Hawaii Tourism looking ahead to 2016



Named after the paakai (salt) ponds that once dotted the low-lying wetlands of what is now Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood, SALT at Our Kakaako is designed to become the city’s epicenter for local culture, food, shopping, and innovative events. Repurposing existing area structures, landowner Kamehameha Schools is planning a lively, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. Set for opening in late 2015, SALT at Our Kakaako is expected to be Hawaii’s first urban mixed-use, mixed-income community. OurKakaako.com

Tropical Villa Vacations has added an exclusive villa at Andaz Residences Maui at Wailea to its collection of luxury homes, estates, and villa vacation rentals. SeaGlass is a stunning three-bedroom, four-bath residence boasting 3,234 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. One of only 12 privately owned Andaz Residences at the beachfront Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, the villa offers a hip, casual atmosphere with a sleek, contemporary design, and a sprawling outdoor lanai (patio) with a garden and private hot tub. TropicalVillaVacations.com


Lee Anne Wong, the chef/co-owner of Honolulu’s acclaimed Koko Head Café and one of the final four contestants on Bravo’s first season of Top Chef, has opened her second Oahu restaurant, Hale Ohuna, in the city’s Kaimuki district. Open for dinner service only, the two-level venue (whose name means “secret house” in Hawaiian) is a modern Hawaiian noodle bar that is also home to Honolulu’s first sake and whisky lounge. Hale Ohuna’s emphasis is made-from-scratch noodle dishes spotlighting local ingredients. The restaurant seats 69 guests and features a gallery of local artwork and décor by community artists. HaleOhuna.com

Highway Inn, one of Hawaii’s most recognized eateries, recently announced a culinary partnership with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. A family-owned business, Highway Inn has nourished its diners with delicious Hawaiian staples and an atmosphere of ohana (family) for more than seven decades. Highway Inn will operate out of the current Bishop Museum Café from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, serving a limited menu for its first six months. MyHighwayInn.com

The Grand Wailea is now offering its special Ka Malama Dinner, hosted at the resort’s Humuhumunukunukuapuaa restaurant, on the third Thursday of each month. The dinner has chef Mike Lofaro and Grand Wailea’s Hawaiian cultural ambassador Kainoa Horcajo foraging and fishing for the five-course dinner inspired by the Hawaiian moon calendar. The duo venture into lush, remote valleys and partake in ocean excursions, gathering ingredients such as malolo (flying fish), opelu (mackerel), opihi (limpets), ocean salt and mountain spring water for dinner, while sommelier and beverage manager Yeshua Goodman creates cocktails and wine pairings. The dinner package is $150 per person and advance reservations are required. GrandWailea.com

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort has launched a monthly series of cooking classes, Kaana Kupboard, led by Kaana Kitchen’s Chef de Cuisine Ben Marquez. In Kaana Kupboard classes, guests will cook alongside Marquez, learn new skills and perfect their culinary techniques. The classes – each featuring a different theme, from “Backyard Barbecue” and “Saucy Sauces” to “Modern Luau” and “Shop Like a Chef,” – are in partnership with local farmers and food distributors. Maui.Andaz.Hyatt.com

Kauai’s award-winning Koloa Rum Co. recently announced its new Kauai Coffee Rum. The product of a licensing agreement between the Kauai distiller and Kauai Coffee Co., Kauai Coffee Rum blends locally grown and dark-roasted Kauai Coffee with Koloa Rum Co. brand white rum and pure Hawaiian cane sugar. The new rum offers rich flavor with bold notes of coffee and cocoa, and expands Koloa Rum’s portfolio of rum and rum-related products. Look for the rum’s striking new bottle and label design, released in time for the 2015 holiday season. KoloaRum.com

