Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: Sept. 22, 2003

HOLIDAY GIFTS: Grand Wailea on Maui wants guests to feel younger and created a holiday gift with all the trimmings to help them achieve their quest for youth. The Grand Wailea Escape includes six nights' accommodations in a royal suite, two dinners prepared by the executive chef, a fitness assessment and nutritional consultations, stress management and meditation consultation and a daily yoga session with an instructor. In addition, each guest receives two daily spa treatments -- facials, makeovers and massages -- for five days; a snorkel adventure; and daily delivery of fresh fruit and bottled water. At $20,000, double occupancy, there's also a gift for travel agents in the 10% commission paid on the package. The package must be purchased by Dec. 25 for travel Jan. 2 through Dec. 19, 2004; black out dates apply. To book, call (800) 888-6100 or visit www.grandwailea.com.

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS HAWAII upgraded its Web site with animated movies, virtual tours, Hawaiian music, island maps and travel-planning tools. With less copy and more images, the site promotes a more interactive experience that highlights the destination, according to Starwood. Agents also have their own section on the site -- separate from the consumer area -- where they'll find details on fam rates, special offers, booking bonuses, wholesaler information and Starwood's Aloha Amenity program. The site can be found at www.starwood.com/hawaii.

APPLE VACATIONS launched an agent incentive called the Big Kahuna Club. Valid on new bookings of four nights or more made through Jan. 31 for departures Jan. 1 through April 30, agents receive bonus royalties points for bookings at Outrigger and Ohana Resorts throughout Hawaii. These points are redeemable for merchandise such as Waterford Crystal, Samsonite Luggage, electronics, leather goods and jewelry. In addition, for every Outrigger/Ohana booking of four nights or more, agents earn one letter. All agents who spell out "Big Kahuna Club" earn a free five-night vacation in Hawaii. In other news, Apple named the Westin Maui as the best hotel in the EP (European Plan, no meals included) category of its Crystal Awards. The ceremony took place at Apple's annual travel trade show held Sept. 9 in Oak Brook, Ill. For details on the agent incentive promotion, call (800) 365-2775 or visit www.applevacations.com.

KAHALA MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HAWAII is hosting a food and wine festival Oct. 8 to 11. Cooking demonstrations highlight Cantonese fare and the finer uses of Thai spices and herbs; local celebrity chefs plan to showcase their culinary skills as well. Australian wines will accentuate the tastings; those who prefer tea can attend the Chinese tea blending presentation. For details, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/kahala.

RATES & DATES
• Classic Custom Vacations and Prince Resorts Hawaii are offering special deals for bookings through Sept. 30 for travel through Dec. 22 and again Jan. 4 through March 31. Packages include express rental car pickup and a free aloha shirt from Hilo Hattie. A seven-night plan at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Big Island is priced from $1,373 per person, double, with a $100 food and beverage credit. Rates at the Hawaii Prince Hotel in Waikiki start at $958 per person for seven nights. To book, call (800) 221-3949.
• Blue Sky Tours and Dollar Rent A Car are giving travelers a free car upgrade from a compact to a midsize when booking trips to Hawaii through Blue Sky this fall. Families get upgraded from a full size car to a seven-passenger minivan. The offer is valid on new bookings only for travel through Dec. 15; blackout dates apply. All taxes are included. To book, call (800) 678-2787 or log onto www.blueskytours.com.

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