Prevue March-April 2018 - 101
Leveraging the cultural heritage of the islands to create authentic
experiences for groups makes for unique corporate retreats in Hawaii.
By Steve Grasso.
1. MEET HAWAII
Hawaii's rich cultural heritage provides attendees with authentic
experiences unique to the islands. Groups can participate in
team building exercises, such as outrigger canoe paddling,
throw-net fishing, harvesting kalo from a lo'i (irrigated
agricultural terrace), or helping restore a centuries-old loko i'a
(fishpond) built by early Hawaiians.
"The Meet Hawaii team works closely with planners to
personally develop effective programs and schedules based
on desired goals that maximize the meeting experiences for
attendees," says Mary Neister, VP at Meet Hawaii. "The team
helps planners get the most out of their budgets by connecting
the dots to an extensive network of industry partners and
resources statewide. Additionally, they can share insight on the
nuances of hosting meetings in the Hawaiian Islands and offer
insider tips to enhance the overall experience."
3. ALOHILANI RESORT WAIKIKI BEACH
Boasting 839 guest rooms and suites, the Alohilani Resort
Waikiki Beach opened last year at the former beach residence
of Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii, who
called it Kealohilani, or "The Royal Brightness." The resort's
$115 million redevelopment pays homage to its royal history and
The resort lobby features a 280,000-gallon Oceanarium filled
with local fish, while the SWELL Bar located on the pool deck
boasts private cabanas and an infinity saltwater swimming pool,
and is available for evening events or buyouts.
"Executive Chef Conrad Aquino recently held a cooking
demonstration in Lychee for meeting attendees to make their
own poke (Hawaiian-style ceviche) with prepped ingredients, and
his Executive Sous Chef Kevin Carvalho provided an experiential
performance that was a highlight of the group's visit to Honolulu,"
says Patsy Narimatsu, area director of sales and marketing.
4. AULANI, A DISNEY RESORT & SPA
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, is located on the west side of
Oahu in Ko Olina. The resort community offers much to satisfy
outdoorsy attendees, including an 18-hole golf course, marina,
white-sand beaches and a variety of restaurant options. New at
the resort is a unique dining and entertainment experience called
KA WA'A, a Luau. The show combines music and traditional
Hawaiian dance to tell the story of the sacred canoe that brought
the ancestors of native Hawaiians to Hawaii. The luau is available
for full or partial buyout for private group events, and the beach
at Aulani is also available for private functions.
"From the moment attendees step on property, they are fully
immersed in the beauty, culture and tradition of Hawaii through
stunning artwork, architecture, stories and friendly hospitality,
all combined with a touch of Disney magic," says Joe Medwetz,
senior sales and services director.
2. HYATT REGENCY MAUI
RESORT & SPA
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is the largest
full-service resort on Maui and provides a multitude of
options for attendees. The resort personalizes the incentive
experience by bringing in elements of Hawaiian culture such
as "Opening Session Hawaiian Prayers," where leis are
given to attendees on arrival, on-property cultural activities,
and the exhilarating "Drums of the Pacific Luau."
"One our biggest differentiations on why a planner
should bring a program to our resort is the special
connection with Hawaiian culture that is provided to all
of our guests," says Ben Premack, director of sales and
marketing. "The unique learning and experiential opportunity
for each attendee is an amazing takeaway, while having the
safety and comfort of traveling within the United States."
The resort recently completed a full meeting and event
space renovation that updated all of its ballrooms and event
spaces and added a new oceanfront event lawn.
"One of our biggest differentiations
is the special connection with
Hawaiian culture that is provided
to all of our guests."
5. GRAND WAILEA,
A WALDORF ASTORIA RESORT
The Grand Wailea is set on more than 40 acres of
oceanfront property and offers planners a total of 100,000 sf
of function space.
"Grand Wailea has tapped into ancient practices and
the history of Honua'ula," says Tina Canderle, director of
sales. "This is reflected through first-hand activities such
as team building and wellness exercises in the outrigger
canoe, the 'E Ala E' sunrise to encourage and instill
rejuvenation and inspiration, and Ka Malama private dinners
that consist of five-course meals based on the ancient
Hawaiian moon calendar. Each activity can be customized
for groups of any size, weaving authentic Hawaii into
corporate events and meetings."
The resort has also partnered with the Maui Brewing
Company to create Grand Wailea Gose (Goh-suh), a craft
beer available on tap at the property. Groups can work with
Executive Chef Ryan Urig to create special menu items using
the beer such as "Maui Beer Can Chicken" for events.
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