Hawaii 2011: A Look Ahead

The coming year promises new and improved offerings around the islands By: Marty Wentzel
Harley-Davidson parked by waterfall at Grand Wailea, Maui // © 2010 Grand Wailea
Harley-Davidson parked by waterfall at Grand Wailea, Maui // © 2010 Grand Wailea

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Three people underwater doing snuba // © 2010 Trilogy Ocean Sports
Three people underwater doing snuba // © 2010 Trilogy Ocean Sports

Renovated room, Aston Waikiki Circle // © 2010 Aston Hotels & Resorts
Renovated room, Aston Waikiki Circle // © 2010 Aston Hotels & Resorts

As 2011 approaches, Hawaii's visitor industry has been tweaking its products and services to lure visitors in the coming year. That's good news for travel agents, who have plenty of noteworthy new ventures and upgrades to sell to their clients. Following are a few highlights.

American Safari Cruises introduces Hawaii inter-island trips
Seven- and 10-night cruises on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer start in the fall of 2011. Clients are promised experiences rich in marine life exploration and island culture. After the Oct. 26 inaugural cruise, weekly departures run through mid-May 2012.

Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, Opens on Aug. 29, 2011 at Ko Olina
Disney's first Hawaii resort has 359 traditional hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas in two towers. Perks include an 18,000-square-foot spa, two restaurants, a kids' club, wedding lawn, conference center and themed pool area.

JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa Renovates All Rooms and Suites
The luxury hotel at Ko Olina is refining its 387 guest rooms and suites, with work to be completed in early 2011. Renovated accommodations will offer a fresh palette of blues to reflect the ocean, Hawaii-inspired artwork and amenities evoking a sophisticated, tropical feel.
Aston Waikiki Circle Upgrades Accommodations
The hotel is in the midst of a $2.6 million renovation of its 104 units, with work wrapping up by April 2011. Upgraded accommodations will feature neutral earth tones, contemporary light fixtures, remodeled bathrooms, oak hardwood furniture and 32-inch LCD high-definition televisions.

Kualoa Ranch Introduces Evening Program
Starting in January 2011, the 4,000-acre windward coast attraction offers guests a program of two afternoon tours followed by a backyard barbecue dinner and live entertainment.

Waikiki Aquarium Creates Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Display
Opening in late spring of 2011, the $300,000 exhibit provides a rare chance to see fishes and corals from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the largest single area dedicated to conservation in the U.S.   

Maui County
Grand Wailea offers ride of a lifetime
With Grand Wailea’s new 2011 incentive program, planners who book a group worth at least $500,000 in room revenue get a Harley-Davidson motorcycle valued at $20,000. Or, Grand Wailea can make a $20,000 donation to the charity of the planner’s choice. At the same time, leisure groups of at least 15 rooms can enter a drawing for a Harley.

Hotel Hana-Maui plans upgrades, new programs for guests
At the landmark east Maui resort, new management company Green Tea will be making physical improvements and broad operational changes. At the same time, it will introduce several new guest programs, to be announced by mid-2011.

Maui Ocean Center Unveils New Ocean Naturalist Program Tours
A trained naturalist takes groups of 25 people on educational journeys, bringing them up-close and personal to marine life. Seven new tour options have different themes, from sharks and sea turtles to reef fish, whales to conservation.

Trilogy Excursions to Offer Snuba, Sunrise Whale Watching, New Dive Store
New three-hour snuba sails will take place in pristine waters off Kaanapali Beach. Sunrise whale watches will run from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. The revamped dive program will be headquartered in a new store at Manele Harbor on Lanai.   

Lanai Hospitality Partners Creates Hike Lanai
This new series of hikes will lead clients to significant and scenic sites on Lanai, including the Munro Trail, Kaunolu, Shipwreck Beach, Koloiki Ridge Trail and the dryland forest of Kanepuu.
Hawaii's Big Island
Native Guide Hawaii Launches Eastside Tour
The new Hilo to Hamakua Adventure explores treasures of the eastern coast. Customizable trips can include Kaumana Cave, Rainbow Falls, Boiling Pots, Hilo Botanical Gardens, Akaka Falls, Laupahoehoe Point, Laupahoehoe Train Museum and Waipio Valley Overlook.

Big Island Eco Adventures Adds Second Zipline, More Packages
Watch for a second, advanced zipline course with a suspension bridge and nine ziplines, with runs averaging 2,000 feet long. The company also will increase its options for value-added packages.

Ocean Sports Launches Whale Watch
For the 2011 season, clients can book Breakfast with the Whales from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Passengers enjoy a continental breakfast, narration from trained naturalists and hydrophones to listen to whale songs.

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Creates Food-Oriented Package
The upcoming Chef Shuttle package is billed as a Big Island foodie weekend. The resortís sous chef takes guests to a farmers market for fresh ingredients which are turned into dinner back at the resort. The package also provides two tickets to the Royal Luau.

Hawaii Agventures Expands Visitor Activities
In 2011, clients can take part in tours to farms, culinary events with local celebrities, cooking classes and hands-on activities. With the new Farmers Market Luncheon Challenge, chefs and guests team up to gather local ingredients for a feast.

Hilton Waikoloa Village Spiffs Up Luxury Suites
Watch for the $1 million renovation of the Dolphin and Hemmeter suites in the Lagoon Tower. Each 2,000-square-foot split-level luxury suite features one bedroom, two full baths and a large private lanai with outdoor dining area and whirlpool.

Koloa Landing at Poipu Beach Opens Phase One in Early 2011
A Wyndham Grand Resort, the new south Kauai property ultimately will include 322 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom luxury accommodations, several pools, waterfalls, a swim-through grotto, hot tubs, a fitness center and day spa.  

Experience Personalized Hawaiian Yachting With Southern Star
Capt. Andyís Sailing is introducing customized trips aboard the 65-foot luxury sailing catamaran Southern Star. Each experience starts with a consultation to tailor the route, activities and cuisine. Clients can also book a new barbecue sail and sunset prime rib dinner cruise.

Kauai Beach Resort Enhances Food, Beverage, Entertainment Offerings
The east coast hotel has several plans for 2011, including a new cocktail program using freshly squeezed juices and local ingredients; quarterly food and wine events; Sunday brunch; and, come summer, dive-in movies at the pool.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Nears Completion of Renovation
The 602-room luxury resort wraps up its multi-million dollar renovation in April 2011. All guest rooms are being completely reworked, from the new white marble tiled entryway and rain-style showers to mahogany furniture and culture-inspired artwork.

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