What's Hot in Hawaii for 2013

Travel Agent zeroed in on the off-the-beaten-path hotspots in Hawaii that are starting to catch a healthy amount of buzz.

Expect the small island of Lanai to undergo a tourism makeover since in the near future since it was purchased by Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Lanai, the sixth-largest Hawaiian island at 141 square miles, was once a pineapple plantation and is still sparsely inhabited. According to several media outlets, the purchase will include two Four Seasons resorts and two golf courses with clubhouses. We expect some other major changes to come to the island, whether that is this year or beyond. Regardless, agents should put this destination on their radars immediately.

Paia town on Maui, a location long known as a chill, hippie hangout catering to the “slacker” generation of windsurfers and kiteboarders, is starting to be taken a bit more seriously lately with some subtle, yet very important, developments from the Flatbread Company (www.flatbreadcompany.com), a new restaurant serving flatbread pizza, to Ono Gelato Company (www.onogelatocompany.com), a new ice cream shop. Although nothing major has been added to the town, it certainly sounds like it’s becoming more family friendly.

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The Keauhou area on the Big Island should be experiencing some major changes as well. The old Keauhou Beach Hotel, owned by Kamehameha Schools, is going to be torn it down (it was managed by Outrigger for a long while). In its place will be a brand new cultural/learning/meeting center. In fact, the newly renamed Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa (www.sheratonkona.com), formerly Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, completed a $20 million resort renewal in September. The resort is well on its way to re-establishing itself as the crown jewel of the community.

On Oahu, Kailua town is the place to be. President Obama stays in a beach house there when he visits. Think Malibu and Southampton meets Hawaii.

Visit www.gohawaii.com.