Palm trees are more popular than ever, in everything from home design to business casual wear. Is it any surprise, then, that the birthplace of the beach surfer style, the paradise of meeting spots, is still drawing droves of conventions as well as adventure travelers?
Ever since their heyday in the fifties, the Hawaiian Islands have been a literal meeting point between East and West. But this bright spot in the Pacific continues to update its tropical image, creating added sophistication and casual elegance to serve the increasingly selective association clientele.
The vibrant city of Honolulu, while celebrating its rich traditions, has embraced the future with everything from a total rehabilitation of the Waikiki beach area to the addition of world-class shopping and accommodations. A fleet of new hotels--both boutique and massive full-service properties--has opened. And those long-popular favorites have renewed themselves, with total facelifts and wholesale renovations, or widespread room makeovers and the addition of state-of-the-art spas and electronics. The AlaMoana shopping complex and culturally rich International Marketplace offer designer boutiques and local treasures; new and long-popular restaurants combine for a dining scene rich in Asian fusion and Pacific bounty.
But what about your meeting? This is a destination that knows you work to get here, and it works equally hard to make you and your attendees glad you made the trip.
It starts in Honolulu, with a slew of hotels and smaller meeting spaces surrounding meeting central: The Hawaii Convention Center. It's not just anywhere in the world that a striking sail-like exterior draws convention-goers in from the 77-degree perfect days. But the tropical sounds of a 70-foot waterfall and lush gardens, complemented by stunning Polynesian art, are the lovely counterpoints that will keep them there--it's simply a beautiful place to do business. In fact, it was rated number one, North America's "most attractive convention center," by Metropoll X. It's a fertile environment for business relationships of all varieties--this "Crossroads of the Pacific" will go a long way to making a Hawaiian convention your best-attended ever.
A convention center that works beautifully
They may be dressed in Hawaiian shirts, but the staff of the Hawaii Convention Center is anything but casual in the service they deliver--transitioning seamlessly from a small meeting to a grand event, or keeping up with the latest technology. And it's all delivered with the Aloha spirit that will make it all seem a breeze.
This massive convention center takes its tagline seriously: Where Business and Aloha Meet. That means you will find great support for your business needs, with more than 150,000 square feet of meeting space and three theaters; state-of-the-art fiber optics, uplinks, ubiquitous dataports, simultaneous translation capability, and professional support that ensures your meeting will be a success.
Award-winning architecture is the hallmark of this $300 million center, which opened in 1998. Taking advantage of its Bali Hai environment, it marries the indoors and outdoors in dramatic open spaces that start the day with morning coffee breaks in Hawaiian style. The two-acre landscaped roof garden terrace lends to those evening receptions, with cool ocean breezes, a tropical air right at your meeting spot. And if the high-tech facilities keep them working while they're here, the views from glass-encased meeting rooms will keep your attendees coming back.
This all-purpose convention space will deliver on the main event and serve your small pre- and post-meeting needs with aplomb, with 47 meeting rooms on-site. In addition, more than 30,000 convenient hotel rooms are within a mile of the center (with at least 10,000 committable), adding the possibility of even more breakout meeting spaces.
One of the center's great assets is its link to those hotel rooms, and your attendees, with its exclusive CTV (Convention Television) service. With daily addresses, meeting wrap-ups, and real-time schedules, this extension of the trade show floor space is a hit with CEOs and VIPs--another strong and relaxed way to get their message across even after the meeting-goers have gone back to their hotels.
More than one CEO has called this "the most beautiful convention center in the world." It's an oft-heard refrain; but wait until they head out to experience the rest of the lush state: Kauai's Na Pali Coast, Princeville's great golf courses, the Big Island's live volcano, Maui's lush rainforests, and Lanai's exclusive retreats.
This will be the meeting that everyone in the office fights to attend ... and the Aloha spirit in all the great properties is ready and willing to welcome them.
Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort
The Marriott in the heart of Waikiki just keeps getting better. Two years ago, the hotel renovated all 1,300 rooms in its 30-story grand building overlooking the famed sands. Designed with tasteful Polynesian elegance, many of the deluxe rooms are decked out in Tommy Bahama furniture and accents in shades of bamboo and jungle green. But it didn't stop there. With the addition of the 6,000-square-foot Spa Olakino, created and managed by renowned hair stylist and entrepreneur Paul Brown, the hotel made tired convention-goers (and their spouses) swoon over a papaya and aloe vera massage and more.
