In ancient times, Polynesian voyagers were drawn to Hawaii’s Big
Island by a bright star. Today, astronomers and other stargazers
are drawn to the island’s snowcapped summit of Mauna Kea for what
is considered by experts as the world’s best viewing site of the
The summit’s distance from city lights and an island-wide
outdoor lighting ordinance ensure a very dark sky. Add to this the
island’s dry, stable and cloud-free atmosphere, and Mauna Kea is an
astronomical observation site known by viewers around the
At Mauna Kea’s summit is the world’s largest astronomical
observatory, where 13 telescopes are currently operated by
astronomers from 11 countries. The Waikoloa Beach Marriott is
offering incentives to encourage groups of star searchers to visit
this 13,796-foot mountain and see what the experts see.
Located a two-hour drive from the Mauna Kea summit, the Waikoloa
Beach Marriott is one of only a handful of resort hotels so close
to a major observation site.
"There is such a strong cultural association between Waikoloa
and Mauna Kea," said Pam Child, associate sales director for the
Waikoloa Marriott. "People learn about the spirit, scientific and
archeological value of Mauna Kea that's linked to Waikoloa, while
still enjoying the scinece of astronomy."
In addition to its location, the resort appeals to meeting
planners and astronomers with 29,500-square-feet of indoor and
outdoor meeting space and high-speed Internet access ideal for
"What makes this all come into place so well here at Waikoloa is
that we have the second international runway in the state nearby,
pluis the close proximity of our resort to the summit of Mauna Kea.
It's a natural shoe-in for international astronomy conferences,"
The property can accommodate a range of events, from a meeting
for 14 to a conference for 700. Hotel staff coordinate every aspect
of the event room reservations, shipping and receiving of
materials, transportation, program formulation, technical and
audiovisual support, catering, menu and theme event planning,
recreational activities, spouse and guest programs, special VIP
arrangements, business center needs and group billing.
"The astronomy business is huge, especially on the island of
Hawaii," said Child. "There's no denying that the top half of 1
percent of astronomers are making worldwide discoveries often.
These discoveries are attracting the need for conferences in which
they can share their discoveries."
A special accommodations rate for such meetings is $165 nightly
for an oceanview room, based on double occupancy. A minimum of 25
rooms must be booked for a three-night stay. The resort will also
host an hour of cocktails and upgrade one VIP to a one-bedroom
suite. As a bonus, a meeting booked at the hotel earns the meeting
planner up to six Marriott Reward Points (with a maximum of 100,000
points) for every dollar spent through Dec. 24.
For guests not associated with larger groups, the property’s
concierge can arrange for individual stargazing adventures to Mauna
Kea through one of the island’s tour companies.
The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort is the recipient of the 2003
Meetings and Conventions Magazine Gold Key Award and was named a
winner in Travel + Leisure’s 2003 World’s Best Awards. Located on
historic Anaehoomalu Bay, it is surrounded by 17 acres of palm
trees, flower-filled gardens and dramatic lava fields with ancient
Hawaiian petroglyphs. Activities include 36 holes of championship
golf, tennis, the Hawaiian Rainforest Spa, tours of the petroglyph
fields, whale watching and a variety of watersports.
800-922-5533, ext. 7426