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April 01, 2016


Hawaii Island (April 4, 2016) – You can live the sporting life just about any way you wish on Hawaii Island. Fancy yourself a participant – someone who can’t wait to get on the world-famous golf courses of the Kona and Kohala Coasts the moment your flight touches terra firma? Perhaps you’re a spectator – someone who’s always wanted to catch the swimming start and running finish of the IRONMAN World Championship triathlon live and in-person at Kailua Pier. Read on for more events and activities matching your level of sports fanaticism, plus the latest scoop on Hawaii Island hotel, dining, meeting, activity and airline developments. Ready. Set. Come out and play!   

Located in scenic Keauhou, the newly renovated Kona Country Club offers an oceanfront golfing experience for visitors and residents to enjoy. Neighboring the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, Kona Country Club features a fully stocked pro shop, driving range, locker rooms, and putting and chipping greens. Golfers also appreciate the club’s spectacular ocean views and full-service restaurant. Visitors can enhance their trip to Kona by getting a day of golf – played under sunny skies and cooled by gentle ocean breezes – into their schedule. For more information, call (808) 557-8034, or visit

Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows welcomes weekend golf warriors and pro golfers alike to its Francis H. Ii Brown North and South Courses. The North Course’s signature 17th hole (a par 3, for folks taking notes) is tucked inside a nature-made amphitheater formed by hardened lava. The South Course’s 15th hole (a par 3) is one of the most photographed golf holes in the world. The resort also boasts Hawaii’s only nine-hole keiki (children’s) course. Unlimited golf packages for two begin at $619 per night (with a minimum three-night required stay), and are available through Dec. 23, 2016. For more information, visit

A trio of exciting sports competitions are included in Mauna Kea Resort's 2016 fall calendar of special events. The 21st annual Grand Prix Open and Class Championship, held at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s 11-court Seaside Tennis Club, offers three days of championship tennis, from Sept. 16-18. Making its Hawaii Island debut this year is the Ragnar Relay Hawaii, a 200-mile foot race beginning in Hilo, ending at Mauna Kea Resort’s Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, and happening Oct. 14-15. Finally, golf enthusiasts will experience a magical week of championship play during the 43rd annual Mauna Kea Pro-Am, set for Dec. 7-11. For more information, visit

The Queen Liliuokalani Race is set for Sept. 1-5. The world’s largest long-distance outrigger canoe race annually welcomes more than 2,500 outrigger canoe paddlers to Kona for five days of competition. The event’s slate of races includes its signature 18-mile long-distance men’s and women’s races on Sept. 3. Event organizer Kai Opua Canoe Club, one of Hawaii’s oldest outrigger canoe clubs, will host crews from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Tahiti, and the United Kingdom, plus an estimated 75 crews from the United States. More than 60 teams from Hawaii Island will compete in the race. For more information, visit

One of Hawaii Island’s most sought-after lodging properties for large sporting events, the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is the official host hotel of this year’s 2016 IRONMAN World Championship, set for October, as well as the annual Queen Liliuokalani Race, happening Labor Day weekend. Sports enthusiasts are invited to congregate at the hotel to experience the IRONMAN Championship’s start and finish at Kailua Pier, or watch the outrigger canoe paddling contests of the Queen Liliuokalani Race in Kailua Bay. For more information, visit

The 3rd annual Aloha Ball hosts dancing competitions Oct. 21-23. Held at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, the Aloha Ball is the only Dancesport competition on Hawaii Island with an international panel of judges and attendees from throughout the Mainland U.S. and Hawaii. The competition includes all ballroom styles, age groups and levels of expertise, and includes spectacular professional ballroom dancing exhibitions. For more information, visit

Hawaiian Airlines will bring back seasonal nonstop service between Kona and Los Angeles, and Kona and Oakland, for the summer of 2016. Three-times weekly service between Kona and Oakland, and four-times weekly service between Kona and Los Angeles, will be offered during the peak travel months of May through September, beginning May 27. The flights will utilize Hawaiian Airlines’ twin-aisle Airbus A330 aircraft, with seats for 294 passengers. With the addition of these seasonal flights, Hawaiian Airlines will have a wide-body aircraft arriving at Kona International Airport at Keahole every day of the week this summer.

