*This is a copy of the Waikīkī Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 17 Feb 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 Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.
It’s the middle of “winter” in Hawaiʻi but Honolulu remains warm with an average temperature of 76°F (24°C). As a reminder, Hawaiʻi only has two seasons, summer (May-Oct) and winter (Nov-Apr). Regardless of when you visit, expect the daily weather to hover between 74-80°F (23-27°C) year-round.
One caveat, things get colder in Hawaiʻi the higher you climb in elevation. It’s common for it to snow on the summits of Mauna Kea on Hawaiʻi Island and Haleakalā on Maui in winter. This is exactly what happened this month.
As mentioned in our last edition, the Honolulu Reopening Strategy (which applies to Oʻahu) is tiered and we are still in Tier 2. This table shows what businesses can operate. Our Mayor (Rick Blangiardi) hopes to ease our restrictions next month. Yay!
In Hawaiʻi, 260,000+ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to medical workers, seniors over 75, and essential workers. Hawaiʻi has around 1.4 million residents and our Lt. Governor (Josh Green) is optimistic that a large percentage of Hawaiʻi’s population will be COVID-immune by the summer.
While travel restrictions remain under the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program, the State of Hawaii and airline partners are working together to make Hawaiʻi more accessible via pre-testing partnerships and pre-clear programs. Despite virus limitations, 94%* of recent visitors to Hawaiʻi said their trip either met or exceeded their expectations.
As you wait to return to Hawaiʻi, we hope this Oʻahu update keeps you connected to the destination.
Ash & Keli‘i
*Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority
COVID-19 Hawaiʻi Travel Updates
- As of 15 Feb 2021: There have been 26,906 cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi, resulting in 426 deaths. There have been 895 cases island-wide in the last 14-days (Oʻahu 647; Maui County 202; Hawaiʻi Island 45; Kauaʻi 1). Hawaii continues to have the lowest COVID-19 rates across America.
- Hawaiʻi is 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, 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 Hawaiʻi airports. Note, these are umbrella rules for the State of Hawaiʻi, in addition, each island has its own entry and arrival protocols. Here are the current Safe Travels Hawaiʻi Quick Facts on bypassing quarantine to Hawaiʻi and its islands.
- Honolulu officials have installed 36 banners from the Hawaiʻi Convention Center to Kalākaua Ave to remind the community to observe COVID-19 safety protocols – wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands!
- Malama Hawaiʻi Program has launched to inspire visitors to give back to the destination. Select hotel partners are offering packages with free extra nights accommodation in exchange for partaking in volunteer projects, ranging from reforestation and tree planting to beach cleanups and ocean reef preservation.
- Pearlridge Center, Hawaiʻi’s largest enclosed shopping mall, launched a small business initiative. As a result, 20 new local businesses have opened in the mall including Razor Sports Now Drifting, a go-karting space. Recent closures include Forever 21, Anne Taylor, American Eagle, and Sears.
- Airlines are making travel to Hawaiʻi easier by helping passengers navigate the Safe Travel Hawaiʻi program via pre-testing partnerships and pre-clear programs. See Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines for information.
- United Airlines is adding a nonstop flight between Honolulu (Oʻahu) and Orange County (California) on 6 May 2021, and nonstop flights between Chicago (Illinois) and Kona (Island of Hawaiʻi) as well as Newark (New Jersey) and Kahului (Maui), on 3 Jun 2021. These services will bring their operation to over 20 routes between Hawaiʻi and the U.S. mainland.
- Southwest Airlines will launch two new routes on 11 Mar 2021, a daily nonstop flight between Kahului (Maui) and Long Beach (California) as well as Honolulu (Oʻahu) and Long Beach (California). They have ended their Lihue (Kauaʻi) to U.S. mainland service.
- Jet Edge and Four Seasons have launched customized Escape to Paradise packages combining private jet charters between the US mainland and all five Hawaiʻi resorts (Four Seasons Resort Maui, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Four Seasons Resort Oahu, and Sensei Lanai).
- Springboard Hospitality is taking over the management of Ohia Waikiki Studio Suites. Located across the street from the International Market Place, Ohia offers oversized, apartment-style accommodations, most with full kitchens.
- Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach has introduced a Safe Travels Hawaiʻi Concierge to help guests with pre-travel testing co-ordination – a great amenity for travelers seeking personal assistance throughout the booking process.
- Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger have created The Outrigger Promise based on the premise that you’ll love your Hawaiʻi vacation with them or get another one for free!
- Aqua Palms Waikiki has undergone a $4.5 million enhancement project. The newly refurbished rooms offer an inexpensive alternative to Waikīkī’s larger resorts. They also offer a complimentary 6pm check-out time, the first Hawaiʻi hotel to offer this.
Restaurants & Bars
- MW Restaurant reopened on the 15 Feb 2021 in a new location at Velocity Honolulu, an automobile showroom with on-site retail, dining and lifestyle experiences.
- Duke’s Waikiki has opened The Puka, a new side window at the restaurant that provides direct access to and from Waikīkī Beach. It provides beachgoers with an easy way to order and pick-up to-go meals.
- Lahaina Shave Ice has moved to 247 Beach Walk in Waikiki. This is a convenient spot to try Hawaiʻi’s classic shave ice flavors, along with their original tea flavors including Milk Tea, Thai Tea, Matcha Green Tea, and Ube Milk Tea. They offer boba or more traditional toppings like homemade mochi.
- Allegrini Mozzarella is an Italian eatery with authentic food cooked by “a real Italian.” They have a popular shop in Ohana Hale Marketplace and just opened a 2nd location on Monsarrat Ave in Diamond Head. Super good pizza, pasta, burrata, and tiramisu!
- If you love a good sanga (Australian slang for sandwich), two Oʻahu restaurants have earned national recognition for their Kalua pig sandwiches. Highway Inn and Kono’s were included in Food & Wine Magazine’s list of The Best Sandwich in Every State.
- Rigo, a Spanish-Italian restaurant in Kapahulu close to Waikīkī, was named Hawaiʻi’s Best New Restaurant in the 2020 Hale ‘Aina Awards. It’s great for date night with tapas including ajillo (prawns fried with Italian parsley butter), premium pasta, and wood-fired pizzas made inside a traditional oven Napolitana-style. Need we say more?
Tours & Activities
- In response to the closure of Expedia Group’s Local Expert operations in Hawaiʻi, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters have opened a concierge service, Blue Hawaiian Activities. They operate 19 concierge offices on Maui and Oʻahu and will expand to Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island in the future.
- USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park has undergone an improvement project and will transition to being called The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor. After two years and a $23 million dollar renovation, the submarine museum will reopen to the general public in Feb 2021. This attraction details the history of the US Navy’s submarine force including exhibits, multi-media, and interactive displays.
Festivals & Events
- Hailing from New York, Blue Note is a famous jazz club with a Hawaiʻi branch inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. It’s Waikīkī’s premier live entertainment venue for not only jazz, but blues, reggae, and Hawaiian music artists. Check out the Blue Note Hawaiʻi calendar ahead of time to purchase tickets to big-name performers, upcoming events include Paula Fuga, Jake Shimabukuro, and Henry Kapono.
- Spend Aloha Fridays at Ward Village. Starting this month, Friday nights will come alive with Hawaiian music along the Auahi St promenade in Kakaʻako.
- Sadly, the Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii, an annual tradition held on Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, will not be held in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for opportunities to participate in the festival in other ways.
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