It may be a dreamy peaceful paradise but the Hawaiian Islands are anything but idle these days with hotel renovations, improvements, new restaurants, festivals and airline innovations such as Virgin America’s plan to outfit all planes bound for the islands with ViaSat’s hybrid Ku/Ka-band antennas for significantly faster Wi-Fi connectivity (and Internet speeds eight to 10 times faster) to the airline’s 10 new A320 aircrafts. The new equipment will be in place in early 2016. Virgin America will be the first commercial airline to offer an in-flight Wi-Fi service that can operate in both Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks on the same aircraft.
- Travaasa Hana in east Maui has launched a $12 million room restoration project. Leading the redesign of the guest rooms is Hunton Conrad, a Maui-based interior designer known for his landscape artistry. Upon completion, guests can expect the 70 bungalows and suites at the resort to offer a new and enhanced vacation experience. Though changes will be made during the restoration project, all rooms will continue to remain free of radios, clocks and televisions, allowing guests to soak in the natural beauty of Hana. T
- The Hilton Waikiki Beach on Oahu recently unveiled improvements and other new enhancements to the hotel. Newly constructed restrooms and shower facilities on the 10th floor pool deck vastly improve the functionality, comfort and aesthetics of the entire guest experience. In addition, the beautifully hand-tiled pool includes a retiled deck and the installation of ADA-approved access. The main lobby, the lobby bar LBLE and HHonors lounge also received new furniture.
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on Oahu recently got a$21 million face-lift of thje 17-story Diamond Head Tower. The rooms in the Diamond Head Tower now incorporate Hawaii-inspired décor, and new amenities include a lanai (balcony) and bar area.
- On Oahu, an $18 million dollar renovation of the beachfront Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is in progress and when finished in October 2015 will include a dynamic redesign of the resort’s porte cochere, main lobby and front desk area. In addition, the grand Kona Moku Ballroom’s new design concept will include new wall covering, lighting, carpeting, doors, wood paneling, painting and new signage.
- If you’re booked t the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, every room now has a private lanai and the fitness center has been upgraded its workout facility, there ae enhanced amenities at the Anara Spa, and renewed dining spaces at Stevenson’s Library, Ilima Terrace, Poipu Bay Clubhouse, The Dock and Hale Nalu.
- Like bed and breakfast accommodations, you’ll love the Maui’s newest, G & Z Upcountry whicj provides an ideal weekend getaway or romantic retreat without missing the comforts of home. G & Z Upcountry offers a full-sized kitchen, bedroom, living room and bath complete with a private entrance. At an elevation of 3,000 feet, guests can welcome each day with a breathtaking sunrise over Haleakala and watch the sunset fade behind Mauna Kahalawai at duskAqua
- Name change for Hospitality and Aston Hotels & Resorts to the Aqua-Aston Hospitality banner. The group’s five brands include Aston Hotels & Resorts, Aqua Hotels and Resorts, Lite Hotels, Instinct Hotel Collection, and Maui Condo & Home. Aqua-Aston Hospitality has added Ohia Waikiki hotel into its management. The 17-story, 251-room property, formerly known as the Outrigger Surf East, is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation to include a 24-hour restaurant, a lobby seating area with a flat-screen TV, swimming pool, sundeck and bike and surfboard racks. Aqua-Aston.com
- Favorite island chef restaurateur Peter Merriman is opening his eponymous Merriman’s, his eponymous fine-dining restaurant in Honolulu in June 2017 (what a treat, his food is amazing). Merriman’s will serve lunch and dinner showcasing purveyors of island-farmed beef, lamb, sustainably caught seafood, fresh-picked produce and more.
§ Farm to Fork Fridays by the Ocean Pool Bar & Grill at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui is a new weekly series celebrating sustainability. The series spotlights locally infused dishes, which utilize ingredients produced on-island. Guests can savor a two-course chef-inspired main entrée from the Duo menu for $32.
§ Mele at the Moana, a new concert series at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki on Oahu, offers Hawaiian music fans free monthly concerts, featuring some of the Aloha State’s top talent. Scheduled on the last Friday of each month, the events reconnect the present with the hotel’s rich musical past and the extraordinarily popular live radio program, “Hawaii Calls,” which was broadcasted worldwide from the hotel’s famous Banyan Courtyard for 40 years.
§ Burn’n Love, a tribute to Elvis Presley and one of the most popular visitor shows on Maui, recently opened a second show location at the Magic of Polynesia Theatre in the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber on Oahu. Be transported through time, learn a few facts about the King’s visit to Hawaii and enjoy an evening featuring some of his greatest hits.
Airline news you can use
§ Hawaiian Airlines has opened the Plumeria Lounge for business travelers at Honolulu International Airport. It is located on the third floor and features fresh food and self-serve snacks, including pastries from La Tour Café, beer crafted by Maui Brewing Company and wines carefully selected by master sommelier Chuck Furuya. Hawaiian is also starting year around non-stop flights between Kauai and Los Angeles. This route was seasonal to accommodate the holiday rush. Starting in January 2016, this permanent route will offer travelers the choice of three flight options throughout the week.
§ Mokulele Airlines announced an increase of service routes to begin in September adding two daily routes from Molokai and Kona directly. Changes also include retiming Kapalua flights to increase efficiency and convenience for customers. Mokulele Airlines will also extend special keiki discounts throughout the year due to popular demand.
Say Aloha to Hawaii.