Oahu - A Successful Meetings Destination Report

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS March 2007Oahu - A Successful Meetings Destination Report
The island of Oahu, the epicenter of world-class surfing, is now booming with new development along the iconic Waikiki Beach, including a new pedestrian-friendly beach walk boasting five new resorts with nearly 2,000 guest rooms and all-suite condos along with 93,000 sf of new retail, dining, and entertainment options. With spectacular outdoor and water activities islandwide, as well as upscale shopping, award-winning restaurants, and bustling nightlife in Honolulu's revitalized downtown, there's much more to do than just hang ten in the capital of Hawaii.

Essential Tool Box
Convention Facilities:
HONOLULU Hawaii Convention Center, 200,000 sf of dedicated exhibit space; 49 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 1,188 theater-style. NORTH SHORE: Turtle Bay Resort & Conference Center, 31,000 sf of meeting space, 26 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 700 theater-style.
For complete listings, visit Facility Quick Search at www.mimegasite.com
Average Daily Business Travel Costs:
Honolulu: Hotel $195.36 F&B $84.80 Car Rental $89.96
For More Info:
Oahu VB: www.visit-oahu.com
Hawaii VCB: www.meethawaii.com
BusinessAloha: www.businessaloha.com
*Source: Business Travel News 2006 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News
After a decade in planning and 18 months in construction, Waikiki Beach Walk, the largest private development project to be undertaken in Waikiki, opened this season. The $535-million retail, entertainment, and hotel development complex, which transforms nearly eight acres of central Waikiki into a new, pedestrian-friendly gathering place, will include five hotels with nearly 2,000 rooms and suites, and 93,000 sf of retail and dining space in 47 retail stores and 16 dining options. New offerings include: Crazy Shirts, Quiksilver, Tabora Gallery, Mondo Gelato, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and Roy's Waikiki.

Nearby the Beach Walk, the new Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, dubbed "The Rodeo Drive of Waikiki," will feature the largest concentration of luxury flagship retailers in the Hawaiian Islands, including Fendi and Cartier, among others, by midyear. As the grand centerpiece of the Center, The Royal Grove will feature a lush botanical garden highlighting indigenous plants of Hawaii. The new fourth-level showroom in the center's Building B will showcase a nightly performance by Roy Tokujo and his renowned partners from Realisations of Montreal. When the show performances conclude, half of the seating will retract to make way for a nightclub in the style of the MGM Grand's Studio 54, complete with acrobatic performers.

Elsewhere, the Ala Moana Center, next to the convention center, has added 17 new shopping options. New cultural, shopping, and dining opportunities have also blossomed in downtown Honolulu, where art galleries and trendy nightspots have taken hold. Downtown is now offered as an off-site venue or as a "time-off" option.

The Hawaiian VCB and the Hawaii Convention Center have teamed to produce the meetings-oriented website www.businessaloha.com.

Facilities Update The Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa is undergoing a "rejuvenation" project that includes the construction of the 38-story Grand Waikikian time-share tower along Ala Moana Blvd and the rejuvenation of the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is continuing with upgrades to its Rainbow Tower loading dock, Village Green event venue, and room refurbishments in the Tapa Tower.
* In Jun, the 793-room Sheraton Moana Surfrider will be reflagged as a Westin.
* This spring, the 1,695-room Sheraton Waikiki completes a makeover of all 1,481 guest rooms that includes flat-screen TVs and the Sweet Sleeper Bed. (Renovations to suites will begin this fall.)
* The 1,230-room Hyatt Regency Waikiki has debuted a 24-hour fitness center.
* Outrigger Reef on the Beach will open in May 2007 after a $100-million makeover that will add a new Ocean Tower. Scheduled for final completion in 2008, the new property will be ideally situated on Waikiki Beach near the new Waikiki Beach Walk. It will feature 631 remodeled guest rooms and a new signature poolside restaurant.
* The Ilikai hotel has begun renovations to upgrade its 343 guest rooms and add a new full-service spa.
* The 1,154-room Ala Moana Hotel completed a multimillion-dollar guest-room renovation.
* The Embassy Suites-Waikiki Beach Walk opened in Dec with 1,672 sf of meeting space and two all-suite towers, the Hula Tower and the Aloha Tower, which feature 421 one- and two-bedroom suites.
* Construction begins this year on the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which will include 460 luxury hotel-condo units. Completion is slated for early 2009.
* Following a $54-million renovation, the 195-unit time-share Wyndham Waikiki Beach Walk opened in Nov in the former OHANA Reef Towers hotel.
* Following its recent $7-million renovation, Aqua Waikiki Wave is now owned by CR Wave.
* In Dec 2006, Nobu Waikiki opened in the Waikiki Park Hotel.

Recommended for Group Dining
The following restaurants with group facilities have a Zagat rating of 23 and higher for food and service: 3660 on the Rise, Bali by the Sea, and Hiroshi EurasianTapas. For more choices, go to www.zagat.com

Groups Should Consider
Groups should consider this recommendation from the Successful Meetings Home Team experts: The top choice is the 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Contributors to this section include Home Team member Loretta Lowe, CMP. Contact her at [email protected]

On Site: Waikiki
The Royal Treatment
It was at a traditional evening luau at the Hilton Hawaiian Village that I suddenly realized I was going to eat my way through Waikiki.
I was on Oahu, along with 35 meeting planners, for Successful Meetings' Hawaii Marketplace, where workshops and meetings help familiarize planners with venues, properties, dining options, and activities. The Hilton served as the host property, but the next day, the 1,230-room Hyatt Regency Waikiki, which can accommodate smaller meetings in its 10,000 sf of meeting space, hosted a four-course business lunch. The next morning, the 520-room Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, which offers 20,000 sf of indoor and outdoor meeting space, provided a paniolo (cowboy)-themed breakfast in one of its meeting rooms.
We also enjoyed two beachside dinners: The first was under the stars at the 345-room Kahala Hotel, which is a luxurious hotel on Oahu's Gold Coast, featuring 14,000 sf of meeting space, and a 26,000-sf natural lagoon, which is home to six Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. (Dolphin Quest trainers offer daily education programs and in-water encounters for guests.) Our second dinner was at famed Duke's Canoe Club, which is located on Waikiki Beach in the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel and named after surfing legend Duke Kahahnamoku. The restaurant serves seafood, so I tried opah, a local moonfish, and offers delicious Hawaiian specialty drinks and live music on the beach. The closing dinner was hosted by the "Pink Princess," the historic Royal Hawaiian, which provided a disco-themed party with cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres.
In between eating and drinking, we visited the Sea Life Park at scenic Makapu Point, where groups can tailor a private luau-and where I encountered a "wolphin" (hybrid of a whale and dolphin), a massive creature that liked to splash us with the cold water.

Readers Recommend
Our subscribers gave Pinnacle Awards to the following:
Royal Hawaiian
Sheraton Waikiki
For more listings, visit Facility Quick Search at www.mimegasite.com