The Hawaiian Islands’ Hottest Selling Points

Hawaii Island
Hawaii Island // Photo by Joe Pike

From the latest hotel developments to trending events, Travel Agent breaks down the freshest batch of Hawaii selling points for clients looking to visit the Aloha State this fall and beyond.

Hotel News

Positioned to open this fall as one of Hawaii’s newest urban destination resorts, the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach is located in the heart of Waikiki on Oahu. Aiming to pay homage to Hawaii Queen Liliuokalani and the Islands’ rich cultural heritage, the $115 million redevelopment spans the entirety of the former Pacific Beach Hotel property from its exterior facade to all public spaces and 839 guest rooms and suites.

Visit www.pacificbeachhotel.com

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The Maui Ocean Center recently partnered with the Grand Wailea Resort to create a SEA Life Explore Station. Marine naturalists from the aquarium host the station each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., sharing knowledge of Hawaii’s marine life with hotel guests. The Explore Station features a small display of live invertebrates, which may include sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and hermit crabs. 

Visit www.mauioceancenter.com

Culinary Offerings

Robatayaki with a modern flair comes to Oahu with Baku Waikiki, now open at the International Market Place. The centerpiece of the restaurant will be its custom-built, eight-foot robata grill.

The dinner menu will showcase small plate dishes, including Hokkaido sea scallops, short-rib foie gras gyoza and prime beef tartare. From the robata grill diners can savor USDA Prime tomahawk steaks, Niihau-raised lamb, ginger garlic duck breast and seafood options such as Keahole-raised lobster from the Island of Hawaii and hapuupuu (Hawaiian sea bass). Baku will also offer sushi and a curated beverage program with premium sake, international wines, artisanal shochu and craft cocktails aimed at complementing the food.

Visit www.baku-waikiki.com

Celebrating the abundance and variety of quality foods and ingredients on Maui, Japengo’s 2017 Maui Tastemakers Series is featuring new flavors, new partners and more dining experiences than in previous years of the series. New for this year, Japengo is offering a Maui Tastemakers menu on the Fridays of every other month – for the remainder of this year, that means every Friday in September and November. The Tastemakers menu is available to all dine-in guests. MauiWine will join Japengo for Tastemakers in September; November partners will be announced soon. 

Visit www.hyatt.com

Kauai’s largest chocolate farm and vanilla plantation, Steelgrass Farm, continues to grow, recently welcoming even more chocolate trees to its estate. The farm offers certified Kauai-made products, including chocolate bars, cacao nibs, honey and hand-pollinated vanilla beans. By popular demand, the farm’s Branch to Bar estate tour is now being offered four-times weekly from 9 a.m. to noon. Guests on the tour enjoy samples of 10 different chocolates from around the world, tastings of fresh tropical fruit grown on-property, ripe chocolate fruit from the farm, and more. 

Visit www.steelgrass.org

Attractions and Activities

Holokai Adventures’ guided Heeia Fishpond Exploration tour on Oahu offers an educational, off-the-beaten path Hawaiian cultural activity. The adventure begins with lessons on the basics of kayaking and ocean safety before moving to the water, where participants learn about the historic cultural significance and modern-day restoration of early Hawaiian fishponds. 

Guides on the tour discuss the importance of fishponds like Heeia to the sustainable food-gathering efforts of early Hawaiians, and how visitors can apply similar thinking to current times. 

Visit www.holokaiadventures.com

One of Kauai’s newest luau is presented with an ocean view, under the stars and beneath the palm trees of the Koloa Landing Resort’s Garden Lawn, featuring music and hula from Rohotu Polynesian Dance Company. 

Well-known Hawaii chef Sam Choy has created a feast of delicacies for the luau menu. Historian, host, entertainer and Kauai native Wallis Punua takes luau guests on a journey through Hawaiian culture and music while his Rohotu Polynesian Dance Company continues the traditions of his family hula school, founded on Kauai in 1954. The luau grand finale offers up a Samoan fire knife dance. The Koloa Landing Resort’s luau happens on Tuesdays year-round. 

Visit www.koloalandingresort.com/kauai-activities

Maverick Helicopters’ three-island helicopter tour offers an above-Hawaii experience that begins with a flight over Maui’s coastlines matched with ocean vistas. After soaring high above the waters of the Pailolo Channel toward Molokai, take in a view of the island’s early Hawaiian fishponds and Mokuhooniki Islet, also known as Elephant Rock. The tour next heads to Lanai for views of the island’s landmarks, including Kaiolohia Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, before heading back to Maui for sunset views of waterfalls and jungle landscapes. 

Visit www.flymaverick.com/Maui

Festivals and Events

The IRONMAN World Championship returns to the Island of Hawaii on October 14. The annual IRONMAN World Championship brings 2,300 athletes to West Hawaii Island to complete in a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

Visit www.ironman.com

The Kauai Chocolate and Coffee Festival, set for October 20 and 21, is a celebration of all things chocolate and coffee, with tastings, educational displays and workshops, as well as entertainment and exhibitor booths spotlighting a variety of chocolate and coffee products from around the state.

The Kauai Chocolate and Coffee Festival happens in historic Hanapepe town and also includes farm tours, informative classes, demonstrations, live entertainment, a chocolate and coffee pampering station, a silent auction and keiki (kids) activities.

Visit www.kauaichocolateandcoffeefestival.com

The seventh annual Hawaii Food and Wine Festival will be heading to Maui, Oahu and the Island of Hawaii for various culinary events happening between October 21 and November 5. This is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific and will feature a roster of more than 100 internationally-renowned master chefs, winemakers, mixologists and brewmasters. The festival is a showcase of wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and exclusive dining opportunities. 

Visit www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com

The third annual Great Waikiki Beer Festival at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort returns on October 21. The fall event on the Oahu resort’s Great Lawn will offer attendees a selection of more than 100 beers in an evening of tastings, beer-friendly foods and feel-good music. Beer from a range of brewers will be offered, from small-batch and local producers to eminent national breweries. 

Visit www.greatwaikikibeerfestival.com

Kona coffee will take center stage once again at the 47th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, set for November 3-12 throughout Kailua-Kona town on the Island of Hawaii. The 10-day festival’s activities will include Kona coffee farm tours offering a firsthand look at how the area’s world-famous bean is grown and harvested. Other Kona coffee and food events at the festival will feature ample tasting opportunities, and hands-on cultural events will share stories of Kona’s rich coffee history. 

Visit www.konacoffeefest.com and www.gohawaii.com

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