by Michael C. Lowe | November 01, 2013
Why Here?
Planners bringing groups to the Hawaiian Islands will have their pick of a slew of hotel projects, including a new Joie de Vivre property in Waikiki, major renovations to the Turtle Bay Resort (above) on Oahu's North Shore and the recently opened Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort & Spa.

Surfside Soiree
The 497-room Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Maui features an on-site Te Au Moana Luau -- a spirited event that includes a buffet, craft-making and dancing.

Branching Out
Hawaiian Legacy Tours leads visitors through primeval forests on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island, where the group plants a Koa Legacy Tree.

In the Know
Follow the Hawaii Tourism Authority on Twitter at @HawaiiHTA
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The 1,230-room Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa in September unveiled the new 3,087-square-foot, high-tech Kou Ballroom. The property now offers a total of more than 34,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Turtle Bay Resort is undergoing a $60 million renovation, set to finish by year's end. The project includes upgrades to 397 of 443 guest rooms and an expansion of the Spa Luana to 11,000 square feet. In all, the 840-acre property has 28,000 square feet of conference space.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, unveiled expanded pool and dining options in October. The 21-acre property features 359 guest rooms, 481 two-bedroom villas and 50,000 square feet of meeting space.

In July, the Hawaii Tourism Authority selected Anschutz Entertainment Group to manage the Hawaii Convention Center.

Meeting Hotels
Properties in Honolulu include the 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort; 1,695-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 of Waikiki.

To find and compare properties, and send RFPs, go to

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

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

Group Venue
Established in 1850, the 4,000-acre Kualoa Ranch stretches across steep mountain cliffs to the Pacific Ocean. The working cattle ranch features a variety of venues for events, including a rustic ranch house for up to 1,000 guests, with views of Kane'ohe Bay and Mokoli'i Island. Beachside, a space dubbed the Secret Island can accommodate 500 and offers white sand, kayaking, snorkeling and space for dining tents. (808) 237-8515;

Dining Out
Chef Quinten Frye of Salt Bar and Kitchen received a James Beard Award nod for Rising Star Chef this past year. The Honolulu restaurant offers an inventive take on local ingredients, such as oxtail empanadas with golden raisin chutney, and a pork and lobster pierogi with fennel and charred lime yogurt. (808) 744-7567;

Town Kaimuki in Honolulu is helmed by Ed Kenney, whose rotating menu is based on the availability of indigenous island ingredients. Recent menu highlights have included local pork belly over polenta, and ahi tartare served with a risotto cake and balsamic vinegar. (808) 735-5900;

Oahu Visitors Bureau, (877) 525-6248;