*This is a copy of the Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 22 May 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.
This month kicked off with Lei Day celebrations across Hawaii. Lei are traditional Hawaiian adornments made of flowers, ferns, shells, nuts, candy and even money! Lei are made and given to loved ones on special occasions including birthdays, graduations, weddings or on any day that you want to make someone feel special.
May Day (1 May) is always Lei Day in Hawaii. On this day Hawaii celebrates our beloved lei culture. Local people make and give lei to one another as a sentiment of aloha. You will see many people walking around in traditional Hawaiian lei. If you’re visiting Hawaii in May, it’s a great time to learn how to string a lei for a loved one or, if you prefer, you can purchase one at one of many lei shops on the island. You can also arrange for a lei greeting on your arrival to Honolulu Airport.
We’ve packed a lot into this edition of our monthly mailer, so let’s jump right in…
And remember, you can reach out to us anytime – just reply to this email! We love assisting our future guests and readers with their Hawaii travel plans.
Ash & Keli‘i
COVID-19 HAWAII TRAVEL UPDATES
- As of 18 May 2022: There have been 265,571 cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii to date, resulting in 1,446 deaths. Average daily new cases 925 island-wide (653 Oahu, 101 Maui County, 63 Kauai and 107 Hawaii Island).
- Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate and Hawaii Safe Travels restrictions ended on 25 Mar 2022. There are no COVID-related requirements for arriving domestic passengers (those traveling to Hawaii from the US mainland or its territories). Travelers arriving to Hawaii directly from international airports must still comply with U.S. federal requirements;please consult with your airlines.
- Following a federal judge ruling on 18 Apr 2022, face masks are no longer required to be worn in public transportation settings. Passengers are no longer required to wear face masks in US airports or when flying on a domestic flight.
- To learn more about how COVID-19 could affect your travel plans, and how to protect yourself, CoverMore Travel Insurance has a free COVID-19 Travel Guide.
- The weekly Waikiki Friday Fireworks Show sponsored by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has been approved to return after two+ years absence. The start date is TBC, but rumors suggest 27 May or early Jun 2022.
- As of 12 May 2022, all out-of-state visitors must have an advanced reservation to enter Diamond Head State Monument. Reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance online. Entry fee is US$5 per person and children under three are free.
- Earlier this month Waikiki experienced intense south swells with waves up to 14ft (4.2m) in size. This unusual activity resulted in over 300 people being rescued by lifeguards after they ignored the high surf advisory. We can’t stress enough the importance of practicing ocean safety in Hawaii, here are our ocean safety tips.
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) is set to resume its A380 flights from Tokyo Narita to Honolulu from 1 Jul 2022, following a hiatus since Mar 2020. The airline will operate two roundtrips per week (Friday and Saturday) on the route.
- In early May 2022, United Airlines celebrated 75 years of serving Hawaii! If you’re flying between Hawaii and the US Mainland, consider booking in their United Polaris premium cabin. Having recently flown them between San Francisco and Honolulu, we can vouch for this incredible recline-flat travel experience.
- Southwest Airlines is introducing a new inter-island route between Maui and Kauai from 5 Jun 2022. This is in addition to their existing inter-island flights between Oahu and Maui, Oahu and Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai, and Hawaii Island and Maui.
- Hawaiian Airlines announced they’ll be providing high-speed internet access on flights between Hawaii, the continental US, Asia and Oceania with Starlink’s satellite internet connectivity service. This service is expected to be installed in 2023.
- Alaska Airlines is temporarily suspending nonstop flights between Anchorage and Honolulu from Jun-Nov 2022. The main reason for the cancellations is limited staff.
- Executive Chauffeur Hawaii provides private transfers and custom tours throughout Oahu, perfect for the solo traveler, couples and ohana (family) groups. Book online.
- Gas (petrol) prices remain high in Hawaii. The current average price in Hawaii is US$5.382, well above the national average price of US$4.593. Our website outlines many different ways for Getting Around Oahu.
- Bill 41 was passed by the Honolulu City Council and signed into law on 26 Apr 2022. The bill stipulates that nightly rentals outside of the resort areas of Waikiki, Ko Olina and Turtle Bay (Kuilima) are strictly prohibited on the island of Oahu. In addition, the minimum rental period in these non-resort areas has been changed from 30 days to 90 days. This law will go into effect in Oct 2022, however, the bill is being challenged by a number of lawsuits so the outcome is yet to be determined. Please note, Airbnb is still legal on Oahu within the resort areas.
- Airbnb has launched AirCover, a comprehensive protection included for free with every booking. It includes protection from Host cancellations, listing inaccuracies, and other issues like trouble checking in, as well as a 24-hour safety line. For those that don’t know, we host three Airbnb properties in Waikiki.
