Travel Weeklys Hawaii E-letter: March 7, 2005

THE MAUI MARRIOTT RESORT and Ocean Club will cease hotel operations and become a timeshare property. It is slated to reopen by November 2005. Marriott Vacation Club International bought the Lahaina resort in 1999. The original business model was to convert the 720 hotel rooms in to 311 villas. Since that time, the company has sunk $90 million in renovations and upgrades.

THE SHERATON KEAUHOU BAYS delayed grand opening of the Resort and Spa has led the Big Islands newest Kailua-Kona hotel to extend its introductory rate of $169 per night through April 30. This rate cannot be combined with any other offers, and is subject to availability. Ask for code PREOPEN when calling (888) 488-3535 or visit www.starwoodhotels.com/hawaii for more information.

CLASSIC CUSTOM VACATIONS introduced its 2005 Classic Hawaii brochure, complete with hotel partner listings. The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa and the Villages at Mauna Lani on the Big Island are newcomers, as is the Polo Beach Club on Maui and the Outrigger Luana Waikiki condominiums on Oahu. A spokesperson for Classic plugged excursions and adventures while in Hawaii, which can bolster agent sales per trip. Catamaran tours of the NaPali coast on Kauai or driving the Kohala coast on the Big Island in a vintage Porsche were a few of the recommendations listed. Visit www.classicforagents.com for more information.

ATLANTIS ADVENTURES is running daily whale-watching cruises from Aloha Tower marketplace in Honolulu through April 8. The cost for a ride on the twin-hulled Navatek I is $52.99 for adults and $33.99 for children. The rate includes a buffet lunch, beverages and transportation to and from the ship (from most Waikiki hotels) and a guaranteed whale sighting. The cruise departs at noon and returns at 2:30 p.m.

OUTRIGGER HOTELS & RESORTS and the city and county of Honolulu are offering a program that will maintain the beauty of downtown Waikiki. The third Thursday of each month, guests (along with hotel employees) can participate in the Kalakaua Experience, which consists of painting picnic tables and tending to indigenous trees in Kapiolani Park. The park is home to cultural and art events throughout the year. For more information, call (800) OUTRIGGER or visit the hotels on the Web at www.outriggerwaikiki.com or www.outriggerreef.com.

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