O'ahu Escapes

Traveling With Friends to the Heart of Hawai‘i

O‘ahu is the perfect destination to share with friends. This Pacific paradise combines all the enchantment of the Hawaiian Islands in one destination. Clients can experience the magic of a tropical island and the exotic allure of Hawaiian culture without a passport. They will enjoy countless sports and outdoor adventures amidst breathtaking scenery and the fantastic dining, nightlife, shopping, and cultural offerings of Waikīkī and Honolulu. With so much to see and do, it’s easy to tailor an itinerary for your client and their group.

Girlfriend Getaway
Get set for a palace tour, shopping, biking, hiking, and even afternoon tea.

What could be more idyllic than adventures that showcase O'ahu’s natural splendors? Bike Hawai‘i’s (www.bikehawaii.com) Bike, Hike, Sail, and Snorkel outing starts with a hike through a private 75-acre tropical rainforest complete with ancient rock terraces, tropical plants and flowers, streams, pools, and a hidden 200-foot high waterfall. After a shuttle ride to the Ko‘olau Mountains, your clients will cycle down a paved road through lush O‘ahu rainforest. The magical days ends with sailing and snorkeling in the aqua waters off Waikīkī aboard a 38-foot catamaran. Next, outdoor enthusiasts get to kayak the calm, reef protected waters of Kailua Bay on O‘ahu’s windward coast with TwoGood Kayaks Hawai‘i (www.twogoodkayaks.com). Their guided kayak expedition includes stops at Lanikai or Kailua Beaches for snorkeling and nearby offshore island bird sanctuaries. As they paddle through the crystalline turquoise waters, their guide will share stories and insights about Hawaiian history, marine life, and geological formations.

Back in town, history and culture enthusiasts can tour ‘Iolani Palace (www.iolanipalace.org), the official residence of Hawai'i’s last two monarchs, King Kalākaua, who built the Palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani. This beautifully restored edifice is the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. The visit provides a fascinating window on Hawaiian history and the lives and times of Hawai‘i’s beloved royal family.

After their palace visit, they can indulge in some retail therapy at Ala Moana Shopping Center (www.alamoanacenter.com) featuring luxury emporiums such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co, national brands including Coach and Banana Republic, and uniquely Hawaiian retailers. Avid shoppers can look for heirloom quality koa wood furniture and gift items at Martin & MacArthur, Hawaiian quilts at Hawaiian Quilt Collection, and surf fashions at Hawaiian Island Creations.

Clients can take a break with Afternoon Tea on the Veranda at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa (www.westin.com), a turn-of-the-last-century tradition that has returned to this meticulously refurbished historic hotel in the heart of Waikīkī. They can relax under the shade of a banyan tree as your client enjoy fine teas, assorted finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and ocean views.

Hawai'i’s cultural and historic treasures come to life at two spectacular residences. The Cooke family started Mānoa Heritage Center (www.manoaheritagecenter.org) on their property to promote thoughtful stewardship of Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural heritage. The grounds feature Kūka‘ō‘ō Heiau (temple platform), a Native Hawaiian garden, and their historic home Kūali‘i. The guided tour includes the heiau and gardens while the historic home is still a private residence. Clients will learn how ancient Hawaiian lived, farmed, and worshipped and view endemic and indigenous plants and flowers as well as those introduced from Polynesia. Shangri La (www.shangrilahawaii.org) is the former home of heiress Doris Duke who built this oasis after her honeymoon travels around the world. The grand dwelling, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head, is a mesmerizing combination of architectural and artistic elements from the Islamic world set within a tropical Hawaiian landscape of sweeping ocean vistas and magnificent gardens.

There is no shortage of splendid dining in O‘ahu. For a nutritious, delicious alternative, reserve your clients a table at Tsukuneya Robata Grill, (www.tsukuneyarobatagrill.com), showcasing the cuisine of Nagoya, Japan. They can try the Paitan Bijin-ni, fresh chicken and mixed vegetables in a white chicken soup that’s high in collagen and said to be responsible for the luminous skin of the women of Nagoya.

Taking Off with the Guys
O‘ahu is a great spot for a reunion with their college buddies, a bachelor party, a father and son retreat, or a vacation with their best friends.

O‘ahu offers clients an opportunity to enjoy new activities as they bond with good friends. If surfing is not their regular sport, O‘ahu is the ideal place to hang ten for the first time and Hans Hedemann Surf School (www.hhsurf.com) is a top notch source for lessons and equipment. Former professional surfer Hedemann started his school in the 1990s and has locations in Waikīkī and on the North Shore. Book private, semi private, or group lessons for your client and they can learn with highly trained instructors, professional surfers, or Hans himself.

Fish are hitting year round off O‘ahu and Tradewind Charters Inc. (www.tradewindcharters.com) offers private sport fishing charters aboard well equipped deep sea or bottom fishing vessels. Marlin, tuna, mahimahai, and wahoo are trolled for on the surface while deep sea fishing. On a reef fishing expedition, clients will have the opportunity to catch variety of fish while anchored or tied up at a mooring.

If golf is your client’s game, O‘ahu will not disappoint. Along with awe-inspiring vistas of turquoise seas, verdant mountains, and soaring cliffs, O'ahu has wonderful weather and challenging courses for every level of player. Ko‘olau Golf Club (www.koolaugolfclub.com) in Kāne‘ohe is a public 18-hole course carved from a tropical forest and nestled below the famous Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout. Up on the North Shore, book tee times for your client at two of Hawai‘i’s top courses at The Turtle Bay Resort (www.turtlebayresort.com). The 18-hole Palmer Course, designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, forms a horseshoe around the Punaho‘olapa Marsh, an unspoiled 100-acre wetlands and bird sanctuary. The George Fazio Course features generous fairways, deep bunkers, immaculately sculpted greens, and a restored back nine.

