Fairmont Kea Lani

Why Here?
Hotels all across the 50th state are making serious investments to keep the destination fresh for groups. Major projects in the works include a $100 million refurbishment at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach and a $70 million upgrade at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui (above).

Try These Activities
The Princeville Makai Golf Club in Kauai is now offering self-guided golf-cart tours at sunset. Guests have 90 minutes to explore the scenic vistas of the famed Makai Course, which overlooks Hanalei Bay.

North Kohala Farm Tours on the Big Island lets groups experience the farm-to-table movement firsthand with tours and culinary events.

Light Show
Every Memorial Day, some 40,000 people gather on Oahu's south shore to release lanterns onto the water. The ceremony is a show of gratitude to those who came before us.

Paths Less Traveled
Kapohokine Adventures on Hawaii Island offers small group tours of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in areas not typically seen by visitors.


Local Update
 The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is expected to  complete a $100 million renovation of its 1,230 guest rooms this month. The property also expanded its outdoor Na Lea Terrace for private events and group meetings. In all, the resort offers 19,500 square feet of function space.

 The 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has finished a five-month, $21 million renovation of its 17-story Diamond Head Tower. The project refurbished all 380 tower guest rooms, corridors and the lobby, incorporating natural and indigenous-inspired textiles. The property has more than 150,000 square feet of function space.

 The 558 Tower and Diamond Wing rooms and suites at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, have been refreshed and now feature contemporary Hawaiian designs and new bathroom fixtures. The property, which opened in 1901, has a total of 793 guest rooms, 10,782 square feet of function space, a spa with 14 treatment rooms, and a 1,400-square-foot fitness center.

 The 1,142-room Sheraton Princess Kaiulani recently completed a $2 million renovation, which included enhancements to its lobby, restaurants, fitness center and business center. Guest rooms have new flat-screen televisions, carpeting and bathroom fixtures. The property features 11,500 square feet of meeting space.

 The 317-room DoubleTree by Hilton Alana Waikiki has revamped its seventh-floor function room, which now sports floor-to-ceiling glass windows, upgraded lighting, and new carpeting and wall coverings. Meeting space at the hotel totals approximately 10,000 square feet.

 Slated to debut in mid-2015 is a new Courtyard by Marriott Laie on the North Shore of Oahu. The 144-room property will be adjacent to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie and will include a swimming pool, a bistro and meeting space; further details to come.

 The Ala Moana Center is undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion to redevelop the west wing into an expanded three-level retail space totaling 650,000 square feet. Among the stores coming to the venue is a Bloomingdales, along with various dining and entertainment outlets.

 In West Oahu, a 1.4 million-square-foot mall is slated to debut in 2016. The mixed-use center will include 150 shopping, dining and entertainment offerings, including fashion retailers such as Macy's, H&M, Forever 21, Banana Republic and Gap. Hawaii's first Hampton Inn & Suites, which will have 175 guest rooms, also will debut as part of the complex.

Meeting Hotels: Properties on Oahu include the 2,860-room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki 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 Waikiki.

To find and compare properties, and send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

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: The Hawaii Convention Center now allows for private dinner-party programs atop its beautifully landscaped 2.5-acre rooftop garden. The Hanohano Rooftop Barbeque Under the Stars includes a dinner buffet with a sumptuous array of grilled island fish, expansive views of the Honolulu city skyline and live entertainment. A minimum of 300 guests is required. (808) 943-3500

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

Spotlight On Kauai
The 602-room Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa has invested $1.2 million to refresh its dining offerings, which include a new contemporary poolside restaurant with a vintage surf-shack vibe. Stevenson's Library, an elegant late-night spot, has unveiled a new 27-foot-long sushi bar. The property has 24,000 square feet of meeting space and an additional 40,000 square feet of outdoor event space.

The 356-room Kauai Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach recently completed $50 million in upgrades that included enhancements to its Kauai and Puna Ballrooms. The resort has a total of 27,768 square feet of function space.

The Kauai Museum in Lihu'e is undergoing its largest renovation since opening nearly half a century ago. The project is upgrading various galleries to present more displays about long-ago life on the island, including the facade of an authentic grass hut, a vintage fishing canoe and more.


Local Update
 At the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka'anapali on the island's western coast, all 533 rooms and suites in the Ocean Tower were renovated last year in a project that cost approximately $70 million. The rooms received new furnishings, state-of-the-art electronics, bathrooms, and balconies with panoramic views of Ka'anapali Beach and the West Maui Mountains. The property has 759 guest rooms in all and more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space for meetings and events. This past December, hotel management announced plans for an additional $55 million project that will expand the resort's meeting space, spa and parking facilities. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.

 The 450-room Fairmont Kea Lani Maui has completed a $70 million renovation across its 22 acres. Among the project's highlights are a $5.1 million rebuild of the Ko restaurant, a new 9,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa, and a revamp of the resort's luxury suites and villas. Other work included enhancements to all corridors, landscaping and public areas, plus a new restaurant and swim-up bar. The property has 36,000 square feet of function space.

 The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui's North Ka'anapali Beach finished a multimillion-dollar renewal project this past December. Extensive renovations at the 1,021-room property included fresh exterior painting; new carpeting, blackout drapes and sheers; upgraded lighting fixtures; new HD televisions and sleeper sofas, and more.

 The 780-room Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is continuing work on several renovation projects, including upgrades to all guest rooms, which will receive enhanced high-speed Internet capabilities, new furniture, 55-inch high-definition televisions, power stations on desks and night tables, and new bathroom fixtures. The swimming pools and meeting areas also are being refreshed. The property has a wide variety of indoor and outdoor function spaces, including a 28,000-square-foot ballroom, said to be the largest such facility on Maui.

Meeting Hotels: Among Maui's largest properties are the 806-room Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa; 780-room Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort; 759-room Westin Maui Resort & Spa; 719-room Marriott's Maui Ocean Club; 546-room Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa; 516-room Royal Lahaina Resort; 508-room Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa; 463-room Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; 450-room Fairmont Kea Lani Maui; 432-room Kaanapali Beach Hotel; 413-room Kaanapali Beach Club; 359-room Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, and 310-room Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

To find and compare properties, and send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Airport Transit: Kahului Airport, about 35 miles east of Kapalua, 30 miles east of Kaanapali and 15 miles north of Wailea-Makena. Transfer cost by taxi, $100 to Kapalua, $85 to Kaanapali and $60 to Wailea-Makena

Taxes: Room tax, 9.25%; sales tax, 4.16%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.42%

Group Venue: Trilogy Excursions now offers a new adults-only dinner sail on its luxury 65-foot catamaran. The 2.5-hour Captain's Sunset Dinner Sail includes a four-course dinner, complete with welcome-aboard cocktails, attentive service and spectacular ocean sunsets. Private group charters  can accommodate groups of up to 310 people. Trilogy also offers a variety of snorkeling and whale-watching excursions around the island. (808) 661-4743

Contact: Maui Visitors Bureau, (888) 918-8444