Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: Oct. 27, 2003

THE HAWAII VISITORS AND CONVENTION BUREAU selected John Monahan as its new president and CEO. He replaces interim HVCB president and CEO Les Enderton, who will return to his full-time post as executive director of the Oahu Visitors Bureau. Monahan's background is primarily in retail as president and CEO of Hawaii department store chain Liberty House. Mostly recently, Monahan, 52, resigned one month after the U.S. Trustee's Office and Bankruptcy Court appointed him to serve as Chapter 11 trustee for Hawaiian Airlines. He cited health concerns at the time, but now said it was "a little bit of a false alarm," and that he is in good physical condition. At HVCB he will earn a base salary of $235,000 per year, with a bonus plan that includes 50% of his salary if he meets certain criteria. Monahan will seek to give new direction to the HVCB after a highly critical state audit earlier this year.

ELEGANT HIDEAWAYS is a three-year-old Hawaii-based company that provides upscale vacation homes to visitors. The company features beachfront homes, resort villas and estates throughout the Islands. After starting with 20 homes, Elegant Hideaways now has 100 properties on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. It also offers concierge services. These include pre-arrival grocery shopping, guest lecturers, storytellers, private chefs, butlers and more. Rates are commissionable. (877) 254-8554;

MAUNA LANI RESORT & SPA on the Big Island of Hawaii is gearing up for a wellness retreat Nov. 13 to 17. Jok-Keng Lee, raised in the Taoist tradition of Chinese medicine, will speak about safe herbs to enhance spirituality. Percussionist and composer Ed Mann will facilitate a gong/sound workshop. A specialist in organic plant and herb-based skin-care therapy, Lee and others will share valuable information with guests. Four-day event packages cost $1,665, single, and $2,370, double, and include accommodations at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. Individual day passes are also available. (800) 367-2323;

STAR OF HONOLULU has a new Five Star Sunset Dinner Cruise menu for fall. The seven-course meal on the 1,500-passenger vessel now includes wild mushroom consomm... garnished with a pate a choux pastry stuffed with morel, chanterelles, truffles and foie gras. This is followed by a smoked-duck salad topped with cranberry port dressing. Live Maine lobster, black truffles, grilled vegetable risotto and Alaskan Dungeness crab galette lead to the main course of tenderloin beef, saffron-roasted potatoes, artichoke and squash ratatouille. For dessert, a maple mousse pyramid layered with cake and encircled by a Swiss truffle and maple macaroon cookie. Don't forget the jazz and drinks. $199 per person. (800) 334-6191;

ALOHA AIRLINES is offering e-tickets for itineraries that include flights on United Airlines, and United is doing the same for Aloha to make travel more convenient. Travelers no longer need to hold separate tickets for each carrier. Aloha and United can issue the interline e-tickets at reservation centers, airports and ticket offices.

CENTEX HOMES purchased 34 acres and the rights to develop single-family homes and multi-family town homes in the Kop Olin Resort near the JW Marriott Mililani Resort & Spa. The investment is part of $700 million in new construction forecasted as a result of the $75 million aquarium tax credit passed earlier this year. Initial plans include 60 single-family homes and 260 town-home villas. Construction will begin early next year. Centex Homes' parent company is Centex Corp., one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S.

RATES & DATES: Runaway is offering packages through March 14 at hotels on all islands. Rates at the Kapalua Bay Hotel on Maui start at $1,243 for five nights, including airfare to/from Los Angeles or San Francisco. At Princeville Resort on Kauai, prices start at $1,730, including a bottle of champagne, and on the Big Island, Hapuna Beach Prince's rates begin at $1,195, including a $100 food-and-beverage credit. Black out dates apply. (800) 622-0723

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