The Volcano House Hotel, now operated by Aqua Hotels, will be launching a property-wide renovation in late 2012. // © 2012 NPS
Like the steady percolating of lava from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Island has been erupting with news as it moves forward toward 2013.
Following are a few of the most noteworthy items worth mentioning to potential visitors.
Arrivals, Spending on Rise
For the first eight months of 2012, total arrivals to Hawaii Island rose 8.5 percent according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Of this, 46.9 percent stayed exclusively on the island. Total visitor spending grew 16.6 percent.
Bee Biz Blooms
Big Island Bees, producer of honey from the nectar of rare island blossoms like lehua and macadamia, has opened a museum and tasting room. Visitors can see tools of the trade, take apart an empty hive and observe bees in action.
Keauhou Beach Becomes Cultural Site
Keauhou Beach Hotel closed on Oct. 31, and landowner Kamehameha Schools announced plans to reestablish the site as a center for Hawaiian culture and learning. No launch date has been set.
Lots of Lava
Kilauea Volcano has been making headlines because of increased activity inside of Halemaumau Crater. Booming and cracking sounds are emanating from the lava lake, which reached an all-time high of 157 feet below the crater floor.
Quarter Honors Hawaii Volcanoes
The US. Mint recently released the new Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarter featuring, on its tails side, an engraved image of Kilauea’s east rift zone. It’s part of the America the Beautiful quarters program.
Sheraton Changes Name
On Sept. 1, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa changed its name to Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, marking the completion of a major $20 million rejuvenation of the oceanfront hotel.
Volcano House Renewed
The historic Volcano House Hotel will be launching a revitalization of its guestrooms and facilities in late 2012, with a grand reopening planned for 2013. Aqua Hotels and Resorts is managing the property.
Whales Get a Jump
The season’s first confirmed sighting of a humpback in waters off Hawaii Island occurred on Aug. 30, one of the earliest ever documented. Visitors can book a whale-watching tour with companies like Blue Sea Cruises.