Hawaii

Why Here?

Abundant and unspoiled nature, near-perfect weather, authentic culture, and gorgeous and varied beaches add to the timeless and enchanting appeal of the Hawaiian Islands for meeting, incentive and convention groups.

Only in Hawaii

Catch these waves: Some of most spectacular breakers — and top surfers — in the world can be found during Hawaii’s giant wave season (November to February). Check out the action during the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, a world-class competition held every autumn on Oahu’s North Shore.

Getting Here and There

Oahu: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, eight miles west of the Hawaii Convention Center; transfer cost by taxi, $35; by shuttle, $25 
 
Maui: Kahului Airport, about 33 miles from Kapalua. Transfer cost by taxi, $100; by shuttle, $10-$45 
 
Big Island: Kona International Airport, seven miles from Kailua-Kona. Transfer cost by taxi, $25; by shuttle, $20. Hilo International Airport, two miles east of Hilo. Transfer cost by taxi, $12


Good to Know

Taxes: Oahu room tax, 10.25%; sales tax, 4.71%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.96%
Other islands: Room tax, 10.25%; sales tax, 4.16%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.41%
 
Convention Center: Hawaii Convention Center; exhibit space, 202,249 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 47; (808) 943-3500

Contact: Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, (808) 923-1811


 

Meeting Venues

Recent Additions

• The 563-room Prince Waikiki has completed a $55 million renovation. The hotel also upgraded its meeting space, including the 6,960-square-foot Piinaio Ballroom, and added two meeting rooms.

• The Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu has launched an environmental initiative called Hoomaluo, meaning "to conserve, to use or manage wisely" to reduce waste and conserve resources in each stage of the event process. The program also includes the One Million Trees effort, which lets attendees sponsor trees for reforestation in the state.


• Following a $60 million renovation, the former Aqua Wave Waikiki is now the 251-room Laylow, part of Marriott's Autograph Collection. Upgrades include a rooftop restaurant.

• The 791-room Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach, has completed a $20 million refresh. Guest rooms and the Beach Club have been upgraded. The hotel has a 10,782-square-foot conference area. 

• The 405-room luxury Alii Tower has debuted at the 3,400-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. The tower has its own front desk, concierge and fitness center, and offers guests priority seating at the resort's 20 restaurants and bars.
 
• The 232-room Hapuna Beach Resort Prince Hotel, on the Big Island, became the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort this spring, following a $46 million overhaul. The  property, which has 85,000 square feet of meeting and event space, provides an array of new offerings, including four dining spots: Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill, Ikena Landing and Piko Coffee+Bar. The redesigned guest rooms offer signature Westin-brand furnishings, including Westin Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Showers. Among other enhancements are an adults-only pool; a lobby that include a "living wall" vertical garden and interactive check-in pods; and a variety of new wellness-based areas such as a Crossfit studio, a Westin Workout gym, the Westin Kids' Club and the Hapuna Spa.
 
• The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa at Puu Kekaa on Kaanapali Beach, Maui, has unveiled a $26.5 million upgrade of its 508 guest rooms. The project included modernized bathrooms and living spaces. Also on-site, a new signature restaurant, Rocksalt, led by executive chef Lyndon Honda, serves globally inspired dishes that combine fresh local Hawaiian produce with exotic spices and ingredients, available in small and large plates. Now celebrating its 55th anniversary, the property recently instituted new sustainability measures, banning single-use plastic straws and introducing eco-safe sunscreen, which is complimentary for guests who wish to help preserve the health of the region's coral reef. The resort has approximately 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a business center, a fitness center and a spa.
 
• The Montage Kapalua Bay resort on Maui has completed a redesign of 50 luxury, residential-style accommodations. Overseen by Dallas-based interior and architectural design firm Wilson Associates, the new décor draws inspiration from the land and sea around it, using native koa wood and natural-color flooring balanced with accents of taupe, beige and whites. The property also offers a full-service Spa Montage and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

• The 463-room Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui, has unveiled a propertywide renovation. The resort has 12 meeting rooms and more than 173,000 square feet of outdoor function space. 

Coming Soon

• The 288-room Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, a boutique sister hotel to the neighboring Halekulani resort, will open in Oahu in fall 2019. The property, the former Waikiki Parc Hotel, is currently undergoing a $60 million renovation. When completed, the Halepuna will offer an eighth-floor pool deck and bar, a fitness center and a hospitality lounge. The new lobby will feature custom light fixtures, vaulted ceilings and artwork in partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art. A new full-service restaurant will be adjacent to the lobby, complete with an open-air kitchen, an outdoor terrace surrounded by lush tropical landscaping and a separate chocolate kitchen.
 
• The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is undergoing a $5 million refresh that includes upgrades to its 1,000 guest rooms. The property has a total of 14,000 square feet of meeting space.
 
• The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on on the island of Hawaii will become the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, joining that notable portfolio following a $100 million redesign and renovation set to finish in late 2019. As part of the revamp, the total number of hotel rooms will be reduced, and oceanfront and oceanview suites will be added. The Mauna Lani Bungalows, with their own private pools, butler service and a secluded resort-within-a-resort setting, also will be refreshed.

Things to Do

Get Active

• Hit the boards: Every island offers surfing lessons, where you can learn the basics of the sport that has its roots in the state. Waikiki Beach is still one of the best spots in Hawaii to get on your feet and ride your first wave; one firm to try is Surf SNL.

• Grab your fins: Redline Rafting offers daily snorkeling tours from Maui's south shore to the little-seen backwall of Molokini islet, which is a top-rated dive spot. Guests can snorkel within the crescent-shaped islet's submerged volcanic crater, visit south Maui's Keoneooio Bay and swim in an area known for Hawaiian green sea-turtle sightings.
 
• Climb an icon: Hike to the top of Diamond Head, Hawaii's most recognized landmark, for panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu.

Stay Another Day

• The premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific region, Oahu's Bishop Museum is renowned for its cultural collections, research projects, public education programs and Native Hawaiian artifacts. 

• Once the residence of Hawaii's reigning monarchs, the Oahu's Iolani Palace's grounds and galleries are open to the public.
 
• Spanning 30,004 acres from the Maui coast to its 10,023-foot summit, Haleakala National Park has a larger concentration of endangered species than any other national park. Head there before dawn to savor a spectacular sunrise!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home of Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes and one of Hawaii's most popular visitor attractions, has reopened following its recent closure due to eruptions.

Festival Scene

The annual Ukulele Festival, held each July at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki, celebrates that most Hawaiian of instruments, which actually came to the islands via Portuguese immigrants who settled here in the 19th century.

Local Bites

Hawaiian cuisine at Tin Roof restaurant
Hawaiian cuisine at Tin Roof restaurant

Some the best local cuisine can be found in hole-in-the-wall spots throughout the islands. A few to try:
 
• Sample loco moco — white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and brown gravy — at Café 100 in Hilo, the Big Island town where this comfort-food dish was invented.

• Maui locals head to Tin Roof, owner-chef Sheldon Simeon's version of a mom-and-pop takeout place, for the mochiko fried chicken and pork-belly bowls.
 
• Honolulu's no-frills Ono Seafood (808-732-4806) is worth a stop for its made-to-order shoyu (fermented soy sauce) and spicy ahi poke.
 
• Cool off with a rainbow-hued shave ice at Matsumoto, a legendary confectioner on Oahu's North Shore.