What's happening in Hawaii

Hotels lose top ratings

Oahu's only two hotels holding AAA's Five Diamond rating, the Halekulani and the Kahala Mandarin Oriental, each lost one diamond for 2002. The diamond awards are published in AAA's tour book each year and afford a hotel bragging rites. Only 33 hotels in the U.S. hold the five diamond designation for 2002. Now only three hotels in Hawaii hold five-diamond ratings from AAA: the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island and a pair of Maui properties: the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and the Four Seasons Resort. A spokeswoman for the Mandarin Oriental said the hotel hopes to get its fifth diamond back next year but pointed out the evaluations are based only on a snapshot overnight visit by AAA.

Hawaiian upgrades
Hawaiian Airlines took delivery of the first two of 16 new 767 aircraft that eventually will replace 15 DC-10s used on flights from the mainland. The first two planes already are working on routes from San Diego and Los Angeles to Honolulu, and a third will start on the San Francisco to Honolulu route later this month. Hawaiian recently completed the replacement of its entire fleet of DC-9 aircraft used on interisland flights with 11 new 717-200 aircraft.

West Coast ranks No. 1
Hawaii visitors from the West Coast ranked No. 1 in spending and No. 1 in head count in 2000, according to the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism. The 2.1 million West Coast visitors spent more than $3.4 billion in the state last year. East Coast visitors ranked No. 2 in spending at a little more than $2.9 billion but ranked No. 3 in the number of visitors at 1.5 million. Visitors from Japan ranked No. 3 in spending at $2.3 billion and No. 2 in the number of visitors at 2 million.

Royal Kona revamps
The Royal Kona Resort on the Big Island is renovating all 452 rooms, a restaurant and a lounge. The work should be completed by mid-December, according to owner Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts.

Aloha e-tickets
Galileo added Aloha Airlines to its list of carriers that can sell electronic tickets through the CRS. Electronic tickets are available for booking on both interisland and mainland routes. The CRS also offers electronic ticketing on Hawaiian Airlines.

Aston renovation
The Aston Pacific Monarch in Waikiki finished a $1 million renovation of its 135 condominium units. "Everything from the carpet, furniture and fixtures to the appliances and refrigerators, are new," said general manager Mike Winchatz. Rates for 2002 range from $120 per night for a studio unit to $145 for a one-bedroom unit. For more information, call (800) 922-7866.

$199 agent air rate
Aloha Airlines is offering travel agents and their spouses a fare of $199 per person, roundtrip from Oakland and Santa Ana, Calif., and Las Vegas to Honolulu, Maui or the Big Island through Jan. 31. Agents must meet certain requirements such as having one year of service at the current agency and having a valid International Airlines Travel Agency Network ID card. Interested agents should fax a request on company letterhead signed by the agency owner or manager with the employee's and spouse's names, ARC number, a copy of the Iatan card and a record locator number for the reservation to the Aloha Airlines sales offices. On the mainland, call (415) 394-0303, and in Hawaii, (808) 539-5901.

Agent rate at Orchid
The Orchid at Mauna Lani is offering a nightly agent rate of $139 per room in a gardenview unit. The offer is good for three nights maximum from Jan. 2 through Dec. 20, 2002. To get the discount, agents must present an Iatan card and a letter of introduction from the agency owner or manager at check-in. For details, call (800) 845-9905.

Pleasant adds hotels
Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays added six properties to its brochure for 2002: the Ohana Waikiki Malia on Oahu; the Outrigger Palms at Wailea on Maui; the Sugar Beach Resort on Maui, and the Big Island resorts of the Islands at Mauna Lani, Mauna Lani Point and the Hilo Bay Hotel.

SunTrips seven-night sale
SunTrips is having a sale on seven-night packages from San Francisco to Hawaii including air, car and accommodations, with prices ranging from $459 to $839 per person, double, depending on the island. The sale is good through January on selected departures. Call (800) 786-8747.

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