What’s New on Oahu > Jan 2022
*This is a copy of the Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 31 Jan 2022). Click here to subscribe for future editions.
Welcome to Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer, the best place to keep up to date with everything happening on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
Can you believe it’s February?!
I’ve spent the last few weeks in Australia – having taken full advantage of the return of Hawaiian Airlines direct flights between Honolulu and Sydney. I can confirm the requirements for travel between Australia and Hawaii for fully vaccinated Aussie travelers are not as difficult as they may seem.
From a tourism perspective, Hawaii had an influx of travelers over the Christmas and New Years period but things have slowed down. February is one of the lowest months for Hawaii visitor arrivals, making it a great time to “escape the crowds”. It’s Hawaii’s winter which means cool (but still warm) weather and whale watching!
In terms of COVID-19, omicron is currently the dominant variant in Hawaii and “stealth omicron” has been detected. Like most places around the world, Hawaii saw a recent surge in infections (up to 4,600 daily cases) but has since dropped (to under 2,000).
If you have any questions or concerns about visiting Hawaii and the travel process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help our guests and readers.
A hui hou (until we meet again)…
Ash & Keli‘i
COVID-19 Hawaii Travel Updates
- WalletHub has ranked Hawaii as the safest state in the US during COVID-19. The study compared rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations and death, as well as the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated.
- As of 31 Jan 2022: There have been 219,288 cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii to date, resulting in 1,181 deaths. Average daily new cases 1,938 island-wide (1,292 Oahu, 252 Maui County, 158 Kauai and 236 Hawaii Island).
- Since 10 Jan 2022, indoor gatherings on Oahu of more than 1,000 people will be limited to 50% capacity. For example, if you are going to have 1,000 people you need to be at a venue that holds 2,000.
- The procedure for travel to Hawaii depends on whether you are a domestic or international traveler e.g. whether you fly into Hawaii from the US mainland and its territories (domestic) or another country (international).
- Domestic travelers from the US and its territories must adhere to the Safe Travels Hawaii program. This includes registering your trip online, uploading proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test with a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner within 72-hours of departure. There is talk that a booster shot will be required to qualify as fully vaccinated (nothing is official, yet).
- International travelers on a direct flight to Hawaii must align with CDC federal international requirements. This quick reference guide for Traveling to the United States from a Foreign Country by Air is a great resource!
- Non-direct international travelers entering Hawaii from a US state or territory are treated as domestic travelers and must adhere to the Safe Travels Hawaii program (as above). Please note, non-direct international travelers would still need to follow CDC federal international requirements for any initial direct flight into the United States (as above).
*The above information is subject to change. It is also important that you confirm and abide by the travel requirements for your return flight/destination.
- Hawaii is focused on attracting mindful and respectful travelers. Check out the Malama Hawaii Program where you could qualify for a special discount or even a free hotel night by participating in a volunteer activity.
- The Hawaii Convention Center will reopen its Exhibit Halls for meetings and events in Jan 2022. For a list of what’s on at the Center visit the Events Calendar.
- As of 1 Jan 2022, shark fishing is banned in Hawaii. It’s illegal “to knowingly capture, entangle or kill any species of shark in Hawaii waters.”
- Hawaiian Airlines Brisbane (BNE) and Honolulu (HNL) service has been suspended indefinitely. Thankfully they resumed service from Sydney (SYD) to Honolulu (HNL) in mid-Dec 2021, so Aussies can still experience aloha!
- By the way… Hawaiian Airlines is on sale from AU$899 per person SYD-HNL return. Travel from 1 Apr-23 Jun, 17 Jul-15 Sep, 9 Oct-9 Dec 2022, subject to availability. Book by 2 Feb 2022. Click here to check if your preferred dates are on sale.
- For those flying Hawaiian Airlines, especially on an international route, consider booking / upgrading to Extra Comfort. You’ll get an extra 5 in (12 cm) of legroom, priority security line, personal electrical power outlet, and a special amenity kit.
