Late summer and early fall are great times of the year to visit Hawaii. For families with children there is still time to book a vacation before school starts up again. For couples looking for a more private time together, the early fall is a great time of year to visit the islands.
Visitors are headed to Oahu in near record numbers and the island's lodging and activity companies continue to work harder each year to bring you the best visitor experience. Let's see what's new and exciting for the fall of 2012.
Hotels & Resorts
The island of Oahu has great hotels and resorts for people of all ages and budgets. Oahu's hotels are constantly updating and adding an array of activities and packages that are sure to make any trip to the island unforgettable.
Aqua Hotels & Resorts
Aqua Hotels & Resorts announced that it is managing the 88-room Ewa Hotel Waikiki. One of Waikiki's best kept secrets, Ewa Hotel Waikiki is located on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki, near Kapi'olani Park, Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Beach. The hotel offers comfortable and affordable island-style accommodations with free amenities including WiFi Internet access in-room, daily local newspaper in the lobby, kitchenette facilities and bicycle and surfboard racks.
Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk has added the art of yoga to its list of complimentary amenities. Enjoy free weekly yoga classes on the resort's Grand Lanai, taught by a certified instructor. The resort is also unveiling a new in-suite yoga channel featuring Hawai'i-based yoga classes streamed 24/7, so the suite's living-room space becomes a private yoga studio.
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club
The Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club's new "Ilima Club" offers discerning guests an extra measure of comfort and service with upgraded rooms exclusively on the 31st floor of both hotel towers, including a private executive lounge. Ilima Club guests can enjoy perks such as special welcome amenities, upgraded Aveda bath products, daily automatic turndown service, daily continental breakfast in the Ilima Club Lounge, and more.
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach is getting an $18 million facelift. The hotel will offer a new pool and pool-deck area, new elevators and interior upgrades to guest rooms, including beautiful new glass railings to ocean front rooms ensuring unobstructed ocean views; all part of an $18 million makeover.
Activities & Entertainment
The island of Oahu is loaded with fun-filled activities that everyone can enjoy ranging from exploring Hawaii's special culture and iconic history, or choosing from a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
The Battleship Missouri Memorial has unveiled its new "Battleship Movie Behind the Scenes Tour." This new tour takes guests on an interactive adventure through areas of Battleship Missouri featured in Universal Studio's summer motion picture, Battleship.
Explore an ancient Hawaiian rainforest and set of extinct cinder cones on Bike Hawaii's hike and bike adventure. The tour includes a guided 2.25-mile moderate hike and 5-mile paved downhill bike ride through the Ko'olau rainforest.
E Noa Tours
E Noa Tours newest offering takes you on a journey out to the rugged Wai'anae Coast, to the historic Makaha Valley Riding Stables. Visitors can choose from a "day experience" which includes a horseback ride to a centuries old stone corral, a hike to an ancient heiau, and a Paniolo style picnic lunch; or, choose a "twilight experience" which includes a horseback ride along the beach and a Paniolo BBQ dinner alongside a campfire.
The Honolulu Zoo has teamed up with community partners to create the "Honolulu Zoo Children's Discovery Forest." Visitors can learn about the native Hawaiian forest, cultural values such as kuleana and malama 'aina, and sustainability, in this otherwise urban environment. The "Discovery Forest" will feature three demonstration zones: strand vegetation, dryland mesic forest species, and Polynesian-introduced species and cultivars.
Pacific Aviation Museum
The Pacific Aviation Museum's newest exhibit, the "Battle of Midway" features a ten-foot high, three-dimensional display that recreates the ocean battle between the Japanese and American fleets. Museum goers can also listen to recorded interviews of Japanese and American soldiers provide narration, along with sounds of aircraft diving, bombs and gunfire.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center introduces a new IMAX Theater experience this summer as it transforms its own theater into a fiery volcano with its new feature Discover Hawaii. The upgraded venue will feature state-of-the-art surround sound, special sensual and seat effects, and an engrossing video journey through the more hidden aspects and visual wonders of the islands.
