*This is a copy of the Waikīkī Beach Stays monthly mailer (sent out 23 Apr 2021). Click here to subscribe for future editions.
Welcome to Waikīkī Beach Stays monthly mailer, the best place to keep up to date with everything happening on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.
Hawaiʻi has been busy reaching milestones! One million doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered to residents. In addition, the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program has safely allowed 2.5 million people to travel to Hawaii in six months without a surge of COVID!
Oʻahu remains in Tier 3 of the Honolulu Reopening Strategy, outdoor weddings up to 100 guests were recently given the green-light to resume, and Taiwan has joined the US mainland, Canada, Japan, and Korea in the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program.
We’re loving all the good news… but wait, there’s more!
Hawaiʻi’s vacation rental market has outperformed hotels in occupancy rates every month since the launch of the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program in Oct 2020. Wow! We’ve definitely noticed an increase in demand for our Waikīkī properties, visitors are appreciating the extra space, seclusion and privacy our apartments provide.
On a personal note, we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our Oʻahu Eats Guide. We’re excited to publish our first ebook! If you’d like to be the first to see it, we’re looking for 5-10 people to review the ebook prior to it’s launch. Please send your expression of interest to [email protected] (first come, first served).
And after a long stint of no-holidays we’re over the moon to have booked a staycation in Ko Olina on Oʻahu’s West Coast. Aloha, Four Seasons Resort Oahu! Make sure you’re following @hawaiiadmirer to follow our week-long escape.
We hope to host you in Waikīkī one day soon, but until then we hope you enjoy this round-up of what’s new on the wonderful island of Oahu.
Ash & Keli‘i
COVID-19 Hawaiʻi Travel Updates
- As of 20 Apr 2021: There have been 31,490 cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi, resulting in 474 deaths. Average daily new cases 80 island-wide. There have been 1166 cases island-wide in the last 14-days (Oʻahu 797; Maui County 261; Hawaiʻi Island 104; Kauaʻi 4).
- Hawaiʻi remains open to visitors thanks to the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program! In order to bypass the State of Hawaiʻi’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 US mainland, Canada, Japan, Korea and Taiwan) 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 Hawaiʻi airports. Note, these are umbrella rules for the State of Hawaiʻi, in addition, each island has its own entry and arrival protocols.
- Starting 11 May 2021, inter-island travelers who received their vaccination in Hawaiʻi can forego quarantine and testing. Hawaiʻi officials did not indicate when the program would widen to include Trans-Pacific or International travelers.
- Hawaiʻi is facing a rental car shortage! When tourism disappeared, a lot of vehicles were shipped from Hawaiʻi to the US mainland so we’re now facing a shortage as visitors begin to return to the islands. The demand has resulted in prices as high as $1,000 per day! We suggest booking well in advance with Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
- Hawaiʻi Convention Center has reopened for events and meetings with new COVID-related health and safety protocols in place. Honolulu’s current Tier 3 modifications allow for “static events” where attendees are seated which means graduations and corporate meetings can return, but things like networking mixers can’t.
- Weddings in Hawaiʻi are back! Outdoor weddings must limit attendance up to 100 guests, tables can seat no more than 10 people and everyone must wear masks. The dance floor is also subject to a limit of 32 people at once and spaced apart.
- Southwest Airlines now offering pre-clearance for flights to Hawaiʻi. Customers who have uploaded a negative COVID-19 test result from an approved lab, as well as the required travel information and a completed health questionnaire before departing the US mainland may be eligible to bypass airport screening and mandatory quarantines upon arrival to Honolulu (HNL) on Oʻahu and Kahului on Maui (OGG).
- Hawaiian Airlines celebrated the inauguration of its twice-weekly nonstop service between Austin (AUS) and Honolulu (HNL) on 22 Apr 2021. They’re the first carrier to provide nonstop flights between Central Texas and Hawaiʻi. Frequency will increase to three weekly flights 28 May to 13 Aug 2021.
- Hawaiian Airlines will offer four weekly non-stop flights between Phoenix (Arizona) and Maui (Hawaiʻi) just in time for Hawaiʻi’s summer from 21 May to 15 Aug 2021.
