HAWAII – Fall is always a great time to escape sweater weather season and soak up the sun with a vacation in the Hawaiian Islands. Even more enticing at the moment? You could be among the first to experience the Islands’ recently renovated hotels, new tours and fresh culinary offerings crafted by Hawaii’s top chefs – all debuting this fall.
For additional updates regarding each island, please reference the appropriate newsletter of each Island Chapter: the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, Kauai Visitors Bureau, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau and Oahu Visitors Bureau.
NEW HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows recently announced plans for a $100 million transformation with a vision of the resort becoming the choice for luxury accommodations on the island of Hawaii while continuing its Hawaiian hospitality and cultural traditions. Renovations are scheduled to begin October 1. Following an extensive redesign and revitalization, the hotel will reopen asMauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection in late 2019. www.maunalani.com
The Montage Kapalua Bay resort on Maui’s west side recently reopened 50 of its redesigned luxury, residential-style accommodations. Overseen by Dallas-based interior and architectural design firm Wilson Associates, the new décor, according to the resort, draws inspirations from the Hawaiian word ahupuaa – which refers to a mountain-to-sea Hawaiian land division system – and incorporates subtly layered references to Hawaii and Maui within its design palette. Each of the newly redesigned residences featureskoa wood and natural-color flooring balanced with accents of taupe, beige and whites. www.montagehotels.com/kapaluabay
The Queen Kapiolani Hotel is relaunching this summer following a $35 million renovation. The hotel neighbors Kapiolani Park, where extinct volcanic tuff cone Leahi (aka Diamond Head) meets Waikiki. The hotel offers 315 guest rooms, a large open-air lobby fronting Kapiolani Park, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an 8,000-square-foot third-floor lanai and pool, as well as the new culinary concept DECK, serving cuisine inspired by local fresh catch and produce, in addition to a menu of craft cocktails.www.queenkapiolani.com
Timbers Kauai at Hokuala, the Garden Island’s newest luxury resort is celebrating its grand opening. Guests and owners can enjoy its oceanfront residences with panoramic views, award-winning golf course, two-tiered infinity-edge oceanfront pool, the Hokuala spa, cultural and adventure activities, and more. www.hokualakauai.com
Travaasa Hana, the experiential resort on the coastline of East Maui, recently unveiled its newly renovated Plantation Guest House. Situated within the Hana area’s renowned tropical landscape, the house offers an intimate space for weddings and private events. www.travaasa.com/hana
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai welcomes guests to its Salt Harvesting Experience, guiding them through early Hawaiian methods of collecting salts. Guests on the tour hike to the salt flats adjacent to the resort with a member of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai’s Natural Resources team and harvest fresh salt. The experience continues with a cooking class led by resort Executive Chef Thomas Bellec who explains how the salt is dried and utilized. Guests can follow the experience with an optional Salts of the Ocean body treatment. www.fourseasons.com/hualalai
Bravo network Top Chef alum Sheldon Simeon is readying the launch of his second Maui restaurant Lineage, slated to open in early fall. Lineage will be Simeon’s first full-service restaurant and feature dishes inspired by his own family recipes from the Philippines as well as recipes that are part of traditional Hawaiian cuisine. Almost half of Lineage’s 80 seats will be situated on an outdoor patio. The interior will feature tropic-inspired green tones and light wood.
