(Pictured) Visiting attendees can always expect a warm welcome in Oahu
Hawaiian for "gathering place," Oahu is home to the state capital of Honolulu plus Waikiki, Diamond Head, the USS Arizona Memorial and other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, botanical gardens, and miles of pristine beaches.
This island features the shopping, dining, and nightlife one might expect from a bustling metropolis -- but also offers history, golf, and some of the best beaches in the world in a picturesque and serene island atmosphere. Snorkeling with turtles, riding the North Shore's famous waves, a vibrant art scene, and the Iolani Palace -- the only royal palace in the United States -- are all experiences groups can enjoy. Sprinkle in the Aloha spirit Hawaii is known for and no need for a passport, and you have an ideal meeting and incentive destination.
Last year, the Hawaii tourism industry set new records with a total of 9.3 million visitors. Also, increased airlift from the mainland in 2017 and beyond from major airline carriers means greater accessibility to the islands.
To enhance a destination that doesn't rest on its laurels, Oahu's hotels and resorts are constantly evolving. Noteworthy projects include the former Pacific Beach Hotel that is now the all-new Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach following a $115 million transformation. In addition to five new culinary concepts, the 839-room resort has nearly 20,000 square feet of redeveloped meeting and event space across a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.
Boasting a destination pool deck along with authentic design touches inspired by Oahu's lush landscape and rich cultural heritage, the property's new name, Alohilani, is Hawaiian for "the heavenly brightness."
The lobby includes the O Bar and its 280,000-gallon saltwater Oceanarium. Home to more than 1,000 species of indigenous marine life, it also includes specially built coral reef formations. The lobby features arrival spaces for groups -- not to mention a business center and boutique shops.
In other hotel news, the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is redesigning its 1,310 rooms. This follows a $22 million transformation that included the Nanea lobby and redesigned event spaces.
The 1,636-room Sheraton Waikiki's meetings and convention spaces are also now boasting a new look, thanks to a $1.4 million revamp. Its almost 26,000-square-foot Hawaii Ballroom is one of the largest in Waikiki.
Located on Oahu's stunning North Shore, the 850-acre Turtle Bay Resort completed a $54 million multiphase renovation. There are 410 refreshed, all-ocean-view guest rooms and suites plus 42 newly designed oceanfront beach cottages. Upgrades also include enhancements to the lobby, restaurants, and bars, and an 11,000-square-foot spa and expanded fitness center with new wellness programming, two swimming pools, and 25,000 square feet of meeting space. Among the numerous other offerings: on-property helicopter pad, horse stables, tennis courts, two championship golf courses, 12 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, off-road Segway tours, a surf school, and eco-kayaking.
More than 28,000 of Waikiki's 30,000 guest rooms sit within a 1.5-mile radius of the 1.1 million-square-foot Hawaii Convention Center, only eight miles from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, and close to some of Hawaii's top attractions.
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This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.