by Michael C. Lowe | November 01, 2015
Why here?
As attendees seek more authentic, immersive experiences, Hawaii has much to offer, from heritage tours to explorations along dramatic coastlines. At day's end, guests can return to newly renovated properties like the Sheraton Waikiki (pictured), which has completed a $188 million room upgrade.

 At the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, guests can stroll over to an observation deck just past Rays on the Bay restaurant and watch manta rays feed beneath the stars.

 Lava illuminates the night sky over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is open 24 hours a day (though park facilities may be closed off-hours). An ongoing mountain eruption dates from 1983 and shows no signs of stopping.

The 258-room Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island has begun a $4.5 million renovation that will add a 4,000-square-foot ballroom. The project will be completed in January 2016.
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Local Update
 The 1,636-room Sheraton Waikiki has completed a $188 million renovation with a theme of "contemporary Hawaiian sophistication." The project included upgrades to guest rooms and suites, public areas and convention facilities and also added two new restaurants. Guest rooms now offer HD TVs, Hawaiian artwork and custom-designed furnishings. The hotel has more than 40,000 square feet of function space, including the nearly 26,000-square-foot Hawaii Ballroom.

 The 1,310-room Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is wrapping up an $18 million renovation this month that includes a redesign of the porte cochere, main lobby and front-desk area. The hotel has a total of more than 50,000 square feet of function space.

 The 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has completed a $21 million renovation of its 17-story Diamond Head Tower. The tower's 380 guest rooms now feature a new color scheme, Hawaiian-inspired furnishings, flat-screen TVs and more. The property offers more than 150,000 square feet of function space.

 The 528-room Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, which opened in 1927 on Waikiki Beach, recently finished a multimillion-dollar renovation of its Mailani Beach Tower, whose 179 guest rooms now sport revamped lanais (balcony terraces) with ocean or pool views. The resort has 16,436 square feet of function space.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort; 1,636-room Sheraton Waikiki; 1,310-room Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa; 601-room Hilton Waikiki Beach; 426-room Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach; 359-room Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa; and 311-room Ambassador Hotel Waikiki.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: Hawaii Convention Center; exhibit space, 204,249 square feet; meeting rooms, 49; (808) 943-3500

Airport Transit: Honolulu International Airport, eight miles west of the Hawaii Convention Center. Transfer cost by taxi, $35

Taxes: Room tax, 9.25%; sales tax, 4.712%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.96%

Group Venue: Nestled in the hills high above Honolulu, the 22-acre Honolulu Ridge is a vintage 1920s estate featuring panoramic views of Oahu's South Shore, including Diamond Head Crater, the Pacific Ocean and the Honolulu skyline. The venue can accommodate up to 200 guests and includes a garden area with Banyan trees and exotic tropical flowers. (808) 589-0456

Contact: Oahu Visitors Bureau, (877) 525-6248