Hawaii Honeymoon: The Heart of the Matter

Honeymoon and romance travel is a major market for tour operators specializing in Hawaii. The following is a sampling of what these operators offer and their thoughts on the market. All rates are per person, based on double occupancy. For contact numbers, see below.

Certified Vacations Group. Certified operates Continental Airlines Vacations and Delta Vacations. Says Chris Hamaway, Certified's general manager for the western region,"We flag all of our honeymoon guests so that all of our hotels provide champagne and other amenities to these clients.

"Hawaii fits the mold so well for romance travel. It's tough to find a place where you'll find better hospitality and service along with a hotel product that is second to none. And the sheer romantic quality of the islands adds to a romantic experience."

Continental Airlines Vacations offers a five-night package at the Royal Kona Resort on the Big Island from $959 from Houston, $969 from Cleveland and $999 from Newark. The package includes airfare and rental car, plus discounts on horseback riding and bicycle rentals.

Delta Vacations features a three-night package at the Princeville Resort priced from $1,039. The deal includes airfare from Los Angeles, rental car and discounts on sightseeing and activities.

Classic Custom Vacations. The honeymoon/romance market is, along with golf, family and seniors, one of four markets in which Hawaii excels, according to Ron Letterman, president and chief executive officer of Classic Custom Vacations.

There are numerous sun and sand destinations, but what makes Hawaii unique is the wealth of things to do and see beyond the beach, says Letterman. "Hawaii has grand canyons, waterfalls, rivers, rain forests, volcanoes; and in Hawaii there is a refinement that doesn't exist at many other beach resorts, plus a quality of facilities that is extraordinary."

Classic Custom Vacations publishes a Travel Agents Guide containing a consolidated listing of travel specials including honeymoon/romance packages. Among these is a seven-night honeymoon package at the Maui Prince Hotel at $1,008, including a dinner for two, champagne and convertible rental car.

Fantasy Holidays. "Honeymoons in Hawaii are big business; Hawaii is everyone's dream of paradise," says president John DeLeo. "People have a tendency to think that the islands are very expensive but they don't have to be as expensive as you think."

Among Fantasy Holiday's collection of Hawaii properties are the Marc Suite Waikiki Royal with rates of $62 to $123 a night, the Embassy Vacation Resort Kaanapali on Maui at $143 to $266 a night, the Kauai Coconut Beach Resort at $53 to $82 a night and the Royal Waikoloan on the Big Island at $69 to $111 a night.

Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays. The company's honeymoon program includes a room upgrade, based on availability, and welcome champagne for honeymoon couples, says Karen Schulz-Hughes, vice president of marketing and product development.

"All the agent has to do is let us know their client is a honeymoon couple [to qualify for the honeymoon program]," she says.

The tour operator features a wide variety of hotels in all prices ranges in its Hawaii honeymoon program. Seven night packages include the Outrigger Waikiki at $975 from Los Angeles and $1,189 from New York; the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu at $1,335 from Los Angeles and $1,549 from New York, and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui at $1,283 from Los Angeles and $1,541 from New York. The packages include air fare, flower lei greeting, private transfers on Oahu and daily convertible car rental on Maui.

Runaway Tours. Ed Jackson, Runaway's president and chief executive officer, says his company does a tremendous amount of honeymoon business to Hawaii. "More and more travel agencies are focusing on the market and doing a good job," says Jackson. To help encourage them the company is developing a new honeymoon brochure that can be customized for individual travel agencies.

"The brochure can basically make the agency a Hawaii honeymoon specialist because it becomes their brochure, bearing the agency's name in partnership with Runaway," he says. The new brochure will be available this fall.

Among Runaway's honeymoon packages is three nights at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental on Oahu, ranging in price from $435 to $840 or seven nights from $1,015 to $1,960. A $75 lunch or dinner credit is included. A three-night package at the Four Seasons at Wailea, Maui, is priced at $477 to $1,008 with seven nights at $1,113 to $2,352.

Tour Firm Reservation Numbers

Classic Custom Vacations, (800) 221-3949.
Continental Vacations, (800) 634-5555.
Delta Vacations, (800) 221-6666.
Fantasy Holidays, (800) 645-2555.
Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays, (800) 242-9244.
Runaway Tours, (800) 622-0723.

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