The last week of December is traditionally a sellout for Hawaii
tourism, and hoteliers go out of their way to thank their
end-of-the-year guests by presenting island-style holiday programs.
To get you and your clients into the spirit, here are a few
distinctively Hawaiian yuletide festivities lined up at hotels and
resorts around the state.
King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel introduces guests to the
whimsical Hawaiian version of the song, “The Twelve Days of
Christmas.” From Dec. 21-Jan. 1, daily events are inspired by one
of the days in the local song. For instance, on the 10th day (“10
cans of beer”), the hotel features tastes from Kona’s own
Hilton Waikoloa Village rekindles the island’s 19th-century
sugar plantation lifestyle by constructing a 500-square-foot
electric train display in the lobby. The elaborate creation depicts
vignettes of activity from Big Island days gone by, when the
arrival of a train at a small town was a big deal.
Waimea Plantation Cottages employees build floats for the
Christmas light parade in nearby Waimea town. Young guests staying
at the property are invited to ride in the parade alongside the
staff. On Christmas Eve, employees serenade guests in each cottage,
and a New Year’s Eve party rounds out 2003.
Guests of Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club are regaled with
holiday entertainment throughout the week of Dec. 25. Local choirs
perform carols and island musicians share Hawaiian tunes for guests
in the lobby. Gingerbread houses and other holiday food displays
enliven various parts of the resort, and Santa shows up during the
days leading up to Christmas.
At Princeville Hotel, the holidays begin Dec. 6 with a
tree-lighting event, with some 150,000 bulbs brightening the North
Kauai property. Guests are treated to songs and dances by island
children, and the resort offers free Hawaiian holiday card-making
and ornament-making classes.
Wailea Marriott celebrates the season with the arrival of Santa
in an outrigger canoe. Played by Wailea Marriott employee Kenneth
“Aku” Perreira for the past 25 years, Santa hits the beach on the
morning of Dec. 22, wearing little more than a lei and a lava-lava
Sheraton Maui decks the halls with such local decor as gourds,
dried ferns and protea blossoms. December menus emphasize homegrown
ingredients like Hawaiian salt-crusted turkey, and salmon with
sweet Maui onions. Employees serenade guests with carols,
restaurant diners enjoy live hula presentations and a ukulele
concert rings in the holidays.
On Dec. 1, Ritz-Carlton Kapalua flips the switch on more than
250,000 lights on palm and pine trees around the property. Live
entertainment, cookies and cider follow the lighting ceremony. The
luxury hotel puts on a teddy bear tea Dec. 27, with stories, songs,
games, hot chocolate and cookies for the kids, and there’s a luau
on Christmas Eve.
Clients checking in to Aston Kaanapali Shores receive holiday
lights for decorating their guestroom lanai. Everyone turns on
their lights at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, then guests and staff
gather in the courtyard for refreshments and caroling. Santa puts
in an appearance on the 25th.
From Dec. 13-24, Outrigger Reef is celebrating the Twelve Days
of Christmas with free-night giveaways. On the first day, a
randomly selected guest wins one free night at the Waikiki hotel;
on the second day, another guest wins two free nights; and so on.
Winners can use their free nights during their stay or on a return
visit. Festivities throughout the holidays include an employee bake
sale and storytelling by the general manager.
Santa surfs into Waikiki’s Hilton Hawaiian Village in an
outrigger canoe, after which there’s a clown show and live
island-style entertainment. A Christmas Eve party for families
comes with crafts, refreshments and stories by Mrs. Claus. Caroling
fills the main lobby and kids can have breakfast with Santa.