Media site

The Islands of Hawaii

Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations, Inc.
Sonja Swenson
Senior Vice President
(808) 523-8802
Email: sonja@strykerweiner.com

For Immediate Release

March 21, 2012

THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING EXCITING AND NEW ON OAHU SPRING 2012

OAHU – The island of Oahu, known as the Heart of Hawaii, sets the rhythm of the islands with exciting new improvements, changes and additions on an ongoing basis. Below is a glimpse of the new and dynamic happenings on Oahu:


Hotels & Resorts
The island of Oahu has fabulous hotels and resorts for people of all ages and budgets. Oahu’s hotels are constantly updating and adding an array of activities and packages that are sure to make any trip to Oahu unforgettable.

In celebration of the civil unions bill that took effect on Jan. 1, 2012, Aqua Hotels and Resorts created the “C U at Aqua” package, perfect for LGBT travelers. This package is available at 12 participating Aqua hotels in Waikiki and includes a guaranteed king or queen bed, one Kama Sutra Getaway Love Kit®, a box of chocolate macadamia nuts and a bottle of champagne, a copy of eXpression! Magazine, and a coupon for a Mai Tai cocktail at Hula’s Bar & Grill with an option to book a Saturday Hula’s Catamaran sail. In addition to this new package, eight participating properties also offer the “Out and Proud in Waikiki” package. This deal offers guests 15 percent off the best available rate, a complimentary copy of eXpression! magazine, and a coupon for a Mai Tai cocktail at Hula’s Bar & Grill. www.aquaresorts.com

Aqua Lotus Honolulu’s list of complimentary guest services and amenities has been enhanced to include daily coffee and tea service in the lobby from 5:30- 9 a.m.; Beach Cruiser Bikes for riding around the park and Waikiki; morning yoga sessions at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays; and WiFi internet access.  www.aquaresorts.com

The 521-room Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club has completed a $5 million room renovation that includes guestrooms updated with flat-screen televisions; island inspired weaves, textures and motifs with a contemporary twist; specially designed bed décor; Hawaiian kapa patterned carpeting; new artwork featuring local artists; and contemporary lighting. In addition, the hotel redesigned its waterfall fronting Ala Moana Boulevard; new carpet and furnishings have been installed at Prince Court and Hakone restaurants; and Wi-Fi service is now available for guests in all rooms as well as the lobby and pool deck. www.princeresortshawaii.com


Activities & Entertainment
The island of Oahu is brimming with fun-filled activities that everyone can enjoy. Visitors to Oahu can explore Hawaii’s special culture and iconic history, or choose from a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities that are sure to energize the spirit.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial will unveil its new “Battleship Movie Behind the Scenes Tour” in May. This new tour takes guests on an interactive adventure through areas of the Battleship Missouri featured in Universal Studio’s summer blockbuster, Battleship, due out this May. www.ussmissouri.com

The Polynesian Cultural Center has undergone a significant upgrade to its agent booking system. Travel agents can now effortlessly book reservations from anywhere in the world through the new “PCC Agent” booking system. This new system gives agents the flexibility to book for groups of any size as well as specific seats for the Ha: Breath of Life evening show. The launch of PCC Agent is part of the Center’s plan to enhance its activities, shows, restaurants, retail operations and more. PCCAgent.com or Polynesia.com

In March, the recently merged Honolulu Academy of Arts and The Contemporary Museum will unveil its new name, Honolulu Museum of Art, and the first two of ten galleries that will be reinstalled galleries through the fall. The museum kicks off its year of big changes with the opening of two exhibitions highlighting the work of island artists – “Hawaii Art Now,” Feb. 9-April 22, and “Biennial of Hawaii Artists X,” Feb. 23-July 22.
www.honolulumuseum.org 

The Waikiki Aquarium recently welcomed its newest marine animal, Hoailona. The Hawaiian Monk Seal is enjoying his new home at the Waikiki Aquarium and guests can visit him throughout the year along with the Aquarium’s additional resident Hawaiian Monk Seal, Maka. www.waquarium.org