New restaurants joined the site as well: the casual Italian Arancino di Mare outdoor cafe opened, as well as D. K. Kodama's popular Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Steak House (there's something for everyone). Pick up some sushi or Asian noodles at Restaurant Run, but save the Moana Terrace for perfect sunset dining.
Whether you take a few laps in the beachside pool or just relax on the balcony, spying on the green turtles out in the surf, this world-class spot--with great shopping and additional dining just steps away on Kalakaua Street--is a great combination with your convention stay.
Visit www.marriott.com or call 800-367-5370.
Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio
Kuhio Street is undergoing its own renaissance, with the city's $19 million beautification plan now wrapping up. And the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio, located in the heart of Oahu's gathering place, is right in step. Now, as Phase One of the hotel's own $15 million renovation is completed, visitors will be greeted with a grand entrance, complete with cascading waterfall and lush gardens. Changes in all the public spaces will further underscore the warm island feel, which is full of hospitality, including the array of convention areas: the 8,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space, and all pre-function areas.
But embracing the natural beauty does not mean going low tech. From the giant plasma television in the lobby to wireless capabilities in most of the meeting areas (with high-speed access in guest rooms), the hotel is grabbing on to the future as well.
Beginning this fall, the hotel's restaurant will undergo a complete redesign, from the theme all the way through the menu, and another 3,000 additional square feet of meeting space will be added as well.
Patsy Narimatsu, director of sales and marketing, says the reaction of groups has been beyond expectations. One meeting planner called it a "hidden jewel," noting its "great price, great property, great location, great service!" For more information, visit www.radisson.com/waikikihi or call 1-808-922-0811.
Oahu's North Coast
Your meeting may begin in Honolulu, but for post-meeting plans--be it breakout sessions or family travel--consider heading upcountry, to the legendary North Shore. Land of surfing villages and bohemian shops, it's also home to one of the island's best-kept secrets.
The Turtle Bay Resort combines the best of old Hawaii and new luxury, overlooking five miles of pristine beach with a spa and world-class golf and tennis. Horseback riding along deserted beaches lets you discover the old Hawaii, as does a trip to the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center. This is the true Hawaii, unspoiled and unrivaled in service. Staffing has been increased, upping the level of service to equal the other amenities. And it's less than an hour from downtown Honolulu.
But state-of-the-art business meetings are part of the package as well. The newly renovated Pacific Rim Conference Center at Turtle Bay Resort provides high-end presentation technology in more than 31,000 square feet of meeting space. Videoconference hosting, high-speed wireless Internet, and a host of other technologies are available. Visit www.turtlebayresort.com, or call 800-203-3650.
The other Hawaiian Islands deliver their own brand of Polynesian charm. The Big Island--with its live volcano and stunning lava fields, petroglyphs, snow-capped mountain, great ranches, and world-class resorts--vies for most-beautiful status with Kauai, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific with lush valleys, not to mention-several golf courses in the world's top 10. The tiny Lanai and Molokai islands are old Hawaii--history come alive.
But Maui is usually the second stop for most Hawaiian travelers. The magic isle, with its own stunning scenery--Haleakala's moon-like crater, Hana's pristine rainforests, and wonderful snorkeling--and equal amounts of activities, great resorts, and enough shopping and restaurants to keep sportspeople and sophisticated shoppers sated.
Two major areas on the island's west coast (the dry side) offer a range of both meeting and leisure choices. To the north is the Kaanapaali coast. And to the south is Wailea, a newer stretch of development along pristine shores, where each hotel is grander than the next. Many of the properties have upgraded, and this year the Wailea Marriott, though already a jewel, is undergoing a major renovation, due to be complete in 2006.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||hotels, resorts and convention centers in Hawaii offering services for meetings management|
|Date:||May 1, 2005|
|Previous Article:||Texas is more than just a state of mind.|
|Next Article:||The downtown hotels of St. Louis: why choose downtown St. Louis for your convention, meeting or trade show?|