What’s New on Oahu > Oct-Nov 2021

*This is a copy of the Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 10 Nov 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.

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks… so much so, that we missed our October e-newsletter deadline – but we’re making up for it with this jam-packed Oct-Nov edition.

What’s been keeping us busy?

First off, we’re doing mini-makeovers at our Waikiki apartment rentals, one-by-one starting with our Simply Beautiful Waikīkī Apartment. We’ll be unveiling the new looks on our Instagram account @waikikibeachstays very soon!

Here’s a sneak-peek:

Secondly, Hawaii travel is on the upswing and business opportunities are booming!

While travel to Hawaii never officially stopped, back in August our Governor did ask travelers to delay their trips amid a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospital concerns.

COVID-19 cases across Hawaii have since declined and our Governor has extended an invitation to fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel to Hawaii once again.

Hawaii officially welcomed tourists back from 1 Nov 2021.

Of course, there are some entry requirements in place. Per the press release:

  • NON-U.S. citizens traveling directly to Hawaii from an international destination must present BOTH a vaccination record AND a negative COVID-19 test result (NAAT or antigen) within three days of boarding a flight to the United States.
  • U.S. citizens flying directly to Hawaii from an international destination have two options:
  1. Fully vaccinated travelers must provide proof of vaccination and present a test taken within three (3) days of boarding flight to U.S.; OR
  2. Travelers not fully vaccinated must provide proof of negative COVID-19 test result within one (1) day of boarding flight to U.S.

There will be no additional requirements for passengers flying directly into Hawaii from an international destination. The airlines will screen passengers prior to their departure to the U.S. If foreign passengers fail to meet BOTH requirements and if U.S. citizens fail to meet ONE of the two requirements, they will not be allowed to board the flight. Once in Hawaii, the CDC will conduct compliance checks.

NOTE: Tests do NOT have to be done with Trusted Travel Partners under the new international federal requirements, but they MUST be done with a Trusted Travel Partner for unvaccinated domestic travel.

Non-Direct International Travel to Hawaii
International passengers entering the U.S. from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the State of Hawaii. The Safe Travels Hawaii program remains in place for domestic travelers.


I know many of you are planning to visit Oahu ASAP, so here’s a round-up of the island’s new guidelines that came into play on 3 Nov 2021. 

By the way, Oahu has moved away from its tiered system of reopening and is now using a “flexible” response plan.

  • The Safe Access Oahu program is currently in place, requiring customers at gyms, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other attractions to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (taken within 48-hours of entry to a business).
  • Bars are permitted to open until 2am and can serve alcohol as per their liquor license. Cheers to that!
  • Both indoor and outdoor seated events, such as performances or sporting events, can resume at 100% capacity. However, all attendees must be vaccinated, masks are required, and no food can be served.
  • Indoor interactive events, such as weddings, are allowed a 50% capacity, with a maximum of 150 people (from 24 Nov 2021, up to 300 people).
  • Outdoor interactive events, such as weddings, are allowed a 50% capacity, capped at 500 people (from 24 Nov 2021, there will be no capacity limits).

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you have your ID, along with your proof of vaccination (or valid negative COVID-19, taken within 48-hours of entry to a business) in hard copy or digital format (a photo) to show as required on Oahu.

We continue to recommend visitors make dining reservations in advance. OpenTable app is great for booking, changing and cancelling reservations.

And if you’re not sure about where to eat, grab our Oahu Eats Guide (only $9.99)! It’s an up-to-date dining directory of our favorite eats across 38 categories.

If you have any questions or concerns about your future Hawaii vacation, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to help our guests and readers.

Warmest Aloha,
Ash & Keli‘i
[email protected]

COVID-19 Hawaii Travel Updates

  • As of 10 Nov 2021: There have been 85,360 cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii to date, resulting in 968 deaths. Average daily new cases 99 island-wide (48 Oahu, 12 Maui County, 17 Kauai and 22 Hawaii Island).


