Honolulu landmark reopens

HONOLULU -- The Aloha Tower, a 10-story Honolulu landmark, reopened to the public after being closed for two years for renovation.

The 180-foot tower at Honolulu Harbor was Hawaii's tallest building when in opened in 1926. That distinction disappeared long ago as it became dwarfed by downtown high rises.

Then, in 1994, the two-story Aloha Tower Marketplace opened with more than 80 specialty stores, restaurants and bars. With its surroundings cleared of the terminal and warehouse buildings that had sprouted around it, the tower again became a focal point.

In 1997 it closed for an $800,000 renovation that included new handicapped-accessible rest rooms, emergency exits and security cameras. Following its recent rededication and reopening, visitors can again tour the tower, ending with the harbor view from the 10th floor observation deck. They also can see the clock mechanism, which takes up an area below the observation deck between the ninth and 10th floors (the clock itself has faces that are more than 12 feet in diameter). Gone are the offices of the state's harbor division, which previously took up much of the tower's space.

The symbol that once greeted passengers of ocean liners -- and now cruise ships -- has a history of its own. It was controversial when it was built (because of the cost); it was strafed by a lone Japanese plane on Dec. 7, 1941, and during the war was painted in camouflage.

The tower is open daily 9 a.m. to sunset; admission is free and there are free 20-minute guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For further information, check the Aloha Tower Marketplace's Web site at www.alohatower.com. The site includes photos that can be downloaded, links to island live-cams and information on the tower (including views from the observation deck). Also included is information on the marketplace, its attractions, day cruises from its piers and a monthly schedule of events, including free entertainment.

Hawaiian Attractions group hands out discounts to agents

HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Attractions Association compiled a list of its members' travel agent discount rates.

Included are a special agent rate of $39 for Atlantis Submarines excursions, and admission prices of $6 for the Hawaii Maritime Center; $4.25 at Waikiki's Imax Theater; $12 at both Sea Life Park and Waimea Falls Park, and free admission at Bishop Museum. Package discounts of 50% are offered at both Kualoa Ranch and Paradise Cove Luau.

Agent discounts at retailers include 20% off at Hilo Hattie (excludes food and sale items) and 35% at Maui Diver's Jewelry Design Center (excludes sale items). The offers are available through Dec. 31 and agents must present a business card or Iatan card on check-in.

Hawaii Attractions Association
Phone: (808) 596-7733
Fax: (808) 596-2277

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