- Australia’s national airline, Qantas, has suspended flights between Sydney (SYD) and Honolulu (HNL) from 31 Jan to 26 Mar 2022 in light of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. It had only just restarted the flights in Dec 2021.
- The world’s largest Dreamliner will enter the Hawaii market in 2022. United Airlines plans to fly the Boeing 787-10 to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG) on select services from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) from Oct-Nov. The jet has 44 Polaris pods, 21 Premium Plus recliners, 54 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats and 199 standard coach seats.
- There are lots of ways to get around Oahu including Honolulu Airport Transfers, Oahu Car Hire, Taxis/Cabs, Uber, Lyft & Holoholo, The Bus, Waikiki Trolley, Waikele Outlets Shuttle, Bike Rentals, Moped & Scooter Rentals and Scoot Coupe Rentals.
- Rycroft Holdings has purchased The Pagoda Honolulu (10-minutes drive from Waikiki). It overlooks a Japanese garden and features tropical-themed rooms, dark wood furnishings, kitchenettes, daily koi feedings, and a floating restaurant onsite.
- Five Outrigger Hawaii hotels have been recognized for exceptional environmental stewardship. If sustainable travel is important to you, consider staying at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger, Waikiki Malia by Outrigger and the OHANA Waikiki East by Outrigger.
- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) was due to restart the Pride of America Hawaii island-hopping sailings in Jan-Feb 2022 but due to travel restrictions has pushed it back to Apr 2022. Click here for Hawaii cruise options.
Restaurants & Bars
- Tex 808 BBQ & Brews now open in Waikiki at The Laylow on Kuhio Avenue. There’s two daily Happy Hours (2-5pm and 9pm-close), Taco Tuesdays, live music, an open mic night (Wed) and comedy (Thu).
- Little Italy Hawaii (by Allegrini Mozzarella) just opened an eatery at 349 Royal Hawaiian Avenue in Waikiki. They offer authentic Italian food using imported products by an Italian native chef Pascale. Please support their new venture!
- Holey Grail Donuts, with outlets in Waikiki and Ward Village, have launched an app. Earn rewards with every purchase, get $10 to spend on your birthday, skip the line and access secret micro-lot flavors.
- Chinese noodle eatery Fun Station has opened at Market City Shopping Center (a 5-minute drive from Waikiki). They specialize in rice noodles and serve northern and southern Chinese cuisine.
- In mid-Jan 2022, Olive Garden opened at the Ka Makana Alii shopping center in Kapolei, marking the second Hawaii location for the Italian-inspired chain restaurant. Hawaii’s first Olive Garden opened at Ala Moana Center in Oct 2020.
- MangoMango Dessert, a New York-based chain, recently opened its first Hawaii location at Pearlridge Center. Try Hong Kong-style desserts including fruit bowls, ice cream and handcrafted cakes, as well as bubble tea and other blended drinks.
- 12th Ave Grill, an 18-year old Kaimuki restaurant, is closing. Koko Head Cafe, upscale brunch concept, will be moving from its current spot to take over the 12th Ave Grill location in Feb 2022.
- Did you know you can try Giovanni’s famous garlic shrimp plate without having to travel to Oahu’s North Shore? Find a Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck food outlet at Market Eatery Food Hall at H Mart Marke in Kakaako (15-minutes drive from Waikiki).
Tours & Activities
- There’s a new luau experience in Waikiki, Queens Waikiki Luau. This intimate dinner and Polynesian show takes place in the Queen’s Court at International Market Place every Tue, Sat and Sun from 5-8pm.
- Join the Waikiki Aquarium every first and third Thu of the month for a new Native Hawaiian Plant Tour, free with admission. Guests will learn about and view sixteen different native Hawaiian plants on-site.
- Gaze at the night sky on top of the International Market Place parking garage with Stargazers of Waikiki. Take a 1-hour guided tour of the stars and constellations. Check the events calendar for dates.
- Hanauma Bay, Oahu’s most popular snorkel spot, has changed its entry requirements to address overuse. Advanced reservations are required, click here for information.
- Boat tours to the USS Arizona Memorial at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial have resumed after dock repairs. Click here for Pearl Harbor tour options.
