Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: May 31, 2004

BIG ISLAND VISITORS and locals are flocking to a new outdoor movie theater at the Waikoloa Kings' Shops. Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., full-length films are shown on a 17- by 10-foot digital screen, set on the mountainside of the Kohala Coast's 10-acre Kings' Lake. As trade winds sweep across the lawn, moviegoers sit on blankets and lawn chairs, while popcorn and beverages are served. A portion of the $5 admission price for theater attendees goes to the Waikoloa Foundation, which promotes education and preservation of Hawaiian native culture and environments.

THE WESTIN MAUI RESORT & SPA on Ka'anapali Beach became a 100% non-smoking hotel as it relates to guest rooms. All 758 rooms have been designated as non-smoking rooms; the hotel previously had 70% of the room so designated. The new smoke-free status came in coordination with the opening of the resort's new spa facility -- a move that the property hopes will attract more health-conscious visitors. Some public areas and balconies are still open to smokers. The hotel transformed the remaining 30% of rooms with thorough cleanings, new carpeting and drapery. The cost of the refurbishments, combined with the opening of the new spa, was $5 million.

OAHU'S HALEKULANI is marking its 20th anniversary with a series of themed events that revolve around the cultural and culinary arts. The "Art of Hawaiian Cuisine" is comprised of three days of guided culinary tours, lectures and cooking classes with two executive chefs from the property as well as the former food editor of the Honolulu Advertiser. It is offered July 16 to 18, Sept. 17 to 19, Oct. 13 to 15 and Nov. 19 to 21. The cost is $950 per person. A second package, "A Connoisseur's Collection," features a shopping and cultural tour of Oahu's antique shops and galleries. The two-day program features guided tours and commentary by various Pacific and Asian art experts. This package is offered June 17 to 18, Oct. 21 to 22 and Nov. 11 to 12. The cost is $400 per person. Fees do not include accommodations.

HONOLULU'S BISHOP MUSEUM, founded in 1889 as a tribute from Charles Reed Bishop to his wife, the last descendant of Hawaiian King Kamehameha, is offering a new program this summer for those who take their hula dancing seriously. The "Na Kumu Hula" workshops invite Hawaiian cultural experts to share their styles of hula, by offering three-day intensive dance-study sessions. For $250 per person, grass skirt enthusiasts will shake their hips and wave their hands [gracefully, that is]. On the third day, participants show their chanting and dance skills at a dinner show. The program is scheduled to take place June 23, 24, and 25; July 21, 22, and 23; and the August dates are to be determined.

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