"Stroll the Streets," exclusive to Waikiki Trolley on their Red Line Tour, has launched two walking tours, "Honolulu 1941" and "History Through the Eyes of the Queen." In "Honolulu 1941," visitors and locals can experience a rare look into everyday life during Honolulu's war years; learn about the impact of martial law; and how the island prepared for life during the war. Take a stroll through 'Iolani Palace neighborhood on the "History Through the Eyes of the Queen" tour. Examine the life of Hawaii's last queen, and the final years of the monarchy where she struggled to balance her love for her people, and the uprising of the government.
Restaurants & Cuisine
Oahu is known for its diverse ethnic culture, which is reflected in the island's wide assortment of foods. With wonderful choices and a vibrant array of cuisine options, there's sure to be a restaurant for everyone.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Honolulu is Café Julia at the YWCA. Reopened under a new management team, the restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday and breakfast on Sundays. It's the perfect place for lunch after a morning of sightseeing through historic Chinatown or the 'Iolani Palace area.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Bon Appetit: A Tribute to Julia Child and the Art of French Cooking will be a month-long program of culinary events at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Throughout the month of August guest can enjoy cooking classes and demonstrations, James Beard Foundation Dinner, Wine Festival, The Veranda Better with Butter Tea, Better with Butter Breakfast Buffet weekend at Plumeria Beach House, Chef's Grand Experience at Hoku's, and French regional cuisine featured during the Bounty of the 7 Seas buffet in Plumeria Beach House.
REAL a Gastropub
Beer connoisseurs, or anyone that's excited about beer, will love REAL a Gastropub, located at Ward Centers. From its wide selection of beers, more than 200 bottled beers and 24 taps, to its tapa-style menu featuring local produce and meats, this unique venue provides a fresh new option for the early evening crowd and party-goers looking for something new.
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa's newly rejuvenated Moana Terrace overlooking Waikiki Beach is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. for lunch, cocktails and dinner. The open-air venue is the place to be for live contemporary and Hawaiian entertainment, refreshing "Skinni" drink specials, a new Happy Hour menu, island-style cuisine and panoramic sunset views.
Oahu is home to hundreds of fashionable designer stores as well as markets that carry locally made artwork and crafts. Oahu is the "Shopping Mecca of the Pacific" and you're sure to love the shopping experience anywhere you go on the island.
Ala Moana Center
Ala Moana Center, the world's largest outdoor shopping center, welcomed three new merchants – Boardwalk Treats, Uno de 50 and Lids Locker Room. Shoppers looking for something to satisfy their sweet tooth can stop by Boardwalk Treats and choose from more than 100 bins of delicious treats. Or if shoppers would prefer a little neck and wrist candy, Uno de 50 is the perfect stop for trendy jewelry and accessories. Sports fanatics will love the new Lids Locker Room, a one-stop shop for sports memorabilia and merchandise.
Downtown Honolulu welcomes its newest funky and fresh clothing shop, Homecoming Boutique. Located at 1191 Bethel Street, this store offers fashion divas another option for bold, unique and trendy threads. From florescent, color blocked dresses to animal print platform wedges, this store has everything a girl could want to revamp her closet.
Royal Hawaiian Center
Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki is now home to several new locally owned shops and boutiques. Island Vintage Organic & Natural offers an array of Hawai'i-made food items, organic skin care lines and nutritional supplements, in addition to healthy made-to-order meals in its casual dining cafe. Crazy Fish features easy-to-wear women's resort attire with bright patterns uniquely hand-painted designs and detailed embroidery. Pipeline Leather offers a variety of fashionable leather goods from business shoes and work boots to the best hiking boots and American-made leather jackets at reasonable prices for both men and women.
Fans of local jewelry designer Caroline Hay, creator of TOR, can find all of their favorite jewelry in one place. TOR Boutique in Kailua is filled with Hay's signature pieces along with colorful clothing the designer imported from around the world.