- The Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort celebrated its Grand Opening in Apr 2022, after an in-depth US$80 million transformation. Highlights of this property include the Kani Ka Pila Grille, home to live Hawaiian music nightly.
- After extensive renovations, both Kaimana Beach Hotel and Turtle Bay Resort have been named on the Travel + Leisure 2022 “It List” for Best New Hotels in the World.
- A fourth case of Legionnaires’ disease (a type of pneumonia caused by exposure to the Legionella bacteria) has been confirmed in a guest who stayed at The Grand Islander in Waikiki from 16-18 Apr 2022. The first case was in Jun 2021, followed by another two cases in Mar and early Apr 2022. If you develop symptoms following a stay at the Grand Islander contact a physician and Hawaii’s Department of Health. The Hilton has brought in experts to try and determine the source of contamination.
- NCL’s Pride of America resumed Hawaii cruise ship travel in early April and the sailings have been selling well, however, they are being hindered by staff shortages. The cruise ship usually carries approx. 940 staff but is currently carrying under 550. To ensure a healthy guest-crew ratio and not compromise the guest experience, they’ve limited occupancy to 1,200 guests per sailing. In light of the crew shortage, some of onboard restaurants are closed. Click here for Hawaii cruise options.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
- Aloha Beer Company, a local independent brewery, has opened Waikiki’s first beer garden! Enjoy a pint of craft beer with snack foods like pretzels, waffle fries, poke and pizza at 2155 Kalakaua Avenue (by Longs Drugs) from 11am-10pm daily.
- Hawaii’s first Crumbl Cookies “the world’s best cookies” has opened a store at Kapolei Commons, on Oahu’s west side.
- Ted’s Bakery will no longer sell its famous pies in Hawaii grocery stores! This means the only way to try his famous desserts, including the Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie, is to visit the original retail location near Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore. This is change is due to supply chain issues which affect production of their famous pies.
- O’Kims Korean Kitchen in Honolulu’s Chinatown district has been voted the best Korean eatery in Hawaii, according to Yelp.
- Chubbies Burgers, a much-loved burger food truck is upgrading to a restaurant space in Kaimuki (15-minutes drive from Waikiki). The restaurant occupies the former Koko Head Cafe space. Koko Head Cafe, a famous island-style brunch house, has already relocated to the space that formerly housed 12th Ave Grill.
- For a burger fix closer to Waikiki, try Betty’s Burgers food truck. They have started serving delicious smash burgers, fries and onion rings from 11am-9pm at 325 Seaside Avenue (next to Ross), down the alley behind the Holey Grail donut truck.
- Himalayan Kitchen, which features Nepali, Indian and Tibetan cuisine, has opened a new restaurant at the Ala Moana Center.
- Istanbul Hawaii, a fantastic restaurant in Ward Village owned by mother-daughter duo Ahu and Nili Hettema, has been named “Women-Owned Business of the Year”.
- If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, the Sooper Secret Izakaya in Waikiki has a 7-course menu for US$150 + tax + 20% gratuity per person. It’s very popular and reservations must be made in advance. July reservations are now open.
- Aloha Steak House has moved to a new location in the Marina Surf Waikiki hotel, the former Crackin’ Kitchen spot. The owners, Zetton Group, also operate Zigu, Heavenly Island Lifestyle, Goofy Cafe & Dine and NatuRe restaurants in Waikiki.
- Ala Moana Hotel breakfast buffet at Cafe 410 is back, the space is adorned with new floral murals by local artist Kamea Hadar. Enjoy the smorgasbord from 6:30-10am (weekdays) and 7-10:30am (weekends) from US$24.50 adults and US$15 kids.
TOURS & ACTIVITIES
- At first I thought this activity was a joke, but alas it’s not… You can now take a Venetian Gondala Cruise in Waikiki. Reviews so far say it’s a smooth ride on the Ala Wai Canal and offers a great view of Diamond Head. We’re booked in for this tour on Thursday (Hawaii time), follow us on Insta @waikikibeachstays to see how it goes!
- For families visiting Oahu with children, Nalo Keiki Paniolo is a locally owned and operated farm in Waimanalo offering riding lessons and a petting zoo with farm animals including mini horses, donkeys, goats and sheep.
- Reservations are now open for Pearl Harbor’s newest experience, The Top of the Tower Tour! Beginning on Memorial Day (30 May 2022), the Ford Island Control Tower will be accessible to the public. Take a first-class guided tour of the tower, which is 15 stories and 168 ft (51m) tall, including the restored elevator, upper cab, and 360° view from the observation deck. Over 120 timed tickets are available daily.
- The Ghost Bus is a haunted attraction parked at Waikiki Beach Marriott Mon-Fri until 31 Oct 2022. Guests sit in a ‘scary cursed bus’ while audiovisual/sensory effects are deployed, and actors deliver frights and thrills. The experience lasts 15-minutes and costs $15. The minimum age is 8, and kid 8-13 must be accompanied by an adult.