Explore an ancient Hawaiian rainforest and set of extinct cinder cones on Bike Hawaii’s hike and bike adventure. The tour includes a guided 2.25-mile moderate hike and 5-mile paved downhill bike ride through the Koolau rainforest. www.BikeHawaii.com

Legends in Concert Waikiki debuted its “Rock-a“Hula” show at the Royal Hawaiian Center in December 2011. The show features performances by tribute artists like Elvis Presley, Elton John, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. Legends in Concert Waikiki is open year-round with show performances six nights a week (dark Mondays) and offers cocktail and dinner packages. www.legendsinconcert.com

On April 21, the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives will unveil a new tour of the 1821 Mission House. The tour will include a new interpretive program and vignettes of cultural connection in each room where the missionaries and Native Hawaiians shared revealing moments of collaboration. www.missionhouses.org

The new Lani Misalucha Show has opened in Waikiki at the Magic of Polynesia Showroom at the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort. Presented by Roberts Hawaii, the show is available five nights a week through March 2012. www.laniinwaikiki.com


Restaurants & Cuisine

Oahu is known for its diverse culture, which is exhibited by the island’s assortment of foods. With wonderful choices and a vibrant array of cuisine options, there’s sure to be a restaurant for everyone.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort will expand its dining options with a Mediterranean dining concept slated to open in July. Another change to the hotel’s dining options includes renovations to the lobby’s iconic open air lounge, The Veranda. Everything from the floors to furniture is undergoing a complete makeover, and is scheduled for a grand opening in April. www.kahalaresort.com 

Surfer, The Bar, a new bar collaboration between Turtle Bay Resort, on Oahu’s North Shore, and Surfer magazine opened in November 2011. The new venue is a gathering place for North Shore surf legends, friends, fans and family to enjoy food and drinks and unique entertainment ranging from the “Talk Story” series and featured music performances to the North Shore Surf Film Festival and a lineup of hosted parties by the biggest brands in the world of surf. www.surferthebar.com

Five Star International Buffet, located at the Royal Hawaiian Center, opened in December 2011. The buffet offers a tasting menu featuring gourmet cuisine from Hawaii and around the globe, including house specialties, fresh seasonal dishes made with locally-raised seafood and produce, and savory desserts. www.fivestarwaikiki.com

Chinatown’s newest addition to its extensive and hip restaurant lineup is RaKuen Sushi Lounge located on Bethel Street. The Lounge’s contemporary sushi and drink menu was created by Chef Stephen Hamada, formerly of Chai’s Island Bistro.

Visitors and locals can enjoy the same delicious fresh fish at Nico’s Pier 38 in a new and bigger location. Just footsteps away from its old location, the new restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, live entertainment, a fish market and an extensive menu with items ranging from the popular furikake ahi plate lunch to Nico’s Bouillabaisse with fish and mussels. http://nicospier38.com

Iron Chef, Chef Hiroyuki Sakai recently announced plans to open his first U.S. restaurant in Hawaii. Sakai of Hawaii will be a café-style restaurant located in DFS Galleria in Waikiki and is slated to open this summer. Chef Sakai’s restaurant will serve brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is introducing several special events beginning this spring. In May, an exclusive wine tasting will feature Australian winemaker Kym Tolley from Penley Estates. Together with Executive Chef Sven Ullrich, Tolley will present his favorite wines with flavorful dishes and include special winery varietals brought specifically for the dinner. In April, May, and June, Chef Ulrich will partner with local farms and fishermen to present a special holiday menu for Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Japengo is also home to Waikiki’s newest LGBT event, Blu Dragon. Every third Friday from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. enjoy exotic cocktails, sushi and great music. http://waikiki.hyatt.com   

 

Shopping
Oahu is home to hundreds of fashionable designer stores as well as markets that carry locally made crafts.  Visitors are sure to love the shopping experience no matter where they go.