Merriman’s Honolulu opened on Oahu this summer in Ward Village. The restaurant is Merriman’s Hawaii founder and Hawaii Regional Cuisine pioneer chef Peter Merriman’s first Oahu location under his Merriman’s flag. His executive chef is Hawaii chef Jon Matusbara. The 6,000-square-foot space features indoor and outdoor seating for up to 200 diners, and a 14-seat bar.www.merrimanshawaii.com
Waialua Estate Chocolate is now making bean-to-bar chocolate at its factory in Dole Cannery on Oahu. Patrons can watch as the chocolateier crafts, wraps and packages its chocolate bars. The cocoa beans for its chocolate are grown on Waialua Estate’s 20-acre cacao orchard on the North Shore of Oahu. www.waialuaestate.com
ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters recently launched its newest Oahu tour, Pali Makani. The 30-minute tour departs from Honolulu, soaring over Honolulu Harbor, harborfront Aloha Tower, downtown Honolulu and Iolani Palace, the only official royal residence in the U.S. The flight also cruises above extinct volcanic tuff cone Puowaina (aka Punchbowl) and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific within it, Magic Island and Ala Moana Beach Park, the iconic vistas of Waikiki Beach and Leahi (aka Diamond Head) – one of Hawaii’s most recognized natural landmarks – and Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial are also seen from above on the tour. www.bluehawaiian.com
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is presenting a new exhibit honoring the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese plantation workers to Hawaii, known as the gannenmono. Drawing from the museum’s rich plantation-era collections,Gannenmono: A Legacy of Eight Generations in Hawaii employs first-hand accounts, historic illustrations and authentic cultural objects to unfold the harrowing tales of the first 150 Japanese workers to cross the vast Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii, and how their trials, perserverance and victories shaped the history of both island nations. The exhibit is open through February 24. www.bishopmuseum.org
Redline Rafting on Maui is offering daily snorkeling tours to the little-seen backwall of Molokini islet off of Maui’s south shore. Molokini’s backwall is one of Hawaii’s top-rated scuba dive spots. Guests on-board also get to snorkel within the crescent-shaped islet’s submerged volcanic crater, visit south Maui’s Keoneooio Bay (aka La Perouse Bay) and swim an area known for Hawaiian green sea turtle sightings. Tours depart daily at 7 a.m. and return at noon. www.redlinerafting.com
Explore Maui’s natural beauty and rich history on a new guided tour offered by Roberts Hawaii. Guests will visit historic and rural Haliimaile town in Upcountry Maui, get a firsthand look at Maui’s plantation heritage on an interactive tour of Maui Gold Pineapple Co.’s factory and fields; and see the rainforests and waterfalls of lush Iao Valley. Tours run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.www.robertshawaii.com
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Aloha Festivals, the largest Hawaiian cultural celebration in the U.S., happens throughout the month of September. Visitors and residents seeking out festival happenings will be treated to a spectacular celebration of the Hawaiian culture through four signature events: the Royal Court Investiture and Opening Ceremony on September 1, the 66th annual Waikiki Hoolaulea on September 22, and the 72nd annual Floral Parade on September 29. In partnership with Aloha Festivals, Pearlridge Center will also host its Pearlridge Keiki Hoolaulea on September 15 with the 2018 theme “No Ke Kai Kakou E – We Are of the Sea,” honoring Hawaii’s unique ocean heritage.www.alohafestivals.com
This year’s annual Ku Mai Ka Hula competition on Maui will feature award-winning halau hula (hula schools) from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland and Japan competing in solo and group performances that are open to the public to attend. Male and female halau invited to compete at Ku Mai Ka Hula perform in kahiko (traditional) and auana (modern) hula styles. Held at Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, the event also features an artisan market with made-in-Hawaii products from an array of crafters, as well as food and beverages for purchase. Solo competition happens September 7 at 6 p.m. and group competitions September 8 at 1 p.m., followed by the event’s awards ceremony. www.mauiarts.org
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival has set its 48th annual celebration of Kona coffee, art and culture for November 9-18. Throughout the 10-day festival, attendees are invited to celebrate one of the longest-enduring food festivals in Hawaii with Kona coffee farms offering firsthand glimpses of their harvest and award-winning crop. All of this alongside an art scene inspired by Kona coffee and exciting music, food and coffee tastings sharing the story of Kona’s rich coffee history. Signature festival events include the Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll and the Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant. www.konacoffeefest.com
Four Seasons Resort Lanai is offering a new and exclusive way for its guests to travel to the island of Lāna‘i. Guests of the resort can now bypass airport waits and enjoy private daily air charter service from Honolulu to Lanai on one of two Pilatus PC-12 Lanai Air two-pilot aircraft operated by Mokulele Airlines. Parties with a minimum of two passengers can book the entire aircraft for their own flight, with one-way fares starting at $500 per couple. Seating is available for up to eight passengers. www.lanaiair.com
Hawaii Tourism United States (HTUSA), managed by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, is contracted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) for marketing management services in the continental U.S. The HTA, the state of Hawaii’s tourism agency, was established in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawaii tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with the state of Hawaii’s economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. For more information about the Hawaiian Islands, visit gohawaii.com.