- Dovetail + Co. has moved into the Hawaiʻi market with the acquisition of Waikiki Sand Villa Hotel. Located along the Ala Wai Canal within walking distance to Waikīkī Beach, the hotel will be rebranded as the Wayfinder Waikiki following a renovation of the property’s 228 rooms, saltwater lagoon pool, and multiple restaurant spaces.
- Closed since Mar 2020, the Turtle Bay Resort on Oʻahu’s North Shore is set to re-open 1 Jul 2021 following a property-wide renovation. Almost every aspect of the hotel experience has been transformed including a redesigned lobby and pool deck, new dining concepts and revamped guest bungalows.
Restaurants & Bars
- Pizza Mamo recently opened in Honolulu’s Chinatown, bringing Detroit style pan pizza and Brooklyn style New York/Napolitano pizza to Oʻahu. It’s easily one of the best pizza joints on the island. It works best for a grab-and-go meal with only a few tables for dine-in seating.
- Ka Makana Aliʻi, a shopping and dining destination in Kapolei, has some new restaurants on the horizon including Sugarcane by Chai’s (opened in Mar 2021), Shangri La Restaurant & Bar (Cantonese food), Hawaii’s second Olive Garden and Taqueria el Ranchero.
- Chart House Waikiki thankfully re-opened with new partners on 1 Apr 2021. It’s one of Hawaiʻi’s longest-running steak and seafood restaurant, with over 50 years of character inside this marina-fronting establishment. They’ve freshened up this restaurant with a refurbished entryway and staircase including an “Endless Summer” decorative wall, new exterior paint, upgraded kitchen equipment and plumbing work. Tables have been moved to allow for better social distancing.
- MW Restaurant formerly on Kapiolani Blvd and famous for it’s delicious Hawaiʻi Regional Cuisine, re-opened at a new location in Velocity Honolulu. It’s sister cafe Artizen by MW sits on-site on the ground floor.
- La Vela Wine Garden just launched in the White Sand Village Hotel, relax and unwind over a glass of vino at this new open-air wine bar concept in Waikīkī. You’ll also find a La Vela Wine Bar hiding out by the swimming pool. Both venues have a fantastic Mediterranean food menu.
- Poke Waikiki opened at Royal Hawaiian Center this month, the latest addition to its Paina Lanai Food Court. They serve poke bowls and poke burritos, with choices of ahi, salmon and mochiko chicken, along with a range of toppings that include pineapple, edamame, ocean salad and more.
Tours & Activities
- Aloha Beach Services, a family-owned ocean activities company that has been offering surfing and paddling lessons at Waikīkī since 1959, has opened a pop-up store at Moana Surfrider hotel. Their standard menu of lessons, rentals, and outrigger canoe rides will be available, as well as branded merchandise like t-shirts, hats, surfwear and skateboards, as well Hawaiian cultural wearable art such as papale niu (hand-woven coconut frond hats).
- After being shutdown for a year, Lucky Strike opened back up this month. It’s a four-lane bowling alley at the Ala Moana Center, restaurant, and arcade game space. Expect new protocols including sanitized bowling shoes and balls (with balls labeled for specific players) and on-phone menus via QR codes.
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial has transitioned to a touch-less ticketing system managed by www.recreation.gov, there is a $1 service charge to reserve tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial program. Same-day free tickets are no longer available at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Click here for more information and advice. Alternatively, book a Pearl Harbor Sightseeing Tour.
Festivals & Events
- You must visit the Village Books & Music pop-up at Ward Village before it closes in Jun 2021. Thousands of books, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, games, works of art, and much more are available for sale. The store is located at 1142 Auahi St, Honolulu (parking available in the adjacent structure). Open 10am-7pm (closed on Mondays).
- Prince Waikiki is inviting visitors and locals to dip their toes back into concert-going with the return of live music in a safe, outdoor setting and some of the best views in Waikīkī. Re-introducing its iconic SunSets LIVE concert and DJ series, soak in the breathtaking sunsets while sipping on craft cocktails at Hinana Bar and jamming to live musical sets featuring local musicians. Stop by for SunSets LIVE and stay for cocktails, casual dining, and sunset views every Thu, Fri, and Sun 4:30-6:30pm.
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