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Tips for Getting Your Clients to WaikikiJuly 1, 2007 By: Charlotte Woolard Home-Based Travel Agent
From getting there to where to stay, here's what you should know when planning your clients' vacation to Waikiki
Airlift: Major carriers including American Airlines (800-433-7300, www.americanair.com), United Airlines (800-241-6522, www.ual.com) and Delta Air Lines (800-221-1212, www.delta.com) fly into Honolulu International Airport, a midsized airport located about seven miles from the white sand beaches of Waikiki. Try to avoid flights that arrive in or depart from Honolulu at the end of the workday, when traffic can be at a standstill. The airport also serves as a hub for interisland carriers like Hawaiian Airlines (800-367-5320, www.hawaiian air.com), Island Air (808-652-6541, www.islandair.com) and Aloha Airlines (800-367-5250, www.alohaair.com).
Transportation: Major rental car companies operate from the airport, but clients may opt to avoid driving if they will be spending the bulk of their time in Waikiki—a walkable area that is heavy on traffic and light on parking spaces. The Airport Waikiki Express (866-898-2519, www.robertshawaii.com) departs from the airport every 20 to 25 minutes, ferrying visitors to any hotel in Waikiki. Charley's Taxi & Limousine (808-531-1333, www.charleystaxi.com) will transport clients from the airport and also provides general taxi service.
Once your clients get to town, companies like Hawaiian Style Rentals (808-94-MOPED, hawaiianstylerentals.com) offers delivery of fun options including mopeds and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Time/Climate Zone: Hawaii doesn't observe daylight savings time. Hawaiian weather holds fairly steady, with winter usually bringing only short bursts of rain to leeward-facing Waikiki.
Wholesalers: Commissions generally start at 10 to 15 percent.
For clients interested in a customized luxury vacation, contact Creative Leisure International (800-413-1000, www.creativeleisure.com). The direct agent contact is Laura Polley at 800-548-3566, ext. 201 or [email protected]. Pleasant Holidays (800-448-3333, www.pleasantagent.com) provides a broad range of price options. Call Nikki Shanley at 800-442-3234 or nikki.shan [email protected]. Blue Sky Tours (800-678-2787, www.blueskytours.com) focuses exclusively on Hawaiian vacations. Contact Charlotte Kerr, associate marketing manager, at 800-678-2787, ext. 2157 or [email protected].
Hotels: Highrise hotel complexes abound in Waikiki, creating a dazzling skyline and a hotel market where price hinges not only on proximity to the beach, but view from the lanai, or balcony. And if view is usually important in the hotel market, it is paramount in the honeymooner segment. Luckily, even hotels off the beachfront manage to nab at least a bit of the coveted ocean and Diamond Head views. Note: The higher the floor, the better the view. Also keep in mind that ocean view rooms only promise a slice of blue water—to give your clients the full expanse, you'll need to book the Deluxe Oceanview.
The elegant Halekulani (800-367-2343, www.halekulani.com) sits right on the shoreline. The hotel houses one of the Islands' best known honeymoon accommodations, the oceanfront Vera Wang Suite, which boasts views of the ocean and Diamond Head, as well as in-room spa treatments, a personal chef and 24-hour butler service. The hotel also offers Junior Ocean Suites, 720-square-foot accommodations with optional connecting rooms. The corner units feature double lanais. Couples massages and more are available in the hotel spa. The agent contact is Lynn Hirayama, executive assistant to the hotel's general manager, who can be reached at 808-923-2311 or [email protected].
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa (800-445-8667, www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com) puts your clients in a 22-acre resort fronted by the widest stretch of Waikiki Beach. The beachfront Ali'i Tower provides the most secluded retreat, hosting private concierge services, massage treatment rooms and a pool terrace with a whirlpool. Suites on the 14th and 15th floors have wraparound lanais. For unconventional honeymooners—those traveling with children—book the oceanfront Rainbow Tower, which offers breathtaking views and stands steps from the swimming pool. The spa offers side-by-side massages. Onsite shopping, dining and activity options abound. The agent contact is Debbie Hogan, sales director, who can be reached at 808-947-7843 or [email protected].
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach (800-442-7304, www.outriggerwaikikihotel.com) offers its guests beachfront access to a narrow strip of Waikiki Beach, steps away from surfboard rentals and a protected swimming area. Restaurants and high-end shopping options, as well as trinket shops, line the streets around the hotel. Deluxe Oceanview Suites provide views of Diamond Head, and the 685-square-foot corner units offer extra space and have two lanais. About half of the suites offer whirlpool baths. A new, bi-level rooftop spa that opened this past year provides an open-air terrace and a scenic couples' room for side-by-side lomi lomi massages. The agent contact is Stacy Keen, senior sales manager, who can be reached at 808-921-9764 or [email protected].
Other high-end Waikiki options include the newly rebranded Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort (866-716-8109, www.moana-surfrider.com), and the Kahala Resort (800-367-2525, kahalaresort.com). For a moderately priced option with unobstructed ocean views, try the ocean-facing rooms on the upper levels of the Pacific Beach Hotel (800-367-5370, www.pacificbeachhotel.com).
Restaurants: Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's Restaurant (808-923-7697, www.roysrestaurant.com) launched a Hawaiian Fusion empire from his first Honolulu restaurant, mixing elements of European, Asian and Pacific Rim cuisine.
Duke's Canoe Club Waikiki (808-922-2268, www.dukeswaikiki.com) in the Outrigger Waikiki hotel offers everything from moderately priced burgers to the locally inspired huli-huli chicken.
Chef Mavro (808-944-4714, www.chefmavro.com) offers seasonal, wine-matched menus with three-, four- and six-course meals. The renowned George Mavrothalassitis recently opened Cassis (808-545-8100, www.cassishonolulu.com), providing a more moderately priced opportunity for French cuisine with an island flair. —CW