The Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu on the island of Oahu is the largest convention center in state of Hawaii.
For many years, I would drive by the Hawaii Convention Center and appreciated it only from the outside. In 2009 I attended the inaugural multi-day Na Hoku O Hawaii music festival and actually got to explore the facility on the inside. I was impressed all aspects of the Center.
Hawaii Convention Center Facilities
Aesthetically, the Hawaii Convention Center is bright and airy with 49 meeting rooms of various expandable sizes, an impressive 35,000-square-foot ballroom, a 200,000-square-foot exhibition hall, high-tech audiovisual presentation theatres, a $2 million art collection and a beautiful 2.5 acre landscaped rooftop garden as part of its 3.5 acres of terraces, lanais, courtyards.
The Center's glass-walled lobby features a 70-foot misting waterfall and mature palm trees. The foyer is crowned with canvas canopies, reminiscent of ocean white caps and the sails of voyaging canoes such as were manned by the first Polynesians who settled in Hawaii.
The Center is a fully wired building with the latest technological offerings including both wired and wi-fi Internet access, satellite uplink and downlink capabilities, projection equipment and sound systems and simultaneous interpretation rooms. It also has a fully equipped kitchen to service conference attendees.
Following its completion in October 1997 and grand opening in June 2008, the $350 million center received numerous awards for its design and engineering which embraces Hawaii's culture and environment.
In recent years, the Center has received three consecutive "Best in Business Travel Award for Best Conference or Convention Center/City" (2008-2010) as awarded by Business Traveler Magazine through a survey of their subscribers. It has also been voted the most beautiful convention center in the world by The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).
For 13 straight years the Center has received the "Prime Site Award" from Facilities & Destinations Magazine and decided by meetings and conventions industry leaders directly involved with site selection, including promoters, booking agents, and event planners. Voting is based on convenience of location, cuisine, facility attractiveness and maintenance, professionalism of staff and technological capabilities.
While it is not as large as many convention centers on the mainland, more people have probably seen the Hawaii Convention Center (and not realized that they had) than most other bigger and more well known centers. It was used frequently as the set for Sydney Airport in the TV series LOST (view image).
The Hawaii Convention Center is conveniently located along the western bank of the Ala Wai Canal adjacent to Waikiki and its thousands of hotel and resort rooms.
Conference attendees who are staying in Waikiki have numerous options when traveling to and from the center.
From a number of accommodations on the western end of Waikiki, it's an easy 5-10 minute walk. The center is with 1.5 miles of all 28,000 hotel rooms in Waikiki and can also be reached by Oahu's public transportation service, appropriately called The Bus.
For those who wish to drive to the Center, on-site vehicle parking for 690 vehicles on the 2nd floor is accessible from Kalakaua Avenue. The really good news is that, unlike parking elsewhere in Waikiki, the daily parking rate as of October 2011 is just $5.00.
A Green, Energy-Saving Center
Located on an island where energy is so costly and the environment is so precious for residents and visitors alike, the designers of the Hawaii Convention Center made significant efforts to create a green, environmentally friendly and energy saving center. Center management continues those efforts today as new technology and advancements are made every year.
As a spokesperson for the Center explains, "The building also operates by the LEEDS building standards. Energy-saving systems integrated throughout the Center include a ventilating and air-conditioning system specifically designed for Hawaii's tropical climate, heat exchangers to transmit waste heat from the chiller condenser for humidity control. All fluorescent lamps and ballasts are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. And, not only does the kitchen’s water system prevent the waste of hundreds of gallons of water, perishable and formulated food is donated to Harbor House, a member of the Hawaii Food Bank, for needy children in after-school programs.
"Glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and paper from all events and administration areas are also recycled. All chemicals purchased by the housekeeping, landscaping, and engineering departments must be ecologically friendly and automatic dispensers for hand sinks, urinals, paper towels, hand soap, and hand sanitizing in all restrooms saves on dispensed water and product.
"Clients participate, too. "Think Green" messages appear throughout the building to remind conventioneers that keeping meeting room doors closed maintains optimal room temperature and comfort for their attendees, and turning off lights when not in use saves energy."
Suffice it to say that the Hawaii Convention Center is one of the most ecologically friendly convention centers in the world.
Hawaii Convention Center
1801 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii 96815