- For do-it-yourself GPS Audio Tours, download the Shaka Guide Oahu app. You can plug your earphones into your cellphone and take yourself on the Heart of Waikiki Walking Tour. If you’re hiring a car on Oahu, check out the self-drive itineraries including the East Oahu Shoreline Drive and Grand Circle Island Tour.
- Daiso Hawaii, a Japanese discount store, has opened its third store on Oahu in Fort Street Mall in Downtown Honolulu (others in Piikoi and Pearl City). They sell everything from household items to stationary products, mostly under US$2.
Festivals & Events
- The Waikiki Farmers Market at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort is back every Mon and Wed from 4-8pm. The event showcases artisanal food and crafts in the ground floor atrium.
- Waikiki Beach Walk Open Market has returned every Mon from 4-8pm. It’s a great way to support local businesses, while discovering truly one-of-a-kind souvenirs, handmade art and snacks.
- Kakaako Farmers Market returned to West Village on 8 Jan 2022 and will be open every Sat from 8am-12pm. It’s the perfect place to shop for locally-grown fruits, vegetables and flowers sourced from Hawaii farms and find grab-and-go goodies.
- Weekly live music at Shor on the 3rd Floor of the Diamond Head Tower at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort. Enjoy live entertainment by local artists every Thu, Fri and Sat evenings, 5:30-8:30pm.
- Beyond Monet, an immersive digital experience of over 400 Claude Monet artworks, is coming to Honolulu in 2022. Register for pre-sale tickets here.
- The Magical Mystery Show by Hotel Magic is bringing world class magicians to Hawaii. Shows are set to start on Oahu 30 April 2022 (tickets on sale TBC Jan 2022). A resort venue will host two shows, each with 50 guests, six nights a week.
- Hawaii Opera Theatre plans to return to live performances in the new year with The Tragedy of Carmen (18 & 20 Feb 2022), Opera Ball 2022: The Butterfly Emerges (26 Mar 2022) and Madame Butterfly (8, 10 & 12 Apr 2022).
- Hawaii Theatre Center offers a raft of events in 2022 including HapaSymphony – The Makaha Sons with Kalae Camarillo (4 Feb 2022), Disney’s Tarzan (16-21 Feb 2022), Al Jardine’s Endless Summer (24 Mar 2022).
- Broadway in Hawaii is bringing Broadway to Honolulu this upcoming 2022-2023 season. Book tickets to see Beautiful The Carole King Musical (19-24 Apr 2022), Jersey Boys (13-25 Sep 2022), Hamilton (7 Dec-29 Jan 2023) and CATS Let The Memory Live Again (13-18 Jun 2023).
- Box jellyfish (stinging invertebrates) tend to appear in Oahu’s ocean 8 to 10 days after the full moon. According to the Waikiki Aquarium Box Jellyfish Calendar, the 24-26 Feb 2022 has a high probability of a box jellyfish arrival event.
- Book Resort Pass Waikiki pool, cabana, spa and amenity passes!
- Moana’s Sunset Sailing along Oahu’s Waikiki Coast from US$80.03 per person (save US$26.68)
- Full-Day Oahu Circle Island Tour from US$72 per person (save US$18)
- Honolulu Airport & Waikiki Hotels Private Transfer by Minivan (up to 5 people) from US$63 per group (save US$7)
- Honolulu Airport & Waikiki Hotels Private Transfer by Passenger Van (up to 14 people) from US$108 per group (save US$12)
- Private Whale Watching and Coastal Swimming Tour Honolulu (up to 6 people) from US$823.50 per group (Save US$91.50)
- Book More Oahu Tours
- Get Your Guide: Things to do in Oahu
*Subject to change/terms and conditions apply – please refer to Viator for full details.
Shop Hawaii Style
- Helpful Hawaii Travel Items
- Lonely Planet Honolulu Waikiki & Oahu (Travel Guide)
- Leahlani Skincare
- Catherine Weitzman Jewelry
- Hawaii Coffee Company
Image Credit: Waikiki Beach Stays/Ashlee Galea