Media site

The Islands of Hawaii

Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations, Inc.
Sonja Swenson
Senior Vice President
(808) 523-8802

For Immediate Release

December 17, 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 updates with Oahu’s Hotels & Resorts, Activities & Entertainments, Restaurants, Cuisine & Chefs, Shopping, Festivals & Events and Miscellaneous information, which includes airline and transportation updates.

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.
•     Turtle Bay Resort will be embarking on a multi-million dollar renovation of all of its 397 standard and premium guest rooms and hallways, the Spa Luana and fitness center, two restaurants, as well as improvements to the main building. The renovation will be completed in phases to minimize impact on guests, with little disruption expected in public or exterior areas of the resort. The resort is also offering a new “Unwind with Equine” package, perfect for horse enthusiasts looking to relax on the North Shore. The three-night package takes guests on a horseback journey along the sandy coastline and into a forest of ironwood trees perfect for a private yoga session and lunch. 
•     The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s exclusive Alii Tower is currently undergoing renovations with completion estimated in early 2013. The tower’s 322 guest rooms and 12 suites will receive new bathrooms, finishes and furnishings. The lobby is also undergoing a makeover and will boast a new guest library and lounge area. The resort also unveiled its $7.5 million renovation of its famed Coral Ballroom in Sept. Upgrades to the carpeting, chandeliers, bathrooms and lighting give the 27,054 square-foot ballroom a contemporary Hawaiian look.
•    Guests booking seven nights or more at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk will receive two tickets to dine and play at the acclaimed Waikiki Starlight Luau® at Hilton Hawaiian Village, along with a complimentary souvenir photo to take the memories home. These perks are part of the hotel’s new “Hokunanai Luau” package.
•     The Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club is offering their guests a third night free when booking the “Prince Winter Escape” promotion. Rates start at $295. Prince Preferred members staying five nights or more will receive 2,500 Hawaiian Miles.

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.
•     After more than six months of anticipation, the Polynesian Cultural Center is unveiling the newly rebuilt Hawaii Village. The village redesign is reflective of an ahupuaa, a land division used by ancient Hawaiians, usually extending from the uplands to the sea. The village features new activities, architecture and exhibits. Two vital elements of Hawaiian life, loi kalo, an irrigated terrace used to grow taro, and loko ia, fishpond, have also been included.
•     Visitors will now be able to explore areas never before available during the Battleship Missouri Memorial’s Heart of the Missouri Tour. On this tour, visitors will be able to access the boiler, plotting and engine rooms as well as receive hands-on training with lessons on lighting one of the eight, three-story Babcock and Wilcox boilers and adjusting throttles that control the massive propellers.
•    Wild Side Specialty Tours now offers Waikiki departures for its whale-watching experiences. The tour called “Tails of Hawaii” is a three-and-a-half-hour charter that stays relatively close to shore and can include snorkeling. The “Whale-opolis” seven-hour charter sails down to the Penguin Banks, bearing the highest concentration of humpback whales in Hawaii.
•    Pacific Historic Parks is now offering a $500 “Behind the Scenes” escorted tour for families and small groups of ten or less, at the USS Arizona Memorial and the new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The $500 fee is used as a donation toward the restoration of the USS Arizona Memorial and is tax deductible.
•    E Noa Tours will launch an exciting new twist on a Pearl Harbor Tour with its new “From Paradise To War” tour, starting on Jan. 1.  A 1941 era character guides guests on this living history tour, telling stories and imagining life as it was in Hawaii on Dec. 6, 1941. The tour goes through the downtown “Servicemen’s Domain” district before visiting the USS Oklahoma and USS Arizona Memorials.
•    Segway of Hawaii is excited to announce that all of its tours and glide rides will now begin at their new Segway of Hawaii Tour Center - located at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Visitors and kamaaina can now enjoy two new tour offerings including a three-hour Magic Island and Waikiki Glide Ride and a two-hour Sunset to Diamond Head Tour.
•    It’s a “Rock-A-Hula” at the Legends in Waikiki Concert. Talented tribute artists bring the best of yesteryear to life through realistic performances by artists including Elton John, Lady Gaga, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson at the Royal Hawaiian Theatre.