- 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.
- Resort Pass enables you to book a day pool passes, spa experiences and/or hire cabanas at Waikiki’s most luxe resorts (no need to pay the big bucks to stay there!). Holiday Inn Express Waikiki and Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort are new to the site.
- Enjoy incredible savings and discover 45+ island attractions on the Go Oahu Card, an all-on-one digital pass.
- PRML is a new locally and female-owned boutique that features the perfect neutrals to wear year-round. Visit them on Level 2 of the International Market Place.
- SoHa Keiki has opened at Kahala Mall (15-minutes drive from Waikiki). It’s a kid-focused offshoot of SoHa Living, an awesome Hawaii home goods and gifts store.
- Attention LEGO lovers! Visit Brick Buy Brick at 46-005 Kawa Street in Kaneohe (25-mins drive from Waikiki), Hawaii’s only store specializing in new and used LEGO sets including loose pieces, figurines and entire sets completed by the owner Morris.
- Noeau Designers retail store at Ala Moana Center is home to 100+ small businesses, including Native Hawaiian-owned and made-in-Hawaii products and locally based brands. It’s a one-stop unique marketplace where you can shop local and Hawaiian products and participate in Hawaiian cultural workshops year-round.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- After drawing its curtains for almost two years, the stage lights at the historic Hawaii Theatre are on again! We visited the theatre this month to see Deepak Chopra live and have secured tickets to watch Jim Jefferies (the Aussie comedian) perform in Aug 2022. We encourage visitors to check the Hawaii Theatre performance lineup for their travel dates. It’s a great night out, especially if you book a pre-theatre dinner in Downtown Honolulu – if you need restaurant suggestions just ask!
- The 4th of July fireworks show at Ala Moana Beach Park has been cancelled for 2022, for the third year in a row. However, Ala Moana Center will be hosting events throughout the 4th of July holiday weekend including live entertainment.
- The free Waikiki Hula Show at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound is back, every Saturday 6:30-7:30pm (weather permitting). Find it ocean side of Kalakaua Avenue near the Duke statue, opposite of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa.
- Beyond Monet, an immersive digital experience of over 400 Claude Monet artworks, is coming to Honolulu 15 Jun-31 Jul 2022. Purchase tickets online.
- Oahu’s Bishop Museum announced a new exhibition, “The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu” from 18 Jun-15 Oct 2022. This exhibit will explore the history and contemporary meanings of four large pohaku (stones) on Waikiki Beach.
- The Magical Mystery Show! is coming to Oahu beginning 30 Jun 2022 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach hotel. Ticket prices rom US$139 Adults and US$39 Kids.
- Jack Johnson’s Meet the Moonlight Tour will take place at the Waikiki Shell on 29 & 30 Jul 2022, with artists Paula Fuga and Tavana. All proceeds will go toward Kokua Hawaii Foundation, which supports environmental education in Hawaii.
- New Kids On The Block and TLC to perform in Hawaii at the Neal S Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu on 5 & 6 Aug 2022.
- Jim Jefferies, a well-known Australian comedian, is bringing The Moist Tour to Hawaii Theatre Center on 6 Aug 2022.
- Broadway in Hawaii is bringing Broadway to Honolulu this upcoming 2022-2023 season. Book tickets to see Jersey Boys (13-25 Sep 2022), Hamilton (7 Dec-29 Jan 2023) and CATS Let The Memory Live Again (13-18 Jun 2023).
- Waikiki Block Festivals are parties on Kalakaua Ave with food vendors, live music and entertainment, 2022 dates are Endless Summer Festival (16 Jul), Ohana Festival (13 Aug), Aloha Festival (10 Sep), Waikiki Fall Festival (8 Oct) and Kalakaua Festival (12 Nov).
- The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is set to return for its 12th year, running from 20 Oct through 6 Nov 2022, with events taking place on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu over three weekends. Sign up to their newsletter for updates on ticket sales.
- 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 23-25 May and 22-24 Jun 2022 have a high probability of a box jellyfish arrival event.
- Book Resort Pass Waikiki pool, cabana, spa and amenity passes!
- Venetian Gondola Cruise in Waikiki (Daytime) from US$74.10 per person (save US$3.90)
- 5 in 1 Water Sports Package (Snorkel Cruise) in Waikiki from US$125.10 per person (save US$13.90)
- Private Sunset Sail Waikiki from US$599.20 per group up to 6 people (save US$149.80)
- Surf Lessons in Hawaii from US$106.25 per person (save US$18.75)
- 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)
- Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond 2018 Edition
- Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond 2022 Pre-Order
- Hawaii Coffee Company
- Hawaiian Sun Guava Jam
- Leahlani Skincare
- Catherine Weitzman Jewelry
Image Credit: Shutterstock/