Top Hawaii News from 2011

It’s been an exciting year for Hawaii, with some major developments and improvements pointing towards a promising 2012.

Late in 2010, Ian Schrager and Marriott opened the Waikiki Edition, which generated plenty of buzz thanks to the major names attached and the prime location. But the hotel didn’t thrive as expected, and by May, lawsuits were being filed between various parties. In late August, a midnight takeover gave the hotel a new name as an Aqua property. The lawsuits are ongoing, and time will tell who ultimately ends up owning the hotel, but it’s probably safe to say that Hawaii’s hotel scene hasn’t seen this much drama in years.

Another major development in the state’s hospitality scene was the opening of Disney’s Aulani in September. The resort offers something unique for families (and couples, and singles) in Oahu, and also presents a genuine Hawaiian experience for Disney fans. Perhaps best of all, the resort is a genuine luxury getaway, with understated top-tier service and rooms that will impress even the most discriminating guests.

Hawaii’s airlift scene got a major boost this year as well, with increased service from numerous airlines. In June, United Airlines announced direct flights from the mainland to Hilo on Hawaii Island, bypassing Honolulu and offering travelers an easier way to reach a less-explored part of the state. Around the same time, Alaska Air announced direct flights from San Diego to Honolulu and China Eastern Airlines launched nonstop service from Shanghai to Honolulu.

And then in fall, Hawaiian Airlines announced nonstop flights from New York to Honolulu, bringing Hawaii that much closer for East Coast travelers. Thanks to an increased fleet of wide-body, long-haul planes, the airline is also expanding its service to Los Angeles and to Sydney, making the islands much more accessible for both international and domestic travelers.

With all this happening in just 12 months, we can’t wait to see what happens in 2012!


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