In 2016, Kona will feature its first zipline course. // © 2015 HI Ziplines Kona
Feature image (above): On Maui, clients can book a new snorkel and kayak ecotour from Kaanapali Surf Club. // © 2015 Kaanapali Surf Club
Over the years, Hawaii has steadily revamped and refreshed its visitor offerings to stay current, and 2016 will be no exception, according to Jay Talwar, senior vice president of marketing for Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
“Travelers looking to visit an exotic yet familiar U.S. destination will continue to find Hawaii an attractive option that is competitively priced with other major markets,” Talwar said. “Not to mention, we have some exciting new developments happening.”
Demand for Hawaii in 2016 is strong, with more advance bookings and group business than in 2015, according to Talwar.
“Hawaii’s visitor satisfaction rating remains at an incredible 98 percent,” he said.
“It’s at the top of many people’s dream vacation list.”
Oahu and Maui Hotel Happenings
Oahu is making a play for luxury travelers in 2016. Come spring, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach will greet its first guests with posh rooms and VIP amenities. Midyear will bring the unveiling of Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina following an overhaul of the former JW Marriott Ihilani.
Other Oahu openings include Hawaii’s first Hampton Inn and Suites, under construction in west Oahu, and Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach, an update and rebranding of Ohana Waikiki West.
Many Maui hotels are emerging from makeovers in 2016. In January, Aston Kaanapali Shores will unveil a $1 million pool complete with LED lighting. Fairmont Kea Lani is relaunching its upgraded Luana lobby lounge. Next fall, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa will reveal expanded meeting space, including a reworked Grand Ballroom.
Also on Maui in 2016, Royal Lahaina Resort will roll out the results of a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of its original cottages, while Travaasa Hana will invite guests to stay in fully remodeled suites and bungalows. Mama’s Fish House Inn will renovate its Opakapaka cottage, an upscale one-bedroom beachfront suite. Four Seasons Resort Lanai, previously Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, will welcome clients back in early 2016 on the heels of a major transformation.
Hotel News on Hawaii Island and Kauai
Hawaii Island hotel news includes the metamorphosis of Hilo Naniloa Hotel, which will reopen in the spring as Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, a DoubleTree by Hilton. Hilton Waikoloa Village is ringing in 2016 with Hale Ike at Palace Tower, which will feature 369 upgraded rooms and 26 suites that provide what the company calls “an elevated experience.”
The new year on Hawaii Island also promises the launch of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s reimagined Copper Bar, a sophisticated open-air restaurant. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay is turning its presidential suite into a club lounge in the second quarter of 2016.
In Kauai hotel news, the renovated Aston Aloha Beach Hotel is set to reopen in March as Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay. Koloa Landing Resort & Spa’s $100 million expansion aims to triple the size of the property.
Among the upcoming additions to Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is a free, weekly tour of the hotel’s hydroponic garden, the source of many restaurant ingredients. Meanwhile, Kauai Shores, an Aqua Hotel is making headlines with the island’s first Lava Lava Beach Club, a toes-in-the-sand eatery.
New Shopping, Attractions, Activities and Entertainment
Clients will find plenty of new renditions of Hawaii pastimes in 2016. Shoppers are eagerly awaiting the debuts of Waikiki’s reinvented International Market Place, the Japan Village Walk at Ala Moana Center and Ka Makana Alii, a west Oahu retail center.
Among attractions, Hana Ranch is creating a new visitor experience with a food truck, farm tours and other educational components, while Maui’s historic Haiku Mill is inaugurating a botanical tour.
In activity news on Maui, watch for Kaanapali Surf Club’s new snorkel and kayak ecotour, as well as Na Lio Maui, a theatrical performance with horses, hula, storytelling and music. Kauai’s Holo Holo Charters has announced a new sunset sail, and Outfitters Kauai just started its six-line Kahuna Zipline Tour at Kipu Ranch.
On Hawaii Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary throughout 2016 with monthly ranger-guided centennial hikes and free After Dark in the Park programs. Fly HI Ziplines Kona is set to open Kona’s only zipline course, and Ocean Sports is introducing a Sail with the Whales cruise.
On the entertainment scene, Blue Note Hawaii showroom is projecting an early 2016 kickoff at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Music lovers can also check out the free Maui Steel Guitar Festival at Kaanapali Beach Hotel from April 15-17.
For 2016, Pleasant Holidays has added Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America cruises, with seven-night itineraries sailing roundtrip from Honolulu.
“One of the key positive trends for 2016 is the increased air service by several airlines, making it more convenient to visit Hawaii,” said Jack Richards, president of Pleasant Holidays. “In particular, Virgin America has entered the market with flights to both Oahu and Maui from San Francisco that are expected to further increase Hawaii vacation sales.”