Restaurants, Cuisine & Chefs
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 and Resort is proud to introduce Arancino at the Kahala, a new fine-dining restaurant serving up Italian cuisine. The restaurant focuses on food from the Naples region and includes a wood-burning pizza oven, display kitchen and private dining room. For a true Italian dining experience, diners can eat on the outside patios—alfresco style.
•    A Waikiki staple for over 37 years, Eggs ‘n Things has now expanded its reach opening a third location at Ala Moana Center. Their convenient new location just outside the hustle and bustle of Waikiki is perfect for shoppers who want breakfast any time of day. 
•    Vintage Cave, a private members only restaurant, recently opened at Ala Moana Center. For the first year, the public is invited to experience the world-class wine selection and intricately prepared tasting menu. Membership rates start at $5,000 up to $500,000, which includes a personal storage area in the restaurant’s wine cellar.
•    A new addition to Chinatown’s diverse lineup of dining options recently opened on Pauahi Street. HASR Bistro, formerly Grand Café and Bakery, serves up French inspired food created by Executive Chef Rodney Uyehara.
•    Sushi and sake has long been an irresistible combination and now guests can enjoy Doraku Sushi’s newest location at the Pacifica Honolulu in Kakaako. This wildly popular sushi restaurant is based on the Japanese style of Izakaya dining. The dishes are designed for sharing and utilize as many fresh and local ingredients as possible.
•    Chef Chai Chaowasaree closes the doors to Chai’s Island Bistro after 14 years at Aloha Tower. Chef Chai’s latest endeavor will open in Feb. at the Pacifica condo tower on Kapiolani Boulevard. The restaurant will feature an intimate setting and upscale modern décor to go with the new, healthier menu.
•    The Miyako Restaurant at The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel recently appointed Shintaro Kuwabara as Executive Chef. Chef Kuwabara began his career in 2001 where he worked in premier Japanese restaurants.  At the Miyako Restaurant he will share his culinary expertise including some of his specialties such as sushi, soba, and udon dishes.
•    Outrigger Reef on the Beach, is proud to welcome Guido Ulmann as the new executive chef at the Kani Ka Pila Grille. Ulmann has been an active part of the Hawaii food and hospitality industry for many years and is an accomplished chef with numerous awards.

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.
•    Looking for the latest in upscale children’s beachwear and resort attire? Check out L’il Nell’s Clothes for the Curious Kid at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Resort buyer Barbara Cipro and retail manager Melissa Rocha will be stocking the new boutique with swim wear, quality souvenirs and beach toys for kids. 
•    Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki is proud to announce that locally-owned Island Slipper will be joining their extensive retail lineup. Specializing in men’s and women’s sandals, Island Slipper will be bringing their sandal and tradition of over 60 years to the Center in early 2013.
•    The Face Shop recently opened its second location at Ward Warehouse. This popular Korea-based retailer offers everything from skin care and cosmetics to accessories and hair and body care. Popular products include moisturizing skin care, hydrating facemasks made with fruit and vegetable extracts and lightening creams.
•    Follow the girls of Roam Hawaii around the island for handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces from the North Shore of Oahu. This mobile marketplace offers handmade clothing, bikinis, jewelry and more.
•    Recently opened Kailua boutique, Maya Bella, is all about versatility, allowing you to take the beach by day and the town by night. Specializing in women’s clothes, the boutique provides unique fashion for the modern woman.

