What’s New on Oahu > March 2021
*This is a copy of the Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 18 March 2021). 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.
Hawaii has had a rough few weeks due to extreme weather that caused torrential rainfall, flash flooding, and even evacuations. Some of the worst hit areas were the north shore regions of Oahu and Kauai, and central Maui.
Waikiki was thankfully fine, and went on to welcome a record number of visitors over the weekend. This past Saturday saw more tourists travel to Hawaii in a single day since the start of the pandemic! This uptick coincides with spring break.
Speaking of milestones, The Hawaii Admirer community reached 30,000+ strong on Facebook and celebrated with a Tropicakes. I know it’s been hard without travel over the last year but we hope we’ve helped to keep your Hawaii dreams alive!
Thanks to the vaccine rollout in Hawaii, things seem to have turned a corner and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Around 480,000 doses have been administered, that means at least 20% of the total population have received at least one dose.
But the most promising news is Oahu moving into Tier 3 of the Honolulu Reopening Strategy. Groups of up to ten people can now gather, restaurants can operate at 100% capacity, and bars can serve alcohol until midnight.
We hope you’re as excited about this as we are! We can’t wait to see you back here in the Hawaiian Islands, it’s going to be much sooner than you think.
Ash & Keli‘i
COVID-19 Hawaii Travel Updates
- As of 16 Mar 2021: There have been 28,352 cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii, resulting in 451 deaths. Average daily new cases 53 island-wide. There have been 708 cases island-wide in the last 14-days (Oahu 369; Maui County 240; Hawaii Island 95; Kauai 4). At one point Hawaii had 300+ new cases in a single day, so these stats are significantly reduced.
- Hawaii is open to visitors thanks to the Safe Travels Hawaii program! In order to bypass the State of Hawaii’s 10-day mandatory self-quarantine, travelers must take a pre-travel COVID-19 test from a trusted testing and travel partner (available on the U.S. mainland, Canada, Japan, and Korea) 72-hours prior to the final leg of their trip, and get a negative result returned prior to boarding their flight. In addition, a Travel and Health Form must be completed along with temperature screening at all Hawaii airports. Note, these are umbrella rules for the State of Hawaii, in addition, each island has its own entry and arrival protocols. Here are the current Safe Travels Hawaii Quick Facts on bypassing quarantine to Hawaii and its islands.
- Hawaii is considering the implementation of a “Vaccine Passport” (potentially beginning 1 May 2021) that will free up U.S. mainland and international travelers to bypass the state’s 10-day quarantine requirements, including pre-travel testing, if they have been fully vaccinated. Stay tuned for more information.
- Seven Hawaii hotels have landed on Travel + Leisure’s list of the Top 500 Properties from Around the World. The Hawaii properties to make the U.S. list are: Fairmont Kea Lani (Maui), Four Seasons Resort Lanai (Lanai), Halekulani (Oahu), Halepuna Waikiki (Oahu), Hotel Wailea (Maui), Mauna Lani (Hawaii Island), and Montage Kapalua Bay (Maui).
- According to Tripadvisor, Hawaii took out half of the Top 10 Beaches in the U.S. The list includes Kaanapali Beach (Maui), Wailea Beach (Maui), Napili Beach (Maui), Waianapanapa State Park (Maui) and Kailua Beach Park (Oahu).
- Sand People, a coastal lifestyle chain of gift shops, has closed 10 of its 12 Hawaii locations including two in Waikiki and one at Ala Moana Center. Remaining Sand People locations are in Hanalei (Kauai) and Lahaina (Maui).
- The first commercial flights connecting Florida and Hawaii commenced on 14 Mar 2021. Hawaiian Airlines launched twice-weekly nonstop service between Orlando (MCO) and Honolulu (HNL) connecting the Sunshine state to the Aloha state!
- Southwest Airlines launched two new routes on 11 Mar 2021, a daily nonstop flight between Kahului (Maui) and Long Beach (California) as well as Honolulu (Oahu) and Long Beach (California).
- Hawaiian Airlines is expanding its pre-clearance program to Japan and South Korea. The program minimizes lines at Hawaii airports by clearing passengers (verifying Safe Travels Hawaii documents) prior to boarding, as opposed to when they land.
- Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort is slated to reopen in late Apr 2021 after an $80 million renovation. The resort’s new open-design is made to “emulate an elegant Hawaii beach house”. Property updates include a room and suite remodel, a reimagined Kani Ka Pila Grille with a larger stage and more outdoor seating, a new grab-and-go market, the launch of Monkeypod Kitchen, upgraded event spaces, a fitness center with Peloton equipment, a spa and kid’s club.
- Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina reopened 11 Mar 2021. The resort plans to introduce new culinary concepts on-site including toes-in-the-sand dining at Mina’s Beach Club and a new plant-based concept at La Hiki. They will implement health and safety protocols, and have invested in a state-of-the-art air purification system.
- Park Shore Waikiki has partnered with V2 Safe Solutions to help their guests navigate through the travel and testing requirements to and from Hawaii. Guests will be guided by concierge who will provide, time and track approved testing to meet the Safe Travels Hawaii guidelines and help guests safely and smoothly reach Oahu.
Restaurants & Bars
- Holey Grail Donuts has permanently parked a yellow food truck at 325 Seaside Avenue in Waikiki. Try these vegan donuts made with taro (a root vegetable) and fried in organic coconut oil. They’re made to order, hot, crispy and sweet.
- Wahlburgers, a casual burger joint founded by brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg, is slated open on Level 3 of the Ewa Wing at Ala Moana Center in Jun 2021.
- Moose McGillyCuddy’s in Waikiki closed last year, and sadly a fire in the building in mid-Feb 2021 means it’s gone for good.
- Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman is set to open in the old Shore Bird space at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort in late Apr 2021. Led by renowned Hawaii chef Peter Merriman, this restaurant highlights local ingredients. We can’t wait to enjoy a famous Merriman’s Mai Tai with a view of Diamond Head from this venue!
Tours & Activities
- Sea Life Park reopened on 6 Mar 2021 with new health and safety guidelines. This marine life park offers once-in-a-lifetime encounters like swimming with dolphins and sharks and have a new Aquarium Insider’s Tour where you get to peek at what goes on behind-the-scenes. Tickets and capacity are limited, buy online in advance.
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort resumed its on-property luau on 5 Mar 2021. The Waikiki Starlight Luau, previously held on a rooftop, has moved to the resort’s beachfront Great Lawn and features a plated dinner service rather than a buffet. Currently available on Friday evenings, reservations required.
Festivals & Events
- The Drive-in Laser Show by Cabin Fever is coming to Aloha Stadium starting 8 Apr 2021. This three-week performance features a light display that you can watch from the safety and comfort of your vehicle. It’ll be synchronized to music from the 80s, 90s and beyond.
- The ’80s pop star Tiffany, known for hits such as “I Think We’re Alone Now,” had to reschedule her performances at Blue Note Hawaii due to snowstorms and flight cancellations on the U.S. mainland. New show dates are 16 & 18 Apr 2021.
- Ukulele Festival Hawaii, an annual event promoting ukulele music, typically draws in thousands of attendees to Kapiolani Park. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be held virtually this Jul 2021. The live event hopes to return in 2022.
- Did you know Prince Waikiki is rated #1 out of 91 hotels in Honolulu on Trip Advisor? They’re running a Step Into Spring Package where guests can enjoy every 3rd night free, one free breakfast for two at 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar, and waived resort charges for trips between 5 Mar-11 Dec 2021. Book by 2 April.
- Use promo code ADMIRER for an exclusive discount with Hawaiian Style Rentals
- Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from $57.44 per person (save $14.36)
- Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki from $90.70 per person (save $16.01)
- Polynesian Canoe Sunset Sail from $187 per group (save $33)
- Surf Lesson from $103.50 per group (save $11.50)
*Terms and conditions apply, please refer to the individual businesses for full details.
Shop Hawaii Style
- Hawaii Countdown Blocks
- Secret SPAM Safe
- The Aloha Shirt Book
- Pineapple String Lights
- Home Town Waikiki T-Shirt
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Mike Liu