Ward Centers recently welcomed Hawaii’s first Men’s Wearhouse to its family of more than 135 shops and restaurants. Other recent store openings at Ward Centers include locally owned boutiques Leloa Baby Collections and Keiki Boutique at Ward Centre and Basique Threads at Ward Warehouse. Leloa Baby Collections and Keiki Boutique offers infant to toddler wear and accessories, stylish gear and apparel for mothers, innovative baby essentials, and nursery décor. Basique Threads is a trendy boutique that sells contemporary, urban, fashion-forward men’s and women’s apparel and accessories. www.wardcenters.com

Locally owned island fashion boutique, Island Fashions, is now open at Royal Hawaiian Center. Featuring a variety of women’s clothing, from beautifully hand-painted shawls and jackets by Adore that can be worn multiple ways, to casual printed tops and dresses. The boutique also offers fashion accessories, jewelry and handbags to dress up any outfit, as well as a selection of men’s shirts and hand-painted t-shirts for children. www.royalhawaiiancenter.com


Festivals and Events                                                                                                      
Oahu is home to the largest number of festivals and events in Hawaii. Each year, visitors have the opportunity to connect with the local community and experience renowned events that showcase the island’s rich arts and culture scene, the world’s top amateur and professional sporting competitions and championships, and the many ethnic celebrations that are exclusive to Hawaii.

The Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) Spring Showcase, held April 13-19, is dedicated to the advancement of understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America through the medium of film. HIFF showcases

The LPGA Lotte Championship will hold its inaugural tournament at Ko Olina Golf Club from April 18-21. The 72-hole event will be shown on the Golf Channel, with the final round to be broadcast live in Asia. www.koolinagolf.com 

The 20th Annual “I Love Kailua” Town Party is scheduled to take place this year on April 22. The family-friendly block party features dozens of restaurants, merchants, artists and crafters who bring food, fun and festivities to Kailua Road.  www.lanikailuaoutdoorcircle.org

The 10th Annual Waikiki SPAM® Jam on April 28 will feature a variety of Honolulu’s finest restaurants serving up SPAM®-inspired creations. Two entertainment stages provide non-stop entertainment ranging from hula dancers to local musicians, and merchandise vendors sell SPAM®-themed items and Hawaiian crafts. Proceeds from the event benefit the Hawaii Food Bank. www.spamjamhawaii.com

Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit seeking to end childhood hunger, will launch its inaugural Taste of the Nation Hawaii event in Honolulu on April 29. This culinary event will take place at the Bishop Museum and feature drinks and dishes prepared by Hawaii’s hottest mixologists and chefs, using fresh, local ingredients. Additional event highlights include live entertainment and a silent auction. www.hawaiitaste.org

The Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists will present the 2nd Annual Mele Mai, a month-long celebration of Hawaiian music, in May 2012. Mele Mei will encompass more than 30 workshops, concert performances and other events, and will culminate with the 35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on May 27. www.melemei.com 

On May 1, Queen Kapiolani Park and Bandstand in Waikiki will be filled with food booths, live entertainment and a lei-making contest for the annual Lei Day Celebration. The event is followed by an honoring of Hawaii’s alii (royalty) at Mauna Ala and Kawaihao on May 2. Lei Day was created to celebrate the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. This year marks the 85th anniversary of the celebration of Lei Day in Hawaii. www.honoluluparks.com

The annual Hawaii Book & Music Festival, presented by Bank of Hawaii, takes place on May 5 and 6, on the spacious grounds of the Honolulu Hale civic center. This free family-friendly festival includes presentations by national and local best-selling authors, live music and hula, and more. www.hawaiibookandmusicfestival.org

The We Are Samoa Festival at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which features the 20th Annual World Fireknife Championship and High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, will take place from May 9-12. At the 20th Annual World Fireknife Championship, dancers of all ages showcase their mastery of Samoan fireknives, in which acrobatic moves and death-defying tricks combine with ancient Samoan culture. Held in conjunction with the World Fireknife Championship, the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival is an event in which Hawai‘i high school students demonstrate their own cultural knowledge of Samoan traditions with exhibitions in basket weaving, coconut husking, fire making, and more.  www.polynesia.com