Festivals & 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.
•    Each winter, the world’s best big wave surfers are invited to Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore to compete in the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational In Memory of Eddie Aikau. The Eddie can only be held when surf measures at least 20-feet (Hawaiian scale) for a full day. The holding period for the event is between Dec. 1 and the last day in February. When the surf is big enough, thousands flock to watch the likes of Kelly Slater and Bruce Irons compete in this prestigious surfing competition.
•    The Sony Open in Hawaii kicks off the PGA Tour by bringing 144 of the world’s best professional golfers to Oahu’s exclusive Waialae Country Club, Jan. 7-13. Past participants include notable golfers including 2005 winner, Vijay Singh, 2003 and 2004 winner, Ernie Els, and Hawaii’s own Michelle Wie and Tadd Fujikawa. The six-day event is one of the largest charity events in the state of Hawaii.
•    Polynesian Cultural Center will host the 23rd Annual Moanikeala Hula Festival on   Jan. 19. Hawaiian tradition and artistry come to life as dancers of all ages from hula halau, hula schools, from across Hawaii and Japan captivate crowds in this stunning hoike, exhibition.
•    The surfing world kicks off the 2013 year with the Volcom Pipe Pro from Jan. 27-Feb. 7. Held at the world’s most famous and dangerous surf spot, Banzai Pipeline, this event attracts a world-class field of highly ranked pro surfers. Surfers will be competing for a stake in the $130,000 prize purse, as well as vital points on the ASP World Tour.
•    The Battleship Missouri Memorial celebrates the 69th anniversary of the USS Missouri (BB-63) christening and the 14th anniversary of the ship’s opening as a memorial in Pearl Harbor. As a mahalo for the support, the Memorial is offering free admission for kamaaina and military with valid I.D. on Feb. 2.
•    Top musicians from Hawaii and Japan will perform at the First Annual Hawaii Ukulele Museum Benefit Concert on Feb. 9 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The concert is part of the Ukulele Picnic Weekend, the largest annual ukulele festival in Hawaii. The star studded concert will include performances by BEGIN, a popular group from Okinawa, Raiatea Helm, Ho'okena, Benny Chong, Byron Yasui, the Ukulele Orchestra from Japan, and more.
•    The Waikiki Aquarium will again host this year’s Aloha Koi Society Koi Show on Feb. 16 and 17. This event will feature an exhibition of top-quality koi, cultural entertainment and crafts, educational seminars and a silent auction.
•    Dole Cannery Shops will host the 3rd Annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival on Feb. 23. Chocolate lovers can learn the steps that go into making this sweet treat from start to finish. There will be chocolate tastings, guest speakers, chocolate inspired spa lounge, chocolate garden, coco café and tea house, live entertainment, and more. The festival was created to raise awareness about Hawaii’s growing cacao industry and to solidify chocolate as the state’s newest ‘ambassador of aloha.’
•    Turtle Bay Resort will host the first-ever Wanderlust Oahu Festival, a one-of-a-kind yoga and music festival, from Feb. 28-March 3. The festival will host yogis from all over the world including world-famous surfing legend Gerry Lopez and North Shore surf pro Rochelle Ballard to teach alongside its incredible lineup of top mainland professionals.
•    Enjoy free cultural entertainment, exhibits, games, and workshops celebrating the people of Asia Pacific at the 19th Annual Honolulu Festival, taking place March 1-3, at the Hawaii Convention Center. Hawaii’s premier cultural festival also features the highly anticipated Waikiki Grand Parade along Kalakaua Avenue, followed by the spectacular Nagaoka Fireworks Show over the skies of Waikiki Beach. New this year is Hawaii’s first “Honolulu Rainbow Ekiden” relay race through Waikiki on March 3.
•    Ala Moana Center’s annual week-long spring shopping event, Shop a Le‘a, returns March 18-24. This event presents locals and visitors with more than 150 experiences in fashion, health and beauty, active lifestyle, home décor, travel, and cuisine. Included as part of the Shop a Le‘a lineup are fashion shows and trunk shows, exclusive products, Centerstage events, gifts-with-purchase, mall-wide shopping and dining offers, and much more.

•    On Nov. 27, Hawaiian Airlines launched nonstop flights between Honolulu and Brisbane, Australia. Hawaiian Flight 443 will depart Honolulu at 10:20 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrive in Brisbane at 4 p.m. the following day. The airlines also announced that it plans to launch nonstop service between Auckland, New Zealand and Honolulu in March followed by nonstop service between Taipei, Taiwan and Honolulu in July.
•    On Feb. 7 Allegiant Airlines will begin service between Honolulu and Mesa, Arizona. The new route will operate three times a week and opens up access to and from Arizona’s third-largest city. Mesa will be the second city in Arizona with direct service to Hawaii.

All information is subject to change without notice.  For more information, please go to, follow OVB’s tweets at, or become a fan of Oahu on Facebook at, and follow OahuVB on Instagram.

# # #