Overlooking Waikiki Beach, SKY Waikiki is Honolulu’s newest rooftop bistro and lounge. Located on the 19th floor of the Waikiki Business Plaza, the 7,000-square-foot restaurant offers handcrafted cocktails by mixologist Jennifer Ackrill and a mouth-watering menu created by award-winning executive chef Lance Kosaka. In addition to unobstructed views of Leahi (Diamond Head) and Oahu’s south shore from its SKY Deck, the space features a 30-foot video wall, three full-service bars and a custom fire pit. SkyWaikiki.com

The spirit of aloha and a relaxed island-breeze vibe come together in the newest Tommy Bahama Restaurant Bar & Store, which opened Oct. 30 in the heart of Waikiki. The impressive, three-level, 19,200-square-foot flagship store at 298 Beachwalk Drive houses a ground-floor retail space, second-story restaurant and lively rooftop lounge with a sand patio. This is Tommy Bahama’s ninth Hawaii location. The brand has two other Tommy Bahama Restaurant Bar & Store sites in Hawaii – at The Shops at Mauna Lani and The Shops at Wailea – as well as six retail stores. TommyBahama.com


Oahu’s Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest outdoor shopping center, recently welcomed Hawaii’s first Bloomingdale’s department store, along with more than 30 new stores, as part of the center’s Ewa Wing expansion. The 167,000-square-foot, three-level Bloomingdale’s store will offer smart fitting rooms, charging lounges, dining services and an extensive roster of brands exclusive to Bloomingdale’s Hawaii location. Other exclusive brands include Armani Collezioni, Boutique Moschino, Cami and Jax, Chloé, Salvatore Ferragamo, Frette, Gucci, Max Mara, Rebecca Taylor, Sandro, Shinola, Tidal, and Bloomingdale’s exclusive ready-to-wear line, AQUA. Bloomingdales.com

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra is re-establishing its fan base with new programming, new venues, and a new performance schedule for its 2015-2016 season. Featuring talented young pianists, international opera star Sumi Jo, and violinists familiar and fresh, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra’s new schedule offers 12 programs, six of which will be performed twice on the weekends. The orchestra’s Halekulani Masterworks series has maintained its appeal with traditional fans and reached out to the community with free outdoor concerts. Additionally, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra will perform on the neighbor islands and, by expanding its season from 12 to 14 weeks, offer Oahu music lovers more opportunities to attend concerts. HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra.org

The Honolulu Coffee Experience Center, which opened in October 2015 at the gateway to Waikiki, offers the world’s only multi-dimensional Kona coffee experience from farm to cup. At the center of the facility’s open floor-plan design is a vintage roaster where visitors can see active roasting taking place. Murals and installations crafted by local artists tell the story of Kona coffee. The Cupping Room features see-through glass walls where visitors can observe coffee being evaluated and certified baristas participating in daily training sessions. Guests can relax in the center’s piazza-style café seating while watching baristas prep coffee behind the counter and bakers craft pastries from scratch through a 14-foot glass exhibition window. The Honolulu Coffee Experience Center also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase take-home Hawaii-grown coffee year round. HonoluluCoffee.com

At the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii resort, members of the Hui Holokai Beach Club Program hand guests a walking stick and guide them on the same lava footpaths traveled by early Hawaiians, as they share the stories, lore and history of Kalahuipuaa (“the gathering place”), now home to Mauna Lani Resort. Offering visits to early Hawaiian lava cave dwellings, petroglyphs (lava etchings) and sacred ahu (shrines), the guided hikes also take guests to inland fishponds once reserved for alii (royalty), along oceanfront trails, and more. Fairmont.com/Orchid-Hawaii

Noted map historian Bryant Neal presents an outstanding new event, “Story of Hawaii,” at the Montage Kapalua Bay resort. The illustrious presentation combines history, geography, and cartography of the Hawaiian Islands to create a wonderfully educational and entertaining experience. The presentation provides an overview and orientation to Hawaii and the many peoples and nations who have helped shape its heritage. Utilizing original maps and artifacts, Neal paints a vivid picture of the history of the Hawaiian Islands. Entry is complimentary. The presentation happens Mondays at 10 a.m. MontageHotels.com/KapaluaBay

