Travel Weeklys Hawaii E-letter: March 20, 2006

FLOODING ON KAUAI left at least two dead and five missing after a dam at the Kaloko Reservoir breached on March 14, causing a landslide on Kauais north shore. The flooding and landslide closed the Kuhio Highway, which connects Princeville, Hanalei and Haena to the rest of the island, stranding residents and visitors. According to Winfred Pong, a project manager for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, state and county officials were working to accommodate people who were stranded; hotels and airlines also were accommodating guests and passengers by waiving change fees and extending rates, when available. At press time, only one lane of the highway had reopened to traffic. According to local news reports, the highway will be closed down to one lane for two to four months for repairs.

THE RITZ-CARLTON, KAPALUA is getting ready for some sprucing up. Following its acquisition by a partnership consisting of the Gencom Group, Highgate Holdings and Whitehall Street Global Real Estate, the 548-room hotel on Maui is set for a $40 million renovation that will include renovations to all guest rooms, an expansion of the 7,000-square-foot spa and a revamping of common areas. The property, which will continue to be managed by Ritz-Carlton, will stay under the Ritz-Carlton flag. In other news, the property has launched a weekly concert series every Wednesday evenin to celebrate the Grammy winning Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1 CD, which was recorded live at the hotel. Host George Kahumoku Jr., who accepted the Grammy, features a different artist each week. Tickets are $40 per person; call (888) 669-3858.

GOGO WORLDWIDE VACATIONS is bringing its Learning Conference to the Big Island from April 27 to May 1, enabling agents to earn their Hawaii specialist certification while enjoying a stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Four-night conference packages begin at $829 per person, inclusive of roundtrip air on American to Kona, most meals and airport transfers. Visit www.gogowwv.com for applications.

 

THE REGENCY ON BEACHWALK, Big Island investor Brian Andersons latest condo-hotel property, has begun accepting reservations. Scheduled for completion in June 2006, the former 48-room Marc Waikiki Royal Suites is being marketed as an urban chic boutique hotel. One- and two-bedroom units will sell for $400,000 to $700,000; nightly room rates have yet to be determined. Anderson recently converted the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort as well as the Royal Sea Cliff on the Big Island.

PACKAGE DEALS:

" The Hotel Hana Maui will host Robert Glenn Ketchums Visions of Paradise Photography Workshop, May 1 to 6. Recognized by Audubon Magazine as a champion of conservation and environmental photography, Ketchum will host the workshop, while the hotel provides five-night accommodations, five breakfasts, a welcome reception, a farewell dinner with wine pairings, one lunch, snacks during workshops and access to the spa and wellness center. Starting at $1,547 per person. Go to http://www.hotelhanamaui.com/ketchum.shtml?src=rgkHHM.

" Apple Vacations is offering incentives to golfers who book at the Kapalua Villas on Maui. The package includes five-night accommodations, roundtrip air from Denver on United, a convertible car rental and a $100 credit to be used at restaurants or pro shops resortwide. The price starts at $1,399 per person. Valid through May 31. Go to www.applevac.com for more information.

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