Hundreds of hula dancers from around the world will gather at the Hawaii Convention Center for the 6th Annual Waikiki Hula Conference, May 11-13. The conference includes 80 workshops and seminars that cover all aspects of hula, from making authentic implements to learning hula from award winning teachers. Registration is open to the public. www.waikikihulaconference.com

Wine aficionados and foodies can enjoy three days of wining and dining at the Hawaii Food & Wine Paradise, May 17-19. A portion of the proceeds from this event is donated to scholarship programs for Leeward Oahu youth and the Leeward Community

From May 19-20, thousands of triathletes will travel from around the world to visit Oahu and compete in the Honolulu Triathlon. The Olympic distance triathlon features a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run that begins and ends at Ala Moana Beach Park. www.honolulutriathlon.com

On Memorial Day, May 28, thousands of people will gather at Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park to honor ancestors and loved ones who have passed away at the annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. At sundown, more than 3,000 candlelit lanterns will be set afloat on the ocean, a traditional Buddhist rite originating in Japan. The ceremony is based on the theme “Many Rivers, One Ocean,” and serves to honor those who have sacrificed their lives in war, pay respect to ancestors and loved ones who have passed away, and pray for a harmonious and peaceful future. The ceremony will also feature live entertainment by local and international musicians, as well as inspiring speeches.  www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com

Memorial Day weekend will mark the 50th anniversary for the USS Arizona Memorial. Special events to honor this milestone include a musical salute, special books signings, ceremonies open to the public, and more. Visitors hoping to sign up for the USS Arizona Memorial Tour, the Visitor Center’s official audio tour and the new Passport to Pearl Harbor program ahead of time, can do so through the National Park Service’s new reservations program for individuals and groups. Reservations are available starting March 7 online at www.Recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. www.pacifichistoricparks.org

The 23rd Annual Rainbow Film Festival, happening May 31-June 3, serves to educate and raise community awareness about gay and lesbian culture, arts and lifestyle through independent films shown at the Doris Duke Theatre. Locally submitted films are also featured and supported by the festival. www.hglcf.org

The 33rd Annual Pan-Pacific Festival, happening June 8-10, is an international cultural celebration featuring a weekend of festivities that include Pacific Rim cultural performances, demonstrations, hula, food, and hoolaulea (block party). The event culminates with a colorful parade with thousands of participants in lively costumes marching down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki. www.pan-pacific-festival.com

The 96th Annual King Kamehameha Floral Parade on June 9 is a colorful celebration honoring the reign of King Kamehameha, who was responsible for uniting the Hawaiian Islands under his rule in 1795. The parade features brightly decorated floats, energetic marching bands and traditional pau riders who represent a Hawaiian royal court on horseback. http://hawaii.gov/dags/kamehameha

For the 21st consecutive year, Ala Moana Center will present locals and visitors with one of the largest 4th of July fireworks shows in the country. The Ala Moana Center Fireworks Show will offer a full weekend of festivities, including live entertainment and a mall-wide shopping savings pass. www.alamoanacenter.com

The 13th Annual Te Mahana Hiro‘a Tumu O Tahiti, the largest Tahitian dance competition in Hawaii, returns to the Polynesian Cultural Center, July 6-7. This event will showcase the skill of dancers dedicated to preserving the art, culture and traditions of Tahiti. Attracting visitors and locals alike, this festival features tamarii (youth) and taurearea (adults) from all over Hawaii as they dance to the sounds of Tahiti ranging from slow melodies to rapid beats. www.polynesia.com

The Hawaii All-Collectors Show takes place July 20-21 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. This annual collectibles and antiques show and sale features more than 200 booths and one of the largest selections of Hawaiiana. www.ukulele.com