Representing an authentic cultural experience by staying true to the history of the horse and its relationship to Hawaiians, Na Lio Maui is Maui’s newest visitor attraction, performing weekly on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. While attending the performance at Kahalawai Farms and Stables – a private ranch in Lahaina with a seating capacity of up to 100 people – guests experience the story of the horse throughout Hawaiian culture. The live show is accompanied by Hawaiian music and includes riding demonstrations; campfire storytelling by “Uncle,” a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) elder; and a Na Lio Taster Box of locally made treats to enjoy before or during the show. NaLioMaui.com

Royal Footsteps on the Kona Coast, on seven miles of Hawaii Scenic Byway Alii Drive, shares seven centuries of Hawaii’s history via byway signs highlighting the thoroughfare’s importance. Residents and visitors interested in learning more about Royal Footsteps’ 25-plus points of interest along the length of Alii Drive can now download a free Kona Royal Guide smartphone app. The app, with its easy-to-use self-guided tour, was previously recognized with a Preservation Media Award from the Historic Hawaii Foundation. HistoricKailuaVillage.com


Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa will host the 2015-2016 season of the Maui Celebrity Series. Performances will take place in the resort’s ballroom, with after-parties and meet-and-greets at Black Rock Lounge, the property’s late-night hot spot. The shows are set for one weekend monthly, with seating limited to 600 attendees. Upcoming performers include Rob Schneider on Nov. 28, William Shatner on Dec. 30 and Jon Lovitz on Jan. 16. HonoluluBoxOffice.com

The island of Kauai will get into the holiday spirit at the Lights on Rice Parade on Dec. 4. The annual Festival of Lights tradition brightens roadways with holiday season decorations, stretching from Vidinha Stadium and Rice Street to Lihue historic county building. Caroling, live entertainment, a craft fair, a parade of floats, food vendors and more, make this a special holiday event the whole family can enjoy. LightsOnRice.org

The Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade, Hawaii’s second-longest-running parade, will celebrate its 55th run on Dec. 5, as always, in the parade’s namesake town. The parade begins at Waimea’s Church Row and proceeds to Waimea Town Park, escorted by a huge brigade of festively lit trucks. The parade will even have a special appearance from Santa himself. Plan to arrive early and spend the entire afternoon in Hawaii Island’s ranching town taking in craft shows and entertainment. Following the parade, astronomers at Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope’s (CFHT) Waimea headquarters and the West Hawaii Astronomy Club will host an open house with free winter stargazing. The parade and weekend festivities support the Big Island Giving Tree. WaimeaTown.org

The Christmas spirit comes alive in downtown Honolulu at the annual Honolulu City Lights celebration. Each December, Honolulu Hale and its surrounding Civic Center grounds are transformed into a spectacular Christmas display featuring themed Christmas trees and wreaths, gingerbread houses, holiday displays, and the massive effigies of Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele – Hawaii-style takes on Santa and Mrs. Claus. A Dec. 5 opening night kicks off the month-long celebration with food booths, keiki (children’s) rides, the lighting of the city holiday tree, an electric light parade, and entertainment. HonoluluCityLights.org

Given the tremendous turnout and success of its past Waikiki Block Festivals, Millwood Ohana Productions is excited to announce its Waikiki Arts & Crafts Festival, happening on Dec. 5. Held on Waikiki’s main thoroughfare, Kalakaua Avenue, Hawaii’s largest block festival will offer local-crafter booths and a Food Truck Row, featuring some of the island’s best local eats. Bikers will be able to utilize free bike valets sponsored by the Hawaii Bicycling League. MillwoodOhanaProductions.com

Following his worldwide tour touching down in more than 140 cities, Hawaii’s own Jake Shimabukuro returns home, just in time for the holidays, for a performance at the Hawaii Theatre Center. Join Hawaii’s ukulele virtuoso and his special guests on Dec. 12, for the 4th Annual Jake Shimabukuro & Friends concert, a one-night showcase of Jake’s passion for ukulele and music, in front of a hometown audience. HawaiiTheatre.com

