Local, Honolulu-based boutique resort chain Aqua Hotels & Resorts is on a roll, having recently been selected to take over management at three iconic Hawaii hotels. IStar Financial handpicked Aqua to take on operations at two properties that it recently purchased at foreclosure auctions, the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki and the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort. Meanwhile, Aqua also took over management of the 135-room Waikiki property previously known as the Honolulu Prince Hotel. Renamed the Aqua Waikiki Pearl, the hotel is owned by New York-based Ramsfield Hospitality Finance and recently underwent a $5 million refurbishment. Built in 1964 and considered Hawaii's first high-rise, luxury hotel, the 203-room Ilikai, which reopened July 24, was made famous in the opening credits of the popular TV series "Hawaii Five-O," which featured program star Jack Lord standing on one of the hotel's balconies. Both the Ilikai and the 350-room Hilton Kauai Beach Resort formerly belonged to Big Island developer Brian Anderson. Aqua manages 16 hotels in Hawaii. Visit www.aquaresorts.com.
Runway repairs on tap
Honolulu Airport will receive more than $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for runway improvements and repairs, according to Sen. Daniel Inouye. "Maintaining safe and timely air travel is critical for our residents, our visitors and the state's economy," Inouye, the state's senior U.S. senator, said in a statement. "Repairing this runway now will prolong its useful life and save the state money in the long term." The $1.3 million will be used to repair "cracking and spalling" on Honolulu Airport's Taxiway B. The runway, 6,000 feet long and 50 feet wide, is used daily by both domestic and international air carriers. Inouye, Hawaii's senior senator, also serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. See www.honoluluairport.com.
Travel agents booking a minimum of five consecutive nights at the Whaler on Kaanapali Beach through Dec. 21 will receive a $100 cash bonus with Aston Hotels and Resorts' STARs Online Travel Agent Incentive Program. The promotion is part of the Maui property's recent relaunch following an 18-month, extensive makeover to the hotel's exterior, including a refurbished pool area and jet spa along with landscaping improvements throughout the property's garden courtyard. Visit www.astonstars.com and www.astonhotels.com for more information about the STARs Online incentive program and the Whaler on Kaanapali Beach.
Trump comes online
The 462-room Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk has started taking reservations for guests looking to visit Oahu beginning Nov. 16. The 38-story property is home to both residential condo units (all 464 sold in one day last November) and hotel rooms, ranging in price from studios for $255 a night to penthouse accommodations that will cost guests a minimum of $8,000. The hotel will also feature a Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak restaurant and the Spa at Trump. Visit www.trumpwaikikihotel.com for details and reservations.
Agents fly free on Funjet
Funjet Vacations is offering travel agent partners the chance to fly to Hawaii for free. Retailers who book three Hawaii reservations through Aug. 6 will receive a free seat to Hawaii via United Airlines. "Over the past few months, Funjet Vacations has seen an increase in bookings to Hawaii," said the company. "Funjet Vacations wants to ensure agents are able to make the most of this opportunity, and the free air seat with United Airlines is a way for agents to earn even more from their Hawaii bookings." Visit www.funjet.com.
United, Mokulele deal
Passengers flying United Airlines to Hawaii can now book tickets and check baggage directly to their final destination on interisland carrier Mokulele Airlines. Mokulele flies 82 daily departures to six Hawaii cities. See www.mokuleleairlines.com.