Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: Jan. 12, 2004

HOTEL HANA-MAUI recently completed a new spa, which is set to open in February. The 7,650 square-foot facility is on one acre with views of Hana Bay and Kauiki Hill. Inside, a waterfall wall greets visitors. Amenities include a cold plunge pool and a tandem Watsu pool heated to body temperature, where therapists guide guests through gentle movements. Outdoor lava-rock showers and a basking whirlpool are near nine treatment rooms. Five are massage suites, with each averaging 500 square feet with a private bathroom. Four of the five suites have private gardens, and two are designated for couples. Two wet rooms and a boutique complete the new space. Fifteen licensed therapists and four estheticians will administer Hawaiian treatments such as the Hot Stone Massage and a scrub and wrap with Honua sugar. (800) 321-HANA; www.hotelhanamaui.com

The Sheraton Molokai Lodge and Beach Village will begin a series of culinary events on Jan. 16 with a special wine dinner followed by a wine and cheese seminar the next day. The Winter Celebration wine dinner features selections for each course from Robert Mondavi, and will be served in the Maunaloa Room at the Lodge. Guests can look forward to Pomegranate Lacquered Salmon, grilled pear, winter cous cous, Lingonberry Roasted Beef and grilled chicken apple sausage -- just a few items on the evening's menu. Cost is $65 per person for the dinner and $25 per person for the tasting seminar. Classically- trained executive chef Martina Hilldorfer is formerly the chef at Kapalua Bay Hotel on Maui. (888) 325-3589; www.sheratonmolokai.com

THE HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS has several new exhibits this month. "2000 Dragons: Don Ed Hardy" highlights sophisticated painting techniques and the blending of popular culture and fine art in contemporary tattoo design. "2000 Dragons" was completed in 2000 after four years; the 500-foot-long, 4-foot-wide painting celebrates dragons from the point of view of various Asian traditions. This runs through Jan. 31. "Signmedaya: New Works by Peter Raub" will also be on display. A Bali-based artist who uses graphite on paper, Raub utilizes watercolor sketches and natural indigo batik panels. "The Alsdorf Collection of Japanese Paintings" is a selection of 28 works from the Chicago collection of Marilynn Alsdorf. (800) 532-8701; www.honoluluacademy.org

THE HAWAII VISITORS AND CONVENTION BUREAU will lay off 11 employees from its central office to streamline its operations and focus on promoting leisure travel to the Islands from North America. This comes after the Hawaii Tourism Authority passed over the HVCB to grant international marketing contracts to outside firms, forcing the HVCB to eliminate 18 positions from international divisions. The HVCB, which continues to sell corporate meetings and conventions globally, will reorganize its administrative staff and close the Global Corporate Communications and Partnerships division by Jan. 16. Terminated employees will receive severance packages and employment-assistance benefits.

THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY signed agreements with its tourism marketing contractors, effective Jan. 1. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau will promote Hawaii in North America and try to boost corporate meetings and incentives with $24.2 million. This includes support for the HVCB's island chapters. Dentsu will receive $7.3 million to market Hawaii to Japan, and Marketing Garden will get $950,400 to promote the Islands to the rest of Asia. The Mangum Group will market to Europe with a contract worth $768,000, and $600,000 will go to the Walshe Group for promotions in Oceania.

CLASSIC CUSTOM VACATIONS AND STARWOOD HAWAII are offering packages valid through Dec. 18 when booked by Feb. 29. Guests at one of 12 participating hotels will receive rooms with scenic views, the fourth night free [when staying for three nights] and several dining options outside the resort. Vacations at the Westin Maui start at $1,146 per person for five nights. Six nights at the Princeville Resort on Kauai begin at $1,472 per person. Four nights at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani on Oahu start from $381 per person. (800) 221-3949; www.classicforagents.com

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