Award-winning Hawaii musician Mark Yamanaka takes center stage for a free one-hour holiday concert, featuring Hawaiian music and seasonal favorites, on Dec. 13, from 5 to 6 p.m., at Emma’s Square in Historic Kailua Village. Come for the concert and stay for the 2nd Annual Lighted Boat Parade in Kailua Bay, a cheerful holiday light show put on by Kona’s fishing fleet. The best views of the boat parade are from Kailua Pier, the Kona Village seawall and many of the village’s bayfront restaurants. HistoricKailuaVillage.com


Delta Air Lines will be adding a single daily flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Kona International Airport beginning Dec. 19. A Boeing 757-200 aircraft will be used for the new Kona route. The Honolulu market will welcome back holiday season flights from New York, along with new seasonal winter non-stop flights from Minneapolis, Minnesota (from October through March) and Portland, Oregon (from December through January). The official tournament airline sponsor of the 2016 Sony Open in Hawaii, Delta Air Lines is also offering discounts of up to 10 percent off domestic and international airfares to Hawaii. The Delta discount code for the 2016 Sony Open is NMMEN. Reservations may also be made by calling Delta Meet Network at (800) 328-1111. Delta.com/meeting

Having launched daily flights from San Francisco to Honolulu in November, Virgin America will begin flying from San Francisco to Kahului, Maui on Dec. 3. The California-based air carrier provides Bay Area travelers a fresh and upscale travel option to Hawaii. With new aircraft offering three custom-designed classes of service, touch-screen personal entertainment, and an award-winning on-demand food and cocktail menu on every flight, travelers departing from the stylish and convenient Terminal Two at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) begin their Hawaii vacations as soon as they board the plane. VirginAmerica.com



Due to brisk demand, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina – the fifth hotel in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ Hawaiian Collection – is accepting early reservations for stays from June 1, 2016. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the resort’s 358 luxurious ocean- and lagoon-view guest rooms and 52 suites will each feature private furnished länai (balconies) and authentic Hawaiiana-style décor inspired by nature. Among the property’s guest amenities will be five restaurants and lounges, four pools, a white sand beach, a multi-level spa and wellness center, expansive tennis facilities and multiple watersport activities, as well as preferred access to the exclusive Ko Olina Golf Club. The hotel is slated to open spring 2016. FourSeasons.com/Oahu

Luxuriously re-imagined following a multimillion-dollar transformation, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai will begin offering guests a sophisticated yet relaxed escape on the 90,000-acre, secluded island of Lanai early next year. Redesigned with an island aesthetic inspired by Hawaii’s culture and stories, the resort’s interior renovations will include 217 updated guestrooms and 51 suites, newly refurbished lobbies and seating areas, new culinary offerings, a renovated spa, luxury retail boutiques and a new pro shop at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Manele Golf Course. FourSeasons.com/Lanai

Part of Lite Hotels, a division of Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Hilo Naniloa Hotel and Golf Club celebrated the start of its $20-million renovation project with a formal groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony this past August. With 388 rooms, the restoration is scheduled for completion in March 2016, with the brand relaunched as DoubleTree by Hilton. Renovation plans include updates to the hotel’s lobby and lounge, banquet facilities, waterfront restaurant and poolside bar, fitness center, retail shops and three fully-restored towers, as well as the construction of a concert hall and event space where iconic Hawaii musician Willie K. will perform regularly. AquaResorts.com/hotels/Hilo-Naniloa-Hotel

Timbers Resorts is expanding its brand to Kauai, with plans to develop and manage 450 acres on the island’s southeast coast at the former location of Kauai Lagoons. Its development, Hokuala (which means “rising star” in Hawaiian), will become the newest resort in Timbers portfolio. The unique, oceanfront resort community will offer residents and guests unobstructed ocean views framed by Kauai’s verdant mountains, and direct shoreline access. The Hokuala development will also include a private resident club, luxury whole ownership residences, custom golf course home sites, a retail shopping village and a boutique hotel featuring a destination spa, multiple dining options, extensive pools, and multiple wedding venues. TimbersResorts.com