Moanalua Gardens Foundation invites you to experience “Lau Kanaka Ka Hula,” the 35th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, on July 21, at Moanalua Gardens. Watch Hawaii’s premier hula schools, learn Hawaiian crafts, shop at our craft fair and sample local cuisine. www.moanaluagardensfoundation.org

Experience a broad spectrum of traditional, contemporary and ethnic arts at the 15th Annual Haleiwa Arts Festival Summer Event, July 21-22, in the historic town of Haleiwa. This event includes visual artists, musicians, singers, dancers, demonstrations, storytelling, student art displays, historical trolley tours and children’s arts and crafts. Browse and purchase unique works by artists of all ages and cultural backgrounds. www.haleiwaartsfestival.org

On July 22, thousands will gather at Kapiolani Park for the 42nd Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii. The free festival is hosted by local ukulele legend Roy Sakuma and showcases the finest ukulele players from around the world, along with national celebrities, Hawaii’s top entertainers, and an ukulele orchestra of more than 800 students, mostly children. The festival benefits Ukulele Festival Hawaii, a charitable non-profit organization. www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org

From Aug. 3-4, the Polynesian Cultural Center will hold Te Manahua: Maori Song and Dance Festival. Witness the fierce strength and pride of the Maori warriors as they command attention with their melodic voices and passionate demonstrations of the traditional haka (male posture dance) and poi (dance with implements). www.polynesia.com

The Made in Hawaii Festival, a three-day celebration highlighting the unique products of Hawaii, will take place from Aug. 17-19. More than 400 exhibitors offer a wide variety of items made and grown in Hawaii, including art, clothing, food, home furnishings, jewelry, toys, fresh produce, plants, and authentic Hawaiian handicrafts. The festival also includes performances by award-winning entertainers and cooking demonstrations by Hawaii’s top culinary artists. www.madeinhawaiifestival.com

The 30th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival, happening Aug. 19, will celebrate the cultural importance of the unique acoustic guitar art form of “Ki hoalu,” which means “loosen the key.” The festival takes place at Kapiolani Park and features performances by well-known slack key musicians. www.slackkeyfestival.com

Duke’s OceanFest, a weeklong festival held Aug. 18-26, features a variety of exciting water sports competitions, including longboard surfing, surf polo, swimming, standup paddling, and other events that pay tribute to the local waterman. The festivities culminate with the Duke’s Statue lei draping ceremony on Aug. 24, the anniversary of his birthday. www.dukefoundation.org

The Greek Festival, held at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park, celebrates Greek culture with ethnic food, live entertainment, cultural booths, and more. The popular annual festival happening Aug. 25-26 is sponsored by the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral. www.greekfestivalhawaii.com


Miscellaneous
Beginning June 4, Hawaiian Airlines will add daily nonstop flights between Honolulu and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Hawaiian Flight 50 will depart Honolulu at 3:05 p.m. and arrive in New York City at 6:55 a.m. the following morning; Flight 51 will depart JFK at 10 a.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 3 p.m. The route will add 107,000 new air seats annually. www.hawaiianairlines.com

United Airlines will offer non-stop service from Honolulu to Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport starting in June. The new daily route will provide an estimated $135 million in visitor spending and $14 million in tax revenue to Hawai‘i’s economy annually. www.united.com

Alaska Airlines is launching new daily, nonstop service from Oakland and San Jose, Calif. to Honolulu, starting April 10. This complements Alaska Airlines’ existing daily Honolulu flights from Anchorage, Alaska; Bellingham and Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; and San Diego, Calif. www.alaskaair.com

Roberts Hawaii now offers a new mobile site that lets customers book their airport shuttle using mobile devices like smartphones and iPads. The service is available for booking reservations on the Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle, for ground transportation between Honolulu International Airport and Waikiki. www.rhshuttle.com or www.robertshawaiiexpress.com

All information is subject to change without notice.  For more information, please go to http://visit-Oahu.com, follow OVB’s tweets at www.twitter.com/OahuVB, or become a fan of Oahu on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OahuHawaii.

# # #