  • Hawaii still hasn’t bounced back from its post-pandemic rental car shortage. Book car hire ASAP! Discount Hawaii Car Rental is a great option: no booking fees or cancellation penalties, no prepayment and reservations are guaranteed.
  • To protect Hawaii’s spinner dolphins from human harassment, a new rule has been issued prohibiting swimming with or approaching within 50 yds (45 m) of a spinner dolphin that is within 2 mi (3.7 km) of the shore. The rule applies to boats, canoes, stand-up paddleboards and drones. Companies that operate “swimming with dolphins” boat tours must adjust operations to comply with this new rule.


  • Hawaiian Airlines will resume service between Sydney (SYD) and Honolulu (HNL) from 13 Dec 2021. Flights will depart SYD on Tue and Thu-Sun at 9:40pm, arriving to HNL at 10:35am – allowing guests to check in to their accommodations and begin exploring Oahu or connect through to a Neighbor Island. Flights will depart HNL on Mon and Wed-Sat at 11:50am, arriving to SYD at 7:45pm (the next day).
  • To meet anticipated holiday demand, Hawaiian Airlines is expanding once-daily service between Honolulu (HNL) and Seattle (SEA) and San Francisco (SFO), as well as between Kahului, Maui (OGG) and Los Angeles (LAX), with a variety of additional flights from mid-Nov 2021 through mid-Jan 2022.


  • There’s a parking ban in Lanikai through Dec 2021. The public is restricted from parking along any street in Lanikai on weekdays (Mon-Fri) from 8:30am-4pm. Try walking, biking, or using TheBus Route 671 from Kailua Town to access Lanikai. Click here to view a map of the restricted parking area.
  • Holoholo is a ride-share app in Hawaii, a locally-owned alternative to Uber and Lyft. They recently implemented an option to request a vaccinated “Vax’d” driver as well as a “Green” vehicle, and they don’t practice surge-pricing!
  • Hui is a round-trip, station-based car share app where you can book a vehicle by the hour or day, now or in the future. They have vehicle stations throughout Honolulu including six new stations in the Ala Moana, Waikiki and Kaimuki neighborhoods.


  • After a 1.5 year property restoration, the iconic Halekulani Hotel re-opened on 1 Oct 2021. Halekulani loosely translates to “House Befitting Heaven” in Hawaiian. Anyone who has visited this property already knows, it is one of Hawaii’s finest hotels!


  • Princess Cruises has delayed their Hawaii cruise itinerary start until Jan 2022 citing operational restrictions.

Restaurants & Bars

  • It kills me to say that Bills Hawaii, the popular Australian restaurant in Waikiki, is gone for good! The new restaurant that has taken its place is called Upstairs Hawaii, it’s a Japanese restaurant and sake bar concept.
  • Halekulani Hotel’s House Without A Key has finally reopened after a renovation. It’s stunning! Enjoy sunset cocktails and live entertainment daily from 5:30-8:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
  • Waikiki Leia is a gorgeous privately-owned property under Diamond Head that’s predominantly used as a wedding venue, however, they’re now open to the public Thu-Sun as a restaurant. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with a view!
  • Royal Hawaiian Dining Plaza is a new food court area located at 2239 Waikolu Way in Waikiki. It’s a congregation of many local eateries including Aloha Bowl (Asian flavors), Leo’s Taverna (Mediterranean), Ramen Ezogiku (ramen) and more.
  • Island Brew Coffee House has opened its third location in Anaha Shops at Ward Village (others in Hawaii Kai and at Ala Moana Center). The menu offers a range of local coffee and espresso drinks along with breakfast and lunch items.
  • Who remembers the eatery atop Ilikai? It used to be Sarento’s but that’s long gone and a new seafood and pasta restaurant by Wolfgang Zweiner opened a few months back called Pesca Waikiki Beach. It’s the place to go to for fresh fish and seafood.
  • One of our favorite Waikiki hangouts is reopening on 17 Nov 2021, check out Herringbone Waikiki on the Grand Lanai at the International Market Place. I have it on good authority they are bringing back their popular Oyster Hour!
  • Liliha Bakery is set to open its fourth location on 18 Nov 2021 on the Grand Lanai at International Market Place (others on North Kuakini St, Nimitz Hwy and at Ala Moana Center). Enjoy this local diner with an incredible bakery and try Coco Puffs!
  • From 18 Nov, Wicked Maine Lobster will be dishing out authentic Maine lobster rolls in the Paina Lanai Food Court at the Royal Hawaiian Center. This is the first location in Hawaii for this East Coast-style seafood shack.

