities, these Hawaii destinations are the hot places to visit By: Marty Wentzel
<p>An upcoming renovation of the Lodge at Koele is one of the many ways that Lanai is stepping into the tourism spotlight. // © 2014 Four Seasons...

An upcoming renovation of the Lodge at Koele is one of the many ways that Lanai is stepping into the tourism spotlight. // © 2014 Four Seasons Resorts Lanai

Feature image (above): KapohoKine Adventures' zipline tours are helping make Hilo a hot spot to visit. // © 2014 KapohoKine Adventures

Call it an identity change or maybe just a fresh take on a familiar place — either way, several Hawaii destinations have been working overtime to catch the attention of travelers. 

Offering new or revamped places to stay, eat and play, each of these destinations is making moves to keep competitive with other tourist-oriented locales around the islands. As they vie for a share of the visitor market, these trending Hawaii getaways are creating a buzz that’s hard to ignore.

Coconut Coast, Kauai
There was a time when Kauai’s eastern coast was merely something to drive through on the way to more appealing regions. This is no longer, as its accommodations are getting press, from the newly-renovated Kauai Shores to the rebuilding of the landmark Coco Palms Resort, opening in 2017. Eateries such as Oasis on the Beach and Wahooo Seafood Grill are earning raves, and the region’s coastal multi-use path is a popular work in progress.  

Kauai Coastal Path: www.kauai.com/kauai-coastal-path
Kauai Shores: www.kauaishoreshotel.com
Oasis on the Beach: www.oasiskauai.com
Wahooo Seafood Grill: www.wahooogrill.com

Hilo, Hawaii Island
On Hawaii Island’s east coast, Hilo has long been overshadowed by the island’s sunnier, warmer west side. But now, the town is coming into its own. Hilo Hawaiian Hotel has been upgraded, and the renovation of the Hilo Naniloa Hotel wraps up in early 2015. Diners are praising eateries like Cafe Pesto and Hilo Bay Cafe. A new zipline operated by KapohoKine Adventures is doing its part to bring visitors to Hilo. 

Cafe Pesto: www.cafepesto.com
Hilo Bay Cafe: www.hilobaycafe.com
Hilo Hawaiian Hotel: www.castleresorts.com
Hilo Naniloa Hotel: www.aquahospitality.com
KapohoKine Adventures: www.kapohokine.com

Lanai Island
Ever since billionaire Larry Ellison bought this 140-square-mile isle in 2012, it has been in the headlines frequently. The former Oracle CEO is upping the destination’s visitor appeal, from renovating its two Four Seasons resorts to restoring and reopening the Lanai Theater. With the promise of on-island film festivals, airport upgrades and a new eastside resort, Lanai looks poised to grow its tourism industry in an impressive fashion. 

Four Seasons Resorts Lanai: www.fourseasons.com
Lanai Visitors Bureau: www.gohawaii.com/lanai

Waikiki, Oahu
Oahu’s tourist mecca is working hard to satisfy both first-time and repeat visitors. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa  has completed a $21 million renovation. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa finishes a $100 million upgrade in 2015. Outrigger Reef on the Beach is planning a $100 million rebuild. Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, a new hotel/condominium, debuts in 2016. With shoppers and diners in mind, the new approximately $300 million International Market Place opens in 2016.  

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa: www.waikiki.hyatt.com
International Marketplace: www.shopinternationalmarketplace.com
Moana Surfrider: www.moana-surfrider.com
Outrigger Reef on the Beach: www.outriggerreef-onthebeach.com
Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach: www.theresidenceswaikiki.com

Wailea, Maui
This southwest Maui resort community has been spiffing up to maintain its status as a luxury getaway. Renovations are refining and improving Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Grand Wailea,  A Waldorf Astoria Resort; and Hotel Wailea Maui. A new hotel, Wailea Residence Inn by Marriott, opens in December 2015. Shops at Wailea is adding new stores, including a 16,000-square-foot gourmet market, deli and wine bar, helping to make this one of Hawaii’s top trending destinations.

Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui: www.fairmont.com/kea-lani-maui
Grand Wailea,  A Waldorf Astoria Resort: www.grandwailea.com
Hotel Wailea Maui: www.hotelwailea.com
Shops at Wailea: www.theshopsatwailea.com
Wailea Residence Inn by Marriott: www.rdodevelopment.com