Seas … uh, seize the day on a private charter with Kohala Sail & Sea! Their immaculate 34-foot sailboat is the perfect size for private charters, without a hefty price tag. Families rave about the great guest service aboard Kohala Sail & Sea’s eco-friendly sloop Riva, and love sailing out from the new Kawaihae Harbor South, just minutes away from many Kohala Coast resorts and vacation rentals. The sailboat Riva accommodates a maximum six passengers, and private charters are fully commissionable. Call Capt. Steve at (808) 895-1781, or visit for charter options.

Traveling with friends, family members or a group? Visit Anaehoomalu Bay and let the Ocean Sports crew help plan a day of fun! Everyone will enjoy a friendly ocean kayak race – Ocean Sports offers single kayaks, double kayaks and even a couple of three-seaters. Or you can combine balance with speed and sign a team up for a stand-up paddleboard competition. If land-based sports are more your group’s speed, check out a complimentary volleyball from the Ocean Sports beach hut and play on one of the most beautiful sand courts on the island. For more information, call (808) 886-6666, or visit

The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory recently opened The Chocolate Shoppe at its cacao plantation in Keauhou Mauka. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, The Chocolate Shoppe offers visitors an opportunity to shop for chocolate and learn about the making of the sweet (and bittersweet) treat. Guests are invited to see the plantation’s cacao trees, view a 15-minute video detailing everything from tree harvesting to chocolate production, and enjoy free chocolate samples. The company also offers guided plantation tours on Wednesday and Friday mornings. For more information, call (808) 322-2626, toll-free (888) 447-2626, or visit
Hawaii Forest & Trail has moved into its new, historic downtown Hilo headquarters for outdoor activities and adventures on Hawaii Island. Outside, the new storefront features an abundance of locally grown fruit and agricultural products for sale, fresh from Hilo’s OK Farms. Inside, the staff offers guests samples of Hawaii Island coffee and exotic tropical fruits. Still, the fun really begins when guests learn about Hawaii Forest & Trail’s diverse menu of big adventures, available by reservation or same-day when they drop by. For more information, call (808) 331-8505, or visit

Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel has been renamed the Pagoda Hilo Bay Hotel and is now managed by Hawaii-based Castle Resorts & Hotels. Purchased in February by Honolulu-based developer Peter Savio, the 145-room property will continue its local-style hospitality and traditions established by hotel founder and longtime owner William “Uncle Billy” Kimi, Jr. Located on historic Banyan Drive, alongside the Hilo Bay shoreline, the Pagoda Hilo Bay Hotel features comfortable accommodations, an oceanfront swimming pool, an island-style general store, and meeting facilities. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit, or call (808) 935-0861.

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai announces “La Dolce Vita,” a resort-wide celebration of “the sweet life,” featuring wines from Palmina and La Voix, and happening June 2-4. The “La Dolce Vita” celebration will include spectacular dinners from resort Executive Chef Massimo Falsini, co-hosted by Steve and Chrystal Clifton, owners of Palmina and La Voix. A variety of spa, retail and lifestyle experiences will add to the weekend of Italian-inspired indulgence. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai guests are welcome to book the “La Dolce Vita” package, which includes a $500 resort credit applicable to the celebration’s events. For more information, visit

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel recently unveiled Hawaii Island’s newest venue for meetings and social functions: the Kaunaoa Ballroom. Boasting floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides framing scenic views of Kaunaoa Bay, the ballroom features nearly 3,500 square-feet of indoor function space and expansive outdoor pre-function space. A connecting breezeway between the ballroom and the hotel’s 100-room Beachfront Wing offers a unique "hotel-within-a-hotel" experience tailored for incentive and corporate group travel. Combined with its nearby Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel sister property, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel comprises nearly 150,000 square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. For more information, visit

For more information on Hawaii Island or a calendar of events, please visit