Shopper’s Paradise

Big Island retailers pull out all the stops

By: Marty Wentzel

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The new Shops at Mauna Lani offer
78,000 square feet of retail space.
A retail explosion is rocking the resorts of the Big Island. From the continued improvements at the established Kings’ Shops to the recent debuts of the Queens’ MarketPlace and Shops at Mauna Lani, commercial projects are creating quite a buzz for an area already rich in activities, accommodations and culture.

The burgeoning shopping and dining scene on the Kohala Coast translates into a handy tool for travel agents, said Big Island Visitors Bureau sales manager Deanna Isbister.

“Big Island visitors are staying longer as they discover the natural diversity of our island,” said Isbister. “The retail expansion is supporting this trend, allowing us to offer our guests a more complete visitor experience.”

BIVB is promoting the new resort retail offerings through travel partner education efforts like newsletters and familiarization trips, she said.

Queens’ MarketPlace named in honor of the many female monarchs of Hawaii opened this fall at the entrance to Waikoloa Beach Resort. The 135,000-square-foot gathering place will eventually boast over 70 shops and eateries, along with a 20,000-square-foot gourmet food market. Adding to its festive atmosphere are the Waikoloa Cultural Gardens, which display native plant species, and Waikoloa Performance Garden, a showcase for live music, films and group events.

Waikoloa Land Company president Thos Rohr said Queens’ MarketPlace strives to capture different aspects of Hawaii’s rich history, with a design inspired by various iconic buildings and structures throughout the islands. Rohr combined his vision with the talents of Honolulu architect Ted Garduque, resulting in a unified look that reflects the melting pot of Hawaii’s culture.

“Shoppers can experience a bit of what Hawaii felt like during different historical periods,” said Garduque. “We wanted to make Queens’ MarketPlace much more than a great place to shop and dine.”

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Entrance to the Kings’ Shops
Queens’ MarketPlace serves as a companion piece to the 75,000-square-foot Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort, a popular attraction since it opened in 1991. In the past year, the Kings’ Shops has added Tiffany and Coach locations, while the Walking Company and Tommy Bahama are under construction. A new program of live jazz serenades Kings’ Shops visitors on Saturdays from 4-6 p.m.

BIVB’s Isbister said the retail and dining options at the two Waikoloa projects complement each other nicely.

“With its upscale offerings, the Kings’ Shops has always been the primary retail and restaurant area for guests visiting the resorts of the Kohala Coast,” she said. “The new Queens’ Marketplace expands their options to include more affordable shopping and dining choices.”

Meanwhile, the new 78,000-square-foot Shops at Mauna Lani is fast evolving into a chic shopping, dining and arts mecca in its own right since its 2006 beginnings. Amid its Hawaiian architectural design, open-air walkways and tropical landscaping, clients can find equal doses of brand-name designer fashions, island-style aloha wear, one-of-a-kind gifts, local art and gourmet dining, with 80 percent of its shops found nowhere else on the island.

The Shops at Mauna Lani recently launched a compelling hula performance called “Kamehameha: Shark Eyes and Restless Nights.” A production by Traditions Hawaii, it tells the story of Kamehameha I, whose birth and destiny as Hawaii’s unifying chief was foretold in omens and prophecies.

The new show alternates with another colorful Shops at Mauna Lani production called “Hawaiian Goddesses.” Free to guests, both offerings call on contemporary music, sound, lighting, costuming, video, dramatic staging and other effects to create a multimedia entertainment event. “Kamehameha” is presented Mon. and Thurs. at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. while “Hawaiian Goddesses” runs Wed. and Fri. at the same times.


The Kings’ Shops
Waikoloa Beach Resort

Among its many tenants are Big Island Steak House, Coach, Crazy Shirts, DFS Galleria, Haimoff and Haimoff, Macy’s, Merriman’s Market Cafe, Ukulele House, Louis Vuitton and Whaler’s General Store.

Queens’ MarketPlace
Waikoloa Beach Resort

Tenants include Giggles, Local Motion, Pacific Nature, Persimmon, Starbucks and Sunglass Hut. Opening soon: Arby’s, Blue Ginger, Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Dairy Queen, Genesis Galleries, King and Queen Salon/Day Spa, Paradise Pizza, Reyn’s and Subway, among others.

The Shops at Mauna Lani
Mauna Lani Resort

Retail and restaurant options include Cache, Dara’s Authentic Thai Cuisine, Foodland, Island Intimates, Kenichi Pacific, Oasis Lifestyle and Tommy Bahama.

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