Mauna Kea Beach Addresses Forward Bookings

Since the earthquake, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has been reaching out to travelers with reservations at the hotel to accommodate them elsewhere in Hawaii. The initial focus following the hotel's closure earlier this month was on travelers with holiday reservations, according to a company spokesman. He notes that the situation is tight for holiday travel and Prince is working through each reservation. The goal is to finalize arrangements for those travelers holding reservations for travel in 2007 by mid-December. Meanwhile, the word for travel agents is that their commissions will be protected, says Donn Takahashi, president of Prince Resorts Hawaii. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island

Travelers who were on property on December 1 when the decision was made to close the property were moved to sister hotelHapunaBeach Prince. Travelers holding Mauna Kea reservations have been contacted by Prince and offered the option of a refund, lodging at one of Prince's other three Hawaii properties (one each on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu), or a stay at another Hawaii hotel.

Occupancy in Hawaii tends to climb by mid-December and continue at peak levels through the New Year, but there are still rooms to be had for displaced travelers.

One of the neighboring hotels that has been seeing interest from these travelers is the Fairmont Orchid. Ian Pullan, GM at the Fairmont, says that the hotel's philosophy is more about focusing on their guests' experience than packing every room, and thus there's space for affected travelers.

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is the only hotel on the BigIsland to have closed as a result of damage caused by the October 15 earthquake off the BigIsland. Management initially took a number of rooms out of service following initial engineering inspections. A subsequent report issued December 1 regarding bracing systems in sections of the roof of the main building led Prince to close the hotel. Prince is looking at up to a year for the repair and restoration process.

In the meantime, most of the Mauna Kea Resort's other venues are fully operational, including the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, the resort's two golf courses, the tennis club, several restaurants and the hotel's luau and clambake. The beach also is accessible.

Agents can visit the travel agent section of the Prince web site, which will continue to be updated. Visit www.princeresortshawaii.com.

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