Outrigger Waikiki treats guests with a visit from Santa. // © 2012 Outrigger Hotels and Resorts
Hawaii hotels are already making special plans for the 2012 holiday season, and they’re putting their own island-style spin on the traditional end-of-year cheer.
The period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always a busy time in Hawaii. Since hotels sell out, clients should book early to make sure they don't miss out on the festivities, said Barry Wallace, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts’ executive vice president of hospitality services.
“Traditionally, by three to four months out, many hotels are booked solid for the holidays, with oceanfront properties filling up more quickly,” Wallace said. “Granted, there are exceptions to the rule, but if a traveler wants to make sure they get the hotel they most desire, early planning is a must.”
Here’s a sampling of the unique holiday happenings awaiting travelers in 2012:
Aston Hotels and Resorts
Maui’s Aston Kaanapali Shores dazzles visitors with a holiday lighting ceremony, and incoming guests get Christmas lights for decorating their room and lanai. At Aston Maui Hill, Santa arrives via helicopter and passes out goodies to guests.
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
Groups can avoid the headaches of planning holiday functions by booking the Hyatt’s Hoonanea Room, already prepared with everything from the Christmas tree to the place settings. It’s available for events from Mondays-Thursdays.
JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa
On New Year’s Eve, Oahu’s Ko Olina Resort presents a free 15-minute fireworks extravaganza for JW Marriott Ihilani guests, residents and visitors. Enlivened by music, the aerials are positioned along the four Ko Olina lagoons.
Kahala Hotel and Resort
On Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, Santa meets youngsters for tea at this Oahu luxury hotel. The kid-friendly menu includes goodies like peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches and participants get digital photos as memories.
Outrigger Hotels and Resorts
On Dec. 8, Santa Claus arrives at Outrigger Waikiki by outrigger canoe and young hula dancers perform for him on the beach. On Dec. 18-19, kids can eat breakfast with Santa at Outrigger Reef and take part in balloon art and face painting.
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
An elaborate gingerbread village wows guests in the Waikiki hotel’s lobby. Along with medieval churches, bell towers, train stations, a carousel and a skating rink, the amazing creation features iconic Hawaii structures like Iolani Palace.
St. Regis Princeville Resort
Kids decorate their own tropical gingerbread hale (houses) for free on Dec. 20 and 22. On Dec. 23, 29 and 30, the Kauai hotel’s pastry chef teaches guests how to make traditional, festive, baked delights with an island touch.
Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas
Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the ocean while gliding on an outdoor ice-skating rink, enhanced by cheerful music, evening lighting and holiday decor. Skate rentals are available and instructors lend a hand at the Maui resort.
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
A holiday-inspired concert series called Shaka Kalikimaka runs from Dec. 7-21. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the twice-weekly, hour-long shows feature talented local performers at the Kauai resort’s hula mound.