Tours & Activities

  • The City and County of Honolulu is phasing in an online tee time booking system for Oahu’s six municipal golf courses. The new reservation system will allow golfers to book online, improving the experience for golfers competing for popular tee times.
  • And You Creations newest tour gives you the opportunity to see humpback whales in Hawaii. Tours run 15 Nov 2021-31 Mar 2022 (whale sightings guaranteed after 1 Dec) and include narration, hula entertainment and hydrophone equipment. Click here for more Top Oahu Whale Watching options.
  • Just a friendly reminder, the Waikiki Trolley is back in action! This hop-on-hop-off bus and trolley system shuttles passengers on three routes: Ocean/Diamond Head, City Arts District, and Ala Moana Shopping. A new kiosk has opened inside the Waikiki Shopping Plaza where you can purchase tickets or book online.


  • Village Books & Music has moved to a permanent location in Ward Village Shops (15-mins drive from Waikiki). Support Hawaii’s 51 public libraries by purchasing pre-loved books, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, games, collectables, works of art and more!

Festivals & Events

  • Weekly Live Music at Shor Waikiki, the poolside eatery on the 3rd Floor of the Diamond Head Tower at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. Enjoy live entertainment by local artists Thu, Fri and Sat evening 5:30-8:30pm.
  • The Made in Hawaii Festival (MIHF) open-air event kicks off this week at the Ala Moana Center from 11-14 Nov 2021. For the last 27 years, the MIHF has served as Hawaii’s premier event exclusively showcasing made-in-Hawaii products.
  • A range of Hawaii Theatre performances are scheduled over the coming months including All Together Now (13 Nov 2021) and The Hope You Get Rich Tour (26-27 Nov 2021). Please check online for more upcoming events.
  • Waikiki Beach Walk hosts live entertainment Kū Ha‘aheo every Tue 4:30-6pm, free Ka Lei Hula lesson every Sun at 9am and a monthly musical performance Mele Hali‘a (currently set for 21 Nov and 12 Dec 2021 and 6 Jan 2022).
  • Honolulu Marathon is set to return as in-person event on 12 Dec 2021. This running festival also incorporates the Kalakaua Merrie Mile and Start to Park 10K events. You can also register to complete the Virtual Honolulu Marathon this year.
  • Mahiku Farmers Market invites you to experience the variety of fresh and unique products offered by local farmers, growers, artisans, and food purveyors every Fri 11am-7pm at the Ala Moana Pacific Center Courtyard.
  • The Honolulu Museum of Art’s Artists of Hawaii Now exhibition celebrates world-class artwork from contemporary artists of Hawaii exploring some of the most urgent issues of our time and place. On display through 16 Jan 2022.
  • Hawaii Opera Theatre plans to return to live performances in the new year with HOT Live in Concert (28 Jan 2022), Opera Ball: The Butterfly Emerges (26 Mar 2022), Madame Butterfly (Apr 2022) and The Tragedy of Carmen (18-19 Feb 2022).
  • With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve fast approaching, keep up to date with what’s on during these seasonal holidays on our Waikiki Beach Stays website:

– Thanksgiving in Hawaii 

– Christmas in Hawaii

– New Years Eve in Hawaii

  • To discover more events taking place in November, click here.

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Image Credit: Waikiki Beach Stays/Ashlee Galea