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Whether you’re a first-time visitor or have traveled to the Hawaiian Islands before, there are so many reasons to take a trip to Hawaii in 2015,” said Karen Hughes, vice president of Meet Hawaii and Travel Industry Partnerships for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). “With all of the openings and enhancements on the islands, plus the iconic not-to-miss experiences, demand looks strong.”
Hughes noted that Hawaii will see 500,000 new air seats in 2015, with increased nonstop flights from West Coast gateways to the neighbor islands. She added that the HVCB is launching a new travel agent website and training program highlighting experiences unique to the islands.
“We want to ensure that when consumers come to plan their vacation, agents are ready,” she said.
MilestonesMarking its 50th anniversary on July 24, 2015, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is paying tribute to its legendary pedigree with a fun and fitting, “What was, is” theme.
“We look forward to a fabulous year celebrating the hotel’s rich heritage with our longtime visitors, as well as newcomers,” said Phyllis Branco, hotel manager of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
A full year of festivities will roll out via the property’s “50 Acts of Aloha” giving campaign, special promotions and unique dining experiences. Agents can promote additional value and seasonal packages by offering clients enhancement options for golf, tennis, ocean activities and cuisine.
Openings and LaunchingsAs part of Polynesian Cultural Center’s ongoing $100 million-plus renovation, Hukilau Marketplace debuts in January with admission-free retail, dining and entertainment geared toward those on the go. Among its offerings is a Tahitian-style roulotte: outdoor dining served by food trucks and stands.
Aside from patrons popping in while touring Oahu’s North Shore, the new venue should also see a boost from the adjacent 144-room Courtyard by Marriott in Laie that’s slated to open in May.
Kualoa Ranch is augmenting its hefty recreation roster with a seven-station zipline. Digging deep into the lush Kaaawa Valley, the 2½-hour adventure amps the rush via dual tracking and three suspension bridges. And on Maui, Maverick Helicopters will take flight this spring with new tours in seven-passenger Eco-Star Helicopters.
UpgradesAccommodations are keeping it fresh by refining, redefining and enhancing offerings. On Oahu, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa will cap a $100 million upgrade to its 1,230 guestrooms this spring, and Ohana Waikiki West will close in March for a full renovation.
Wailea is seeing a flurry of action, with Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort’s $30 million renovation considered the grandest. The 780-room property will reveal refreshed guestrooms, meeting areas and pools this spring. Also winding down on renovations are The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui and Hotel Wailea Maui.
While Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay continues its transformation, The Lodge at Koele will be unavailable for reservations throughout 2015.
“Our newly redesigned West Wing rooms launched last fall, and we expect to begin the East Wing renovation in early January,” said Tom Roelens, general manager for Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. “To expedite work, The Lodge at Koele will be dedicated to the transformation team in 2015.”
RebrandingTaking it a step further, JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa is slated to shutter in spring for an extensive multiphase overhaul and rebranding as Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. The hotel is expected to reopen in December with 195 hotel rooms and 206 resort condominium residences. Work on a new tower will break ground in January 2016.
With a major rebranding of its diverse inventory, Outrigger has launched Outrigger Resorts as its dedicated beachfront resort brand. Focusing on culturally authentic guest experiences, each property will feature signature amenities such as a beachfront bar, a spa and the Voyager 47 club lounge. The company’s 15 Hawaii resort condominium properties will now be marketed under the new Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger brand.
WholesalersPleasant Holidays is resurrecting its Hawaii Guided Vacations, with departures beginning May 12.
“Hawaii Guided Vacations offers exposure to multiple Hawaiian islands to maximize time in Hawaii and help broaden the customer base outside California and the West Coast,” said Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays. “Ideal for multigenerational travel, they also offer solo travelers the opportunity to join small-group travel for sharing experiences with others.”
The Fairmont Kea Lani, Mauiwww.fairmont.com
Four Seasons Resorts Lanai at Manele Baywww.fourseasons.com
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resortwww.grandwailea.com
Hotel Wailea Mauiwww.hotelwailea.com
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spawww.hyatt.com
JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spawww.marriott.com
Mauna Kea Beach Hotelwww.princeresortshawaii.com
Ohana Waikiki Westwww.outrigger.com
Polynesian Cultural Centerwww.polynesia.com