Pioneering Hawaiian fusion cuisine chef Roy Yamaguchi is partnering with Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore to open Roy’s Beach House in 2016. The restaurant, taking over the space of the former Ola at Turtle Bay Resort restaurant, will overlook Kuilima Cove. TurtleBayResort.com

Chris Kajioka, the celebrated former executive chef of Vintage Cave, will open his highly anticipated SENIA Restaurant in March 2016, with partners Anthony and Katherine Rush. The new restaurant in downtown Honolulu’s Chinatown district will be located next to popular eatery The Pig & The Lady and feature a chef’s counter with an omakase (chef-selected) menu.


Construction began last year on the revitalization of the International Market Place in the heart of Waikiki. Scheduled to open in summer 2016, the 360,000-square-foot shopping center will feature approximately 75 retailers, seven restaurants and the island’s first full-line Saks Fifth Avenue. ShopInternationalMarketPlace.com

Scheduled to open in late 2016, Ka Makana Alii is a 1.4 million-square-foot regional mall now being constructed in West Oahu. Managed by DeBartolo Development, the mixed-used center will include some of the world’s largest fashion retailers such as Macy’s, H&M, Forever 21, and Gap Inc. brands Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic. The complex will also include Hawai‘i’s first Hampton Inn & Suites. Ka Makana Alii’s tenant mix will feature more than 150 shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings, a department store, and LEED-certified office space. KaMakanaAlii.com

The National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday in August 2016. In time for the National Park Centennial, Hawaii’s very own Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on Hawaii Island, and Haleakala National Park on Maui are offering an annual Tri-Park Pass for $25. At either park, participate in self-guided or guided tours, set off on trails for every level of hiker, and experience once-in-a-lifetime activities to learn more about each park’s history. NPS.gov

Scheduled for completion in late 2016, the mall-wide renovation project at Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants is right on schedule. Highlights of the project include improvements to common areas, with new hardscape, flooring, landscape and modified stairways, as well as a new restroom and upgrade of existing lighting and signage. Approximately 10,000 square-feet of new space will complement existing or reconfigured retailers. When renovations are completed, Whalers Village will offer an enhanced overall shopping experience. The center’s newest shops already include Kate Spade and Lululemon Athletica. Free Wi-Fi adds convenience and fun. WhalersVillage.com


Returning to Maui for play from Jan. 5 through 10, 2016, at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions 2016 PGA TOUR event is one of golf’s most prestigious. Only champions from the 2015 PGA TOUR season are eligible to compete. And tournament officials have announced that the Champions 2016 schedule will have a Sunday finish for the first time since 2011, shifting the first round of tournament play to a Thursday. GolfAtKapalua.com

Each January, the Sony Open in Hawaii attracts some of the world’s greatest professional golfers to Oahu’s Waialae Country Club for one of the most anticipated events on the PGA TOUR schedule. The Sony Open showcases international golf talent and camaraderie against the backdrop of Hawaii’s natural beauty. Play will take place from Jan. 11 to 17, 2016. SonyOpenInHawaii.com

Find something for everyone to enjoy at the 23rd annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, set for Feb. 6, 2016, in Hawaii Island’s Waimea town. The annual community event celebrates the blooming of Church Row Park’s historic cherry trees and hamami, the Japanese tradition of viewing the trees. Traditionally held on the first Saturday of February, the festival includes a variety of activities and Japanese and multicultural performing arts at multiple venues throughout Waimea. There will also be hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremonies and mochi (sweet rice cake) pounding.

