*This is a copy of the Waikīkī Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 18 Mar 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.
Hawaiʻi 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 Oʻahu and Kauaʻi, and central Maui.
Waikīkī was thankfully fine, and went on to welcome a record number of visitors over the weekend. This past Saturday saw more tourists travel to Hawaiʻi in a single day since the start of the pandemic! This uptick coincides with spring break.
Speaking of milestones, The Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi dreams alive!
Thanks to the vaccine rollout in Hawaiʻi, 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 Oʻahu 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 Hawaiʻi Travel Updates
- As of 16 Mar 2021: There have been 28,352 cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi, resulting in 451 deaths. Average daily new cases 53 island-wide. There have been 708 cases island-wide in the last 14-days (Oʻahu 369; Maui County 240; Hawaiʻi Island 95; Kauaʻi 4). At one point Hawaiʻi had 300+ new cases in a single day, so these stats are significantly reduced.
- 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.
- Hawaiʻi is considering the implementation of a “Vaccine Passport” (potentially beginning 1 May 2021) that will free up US 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 Hawaiʻi hotels have landed on Travel + Leisure’s list of the Top 500 Properties from Around the World. The Hawaiʻi properties to make the US 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, Hawaiʻi took out half of the Top 10 Beaches in the U.S. The list includes Kāʻanapali Beach (Maui), Wailea Beach (Maui), Nāpili Beach (Maui), Waiʻānapanapa State Park (Maui) and Kailua Beach Park (Oʻahu).
- Sand People, a coastal lifestyle chain of gift shops, has closed 10 of its 12 Hawaiʻi locations including two in Waikīkī and one at Ala Moana Center. Remaining Sand People locations are in Hanalei (Kauaʻi) and Lahaina (Maui).
- The first commercial flights connecting Florida and Hawaiʻi 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 (Oʻahu) and Long Beach (California).
- Hawaiian Airlines is expanding its pre-clearance program to Japan and South Korea. The program minimizes lines at Hawaiʻi airports by clearing passengers (verifying Safe Travels Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi. Guests will be guided by concierge who will provide, time and track approved testing to meet the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi guidelines and help guests safely and smoothly reach Oʻahu.
Restaurants & Bars
- Holey Grail Donuts has permanently parked a yellow food truck at 325 Seaside Ave in Waikīkī. 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 Waikīkī 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 Hawaiʻi 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 US 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.
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