The Descendants, the Kauai-set film based on the novel by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings and starring George Clooney, is generating plenty of Oscar buzz, and seems poised to promote the island as a very different Hawaiian experience from Oahu or any of the other islands.
Local tour operators are already taking note and bringing guests to locations referenced in the movie. USA Today is reporting that Roberts' Kauai Movie Tours has already added several Descendants attractions to their line-up:
--Owned by the missionary-descended Rice family, Kipu Kai is the setting for the King trust's land holdings in the movie. A three-hour, $125 ATV tour by Kipu Ranch Adventures includes a stop at the beach (which is accessible only by boat) and valley overlook.
--Like Clooney's character King, author Hemmings spent childhood vacations at Kauiokelani, an ancestral estate on Hanalei Bay. The estate's six-bedroom main house is now a $15,000 a week vacation rental; the nearby three-bedroom, beachfront Nalu Beach Cottage ($5,000 a week) is where King confronts a vacationing real estate agent.
-- Part-time Kauai resident Beau Bridges plays King's cousin, and is a real-life patron at Tahiti Nui, a Hanalei bar that serves as a key backdrop in the film.
Meanwhile, the Parrish Kauai Collection has a lovely video that shows off Hanalei, and has information on booking options for vacation rentals in the area. For some great photos of locations used in the movie, visit What'sGoingOnKauai.com.