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During Hawaii’s holiday season, Santa opts for an outrigger canoe over a sleigh and beach balls replace snowballs. Clients heading to the islands in December have oceans full of cheer awaiting them as resorts around the islands sprinkle tropical touches over traditional end-of-year festivities.
Here’s a small sampling of the many special hotel events and packages available to Hawaii’s yuletide visitors.
Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel On Dec. 6, Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel on Hawaii Island is hosting Christmas at Kamakahonu Bay: Dining with the Chefs, a partnership with ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association. Held on the hotel’s luau grounds, the event includes a Hawaii-style holiday dinner, handcrafted ales, wines, Kona coffee, dancing to live music and a silent auction. Timed with the event, the hotel has a package including breakfast and parking for $189 per night.
The Fairmont Kea Lani, MauiA Dec. 5 tree-lighting ceremony in the lobby of the the Fairmont Kea Lani dazzles with live music, hula dancers and holiday treats and refreshments — not to mention 23,000 lights that decorate the 25-foot-high Christmas tree. On Dec. 24, Santa lands on the beach via outrigger canoe, followed by stories with Mrs. Claus over cookies, cocoa and milk. Dec. 26 brings a nighttime pool party with music, beach balls and rides down the hotel’s 140-foot water slide.
Kahala Hotel & ResortSanta sets aside time to visit with young guests during two tea parties, slated for Dec. 13 and 20 on Kahala Hotel & Resort’s veranda. The afternoon gathering features three-tiered platters of kid-friendly fare such as peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches and chocolate-chip scones. Grown-up offerings include smoked salmon cucumber layers. During the two-hour event, Santa promises to pose for photos with every attendee.
Outrigger Reef on the BeachOn two mornings during a Breakfast with Santa event at Outrigger Reef on the Beach, children can share their wish lists with the big man in red while posing for photos on his lap. The party comes with a hearty buffet with eggs, bacon, Portuguese sausage, rice, country fried potatoes, pastries and tropical fruit. Youngsters also can take part in activities such as balloon twisting and body art painting. It takes place on Dec. 16 and 17 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Kani Ka Pila Grille.
Outrigger Waikiki on the BeachBe sure to hit the beach on Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. That’s when Santa makes his traditional arrival into Waikiki by outrigger canoe as part of the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach’s holiday festivities. Hundreds of fans cheer as he pulls ashore, and a troupe of young hula dancers welcomes him with Hawaiian song and dance. From there, Santa spends time meeting his fans during a free photo session in the hotel’s lobby.
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & SpaWaikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on Hawaii Island has come up with two packages to make holiday travel more affordable. The golf package, available from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1, comes with unlimited daily golf. Nightly rates are $515 to $596. The romance package, available Dec. 22 through Jan. 2, includes one bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival and daily room service breakfast for two. Nightly rates are $769 to $839.
The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort VillasVisitors can lace up their skates and spin around a 1,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas. This northwest Maui accommodation’s secret is the rink’s surface, which is made with a synthetic polymer and finished with a natural glide so it feels like ice. Whether or not clients are resort guests, they can join in on this ocean-view activity, one of many unique ways that Hawaii hotels are saying “happy holidays.”