The Panaewa Stampede Rodeo, happening Feb. 13 and 14, 2016 on Hawaii Island, is an amateur rodeo competition for cowboys and cowgirls, from keiki (children) to kupuna (elders), showcasing Hawaii’s paniolo (cowboy) culture. The large and diverse rodeo features team roping, barrel racing, and bronco and bull riding. Food, craft booths, and interactive demonstrations round out the weekend event held at Panaewa Equestrian Center just outside of Hilo. HawaiiRodeoStampede.com

Waimea community members gather every year to celebrate their town’s storied history at the Waimea Town Celebration, next set for Feb. 13 through 20, 2016, and featuring eight days of activities and entertainment. Kauai residents and visitors are welcome to join the event’s 39th anniversary celebration for local entertainment, food, crafts, games, contests and sporting events, including the Kilohana Long Distance Canoe Race along the Waimea shoreline, all in celebration of one of the island’s oldest settlements. WaimeaTownCelebration.com

Kaiser Permanente’s Great Aloha Run is one of the state’s largest events, benefitting more than 150 Hawaii non-profit organizations. The route for the Oahu run-walk begins in downtown Honolulu and ends 8.15 miles later in Halawa at Aloha Stadium. The annual President’s Day morning run happens next on Feb. 15, 2016. GreatAlohaRun.com

The 16th Annual Great Waikoloa Ukulele Festival at the Waikoloa Beach Resort presents Hawaii’s top ukulele musicians in a special evening of entertainment on March 5, 2016, paying tribute to the popular instrument. Master of ceremonies and “ambassador of aloha” Danny Kaleikini will host the event’s two stages of music. In addition to enjoying the concert’s lineup of ukulele masters, guests will be able to take instrument lessons and enter ukulele giveaways. The Great Waikoloa Ukulele Festival has drawn audiences and ukulele artists from around the world since 2001. UkuleleFestivalHawaii.org

Celebrating it’s 22nd anniversary in 2016, from March 11 through 13, the Honolulu Festival promotes understanding, cooperation and harmony between the rich and vibrant cultures of Asia, the Pacific and Hawaii with three days of educational programs, activities, craft fairs, demonstrations and a grand parade through Waikiki. HonoluluFestival.com

The annual Prince Kuhio Celebration on Kauai honor’s the legacy of Hawaii Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole and his efforts to foster Hawaiian cultural values. Events slated for the next celebration, happening March 15 through 29, 2016, include Hawaiian cultural demonstrations and hands-on learning sessions, the annual Prince Kuhio Long Distance Canoe Race, a Prince Kuhio birthday celebration luau, and more. PrinceKuhio.net

The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua’s award-winning Celebration of the Arts is one of Hawaii’s premier hands-on arts and cultural festivals. Maui residents and visitors are invited to experience the “Hawaiian heart and soul” on display throughout the resort, meeting with artisans, cultural practitioners, speakers and entertainers. The three-day festival is set for March 25 to 27, 2016. KapaluaCelebrationOfTheArts.com

King Kamehameha Day is the annual state holiday celebrating Hawaii’s first monarch, Kamehameha the Great. The king’s birthday and 100th anniversary running of the annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade will be commemorated on June 11, 2016, with an all-day hoolaulea (celebration) on Oahu, special concerts and, of course, the festive parade itself. KamehamehaFestival.org


Beginning January 2016, travelers seeking nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Kauai will be able to fly year-round on Hawaiian Airlines. The air carrier’s new permanent route between the two destinations – previously a holiday season route – will offer travelers a choice of three flights weekly.

Hawaiian Airlines announced its plans to introduce new, luxury design elements and enhanced service options in its Airbus A330 premium cabins, including 180-degree lie-flat seats. The premier global carrier for leisure travel to Hawaii developed its new seats in partnership with Optimares, an Italian airline-seat manufacturer focused on traveler-centric design. The new lie-flat seats will use an innovative seat platform able to fold into 76-inch beds, maximizing living space for travelers while providing options for both privacy and a shared flight experience. The seats will also feature an advanced in-flight entertainment experience powered by next generation large-format tablets equipped with a telescoping tablet arm that adjusts to optimize viewing angle and comfort. HawaiianAirlines.com

Source = Hawaii Tourism Authority
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