Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: Dec. 1, 2003

BISHOP MUSEUM in Honolulu is preparing for the holidays with Candy Cane Lane. December 12 to 14, the museum's Great Lawn will become Santa's workshop with Christmas trees, giant candy canes and entertainment. Kids can make gifts for parents and friends in the craft section. Other activities include a giant castle slide, a Lilo and Stitch bouncer, a rock-climbing wall, cooking demonstrations and costumed characters. Free train rides, story telling and candy making, and of course, daily visits from Santa complete the experience. Open 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14. The cost is $3 per person, plus a nominal fee for make-and-take crafts. (808) 847-3511;

THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION honored four Hawaii hotels and one restaurant with its AAA Five Diamond Award for 2004. Properties include Oahu's Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island, Maui's Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. This marks the 14th consecutive year that Halekulani's La Mer Restaurant in Waikiki has earned AAA Five Diamond status. Of the estimated 40,000 lodgings and restaurants listed in the 2004 AAA guides and books, less than 0.5% received the Five Diamond Award.

THE SHERATON WAIKIKI is ready for New Year's Eve. Ballroom doors to the annual gala will open at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, beginning a grand evening of Hawaiian entertainment. Prices are $225 per adult--and it includes a buffet dinner and unlimited wine--and $135 per child. Prices for the show only are $95 per adult and $55 per child. Taxes and gratuities are included. Dinner and entertainment are also available in the less expensive Ocean Terrace Restaurant and the Hanohano Room. A more casual atmosphere beckons from the Sand Bar, where party band Simplisity will play from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with no admission charge. Reservations are required for all restaurants: (808) 931-8383;

THE HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS is exhibiting the Doris Duke Jewelry Collection through Dec. 31 in the Textile Gallery. American heiress Doris Duke inherited Victorian heirloom jewelry and purchased others during her extensive travels around the world. Approximately 100 pieces are presented in five categories: family heirlooms, Indian pieces, a Cartier diamond necklace, and other examples of Western jewelry traditions. The collection encompasses one hundred years, and reflects her evolving tastes over several decades. Also at the Academy through Jan. 11 is "In Celebration of Light: Photographs from the collection of Cherye R. and James F. Pierce," featuring 125 prints from photographers such as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz and Diane Arbus. The works are presented thematically. Admission is $7; $4 for seniors, students and military personnel. The museum is free on the first Wednesday of the month. (808) 532-8701;

WAILEA, MAUI is still hosting a Skins golf tournament, but the name has changed again. The Wendy's Champions Skins Game will be played on the Wailea Gold Course in Wailea Resort on the Valley Isle Jan. 30 to 31. Produced by ESPN Regional television, the nationally televised golf competition features a few elite golf professionals competing in an 18-hole skins format. Last year, Lee Trevino won much of the $600,000 purse, besting Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin. Tickets cost $10 for the pro-am on Friday, Jan. 30, and $25 for the competition on Saturday, Jan. 31. Children up to 12 years old are free, but must be accompanied by a ticketed adult. (800) 332-1614;

ALOHA AIRLINES will upgrade its service to the Marshall Islands beginning Dec. 4. The 737-700 will replace the 737-200 ETOPS aircraft that has been in service to the Marshalls since 1999. After Dec. 1, Aloha's twice weekly flights to the Marshall Islands will no longer stop at Johnston Atoll. A new flight schedule also will be in effect after Dec. 4; departures will leave Honolulu on Mondays and Thursdays at 3 p.m. for Kwajalein and continue to Majuro.

HILO HATTIE is offering made-in-Hawaii gift baskets for the holiday season. Kona coffee blends, macadamia nut treats and aloha print mugs are some of the goodies that can be placed in baskets that range in price from $24.99 to $99.99. Gift baskets can be purchased in any Hilo Hattie store (located in Tempe, Arizona; Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando, Florida on the Mainland), via phone (800-233-8912) or at Gift givers might also consider Hawaiian Christmas wreathes made of macadamia and juniper leaves, Hawaiian pods and pinecones.

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