Clients can step back in time on the Home of the Brave Victory Tour (www.pearlharborhq.com) as they visit important sites across the island and learn about events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and thereafter. The first stop is Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the USS Arizona Memorial, the final resting place for the 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The tour continues to Wheeler Army Field, Schofield Army Barracks, Fort Shafter, Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery, where more than 30,000 American sailors, soldiers, and airmen were laid to rest, and the Home of the Brave Museum.

Dining options abound in O‘ahu. Head to Kona Brewing Company (www.konabrewingco.com) on the docks of Koko Marina in Hawai‘i Kai in East O‘ahu for hand crafted brews along with beer-infused entrees, hand-tossed gourmet pizzas, and innovative pupus (Hawaiian appetizers). For a uniquely special evening, book the group a table at award winning Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel & Resort (www.kahalaresort.com) where Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi and his team prepare contemporary islands cuisine that melds the flavors of Hawai‘i, Asia, and Europe.


A Mixed Gathering of Friends
O'ahu provides the ideal backdrop for birthday festivities, a reunion of friends who live far and wide, or a destination wedding.

Clients can experience the marvels of marine life up close with Wild Side Specialty Tours (www.sailhawaii.com) who offer intimate encounters on board environmentally friendly vessels leaving out of Wai‘anae Harbor on O’ahu’s rural west coast. While Wild Side offers year-round whale watching, they’ll see the greatest numbers of pilot whales and false killer whales in October and November, and humpback whales December through April. They may also be able to swim with dolphins and snorkel over the reef catching glimpses of green sea turtles and tropical fish.

Clients can get set for some sky high excitement on an aerial tour of O'ahu with Makani Kai Helicopters (www.makanikai.com). Clients can choose from the Pali Makani Tour (30 minutes), the Hidden O‘ahu Tour (45 minutes) or the most popular Ali‘i Sacred Falls Tour (60 minutes) and they’ll see much of this breathtaking island. The Sky & Sea Combo features a helicopter tour plus a submarine voyage of Waikīkī or a sunset cruise and dinner aboard the sleek, twin-hulled Navatek.

Back on land, O‘ahu Ghost Tours (www.oahughosttours.com) takes brave clients to some of the most sacred spots on the island. The Honolulu City Haunts Walking Tour reveals haunted hotspots downtown including ‘Iolani Palace, the State Capital Building, and areas in Chinatown and Downtown Honolulu. They’ll explore haunted sites across the island on The Orbs of O’ahu Driving Tour and discover sacred Native Hawaiian areas on the Sacred Spirit outing.

Clients who like to mingle with the locals can spend a Saturday morning at the weekly Farmers' Market at Kapi´olani Community College (http://kapiolani.hawaii.edu/object/farmersmarket.html) and gain a true appreciation of the quality and diversity of Hawai'i grown and produced foods. Fruits, vegetables, flowers, beef, aqua cultured seafood, fresh baked goods, hand made pastas, tropical jams and jellies, and specialty seasons are for sale. They can even grab breakfast as a different restaurant prepares the morning meal weekly.

O'ahu world class museums are well worth a visit. The Hawai‘i State Art Museum (www.hawaii.gov/sfca) presents the largest and finest collection of works by Hawai‘i artists in a restored historic building in downtown Honolulu. Current exhibit Ho‘oulu: The Inspiration of Hula will be on display until July 17, 2010. The eclectic collections of the Honolulu Academy of Arts (www.honoluluacademy.org) include Chinese and Japanese arts, the James A. Michener Collection of Japanese prints, Italian Renaissance art, Hawaiian kappa cloth, and Hawaiian art. The upcoming exhibit, From Whistler to Warhol: Modernism on Paper, will be on display February 17-May 2, 2010.

The hotels and resorts of O'ahu present and preserve Hawaiian culture through special events and celebrations. Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resorts & Spa’s (www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com) new Aloha Friday Celebration: The Rockin' Hawaiian Rainbow Revue recalls the golden era of Hawaiian music and dance popular in the 1940s and 1950s known as hapa haole, loosely defined as music that is half Hawaiian (hapa) and half non-Hawaiian (haole). The Royal Hawaiian (www.royal-hawaiian.com) recently launched ‘Aha ‘Aina, A Royal Celebration, a modern interpretation of a traditional Hawaiian feast that features Hawaiian activities, storytelling, a delicious feast, and a dramatic presentation with hula and song.

Travel Pink, Travel O'ahu
Clients can discover O'ahu and support an important cause. With Travel Pink, Travel O'ahu, they’ll experience the perfect island getaway while supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Visit www.visit-oahu.com/travelpink for special hotel packages. Enjoy exclusive excursions and activities created just for Travel Pink, Travel O'ahu travelers. www.visit-oahu.com/travelpink

O'ahu Events
While on the island, clients like to know what’s going on, here’s a list of upcoming events for 2009

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
November 12-December 20, 2009; O‘ahu/Maui

18th Annual World Invitational Hula Festival
November 12-14, 2009

3rd International Waikīkī Hula Conference
November 13-15, 2009

Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational In Memory of Eddie Aikau
December 1, 2009-February 28, 2010

Honolulu City Lights
December 5, 2009 (Opening night of month long celebration)

Honolulu Marathon
December 13, 2009

Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
December 24, 2009

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