President and CEO
Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association
The holidays are upon us, which signals one of the most popular times of the year for visitors from across the world to vacation in Waikiki and enjoy all that O‘ahu has to offer.
Escaping the colder, sometime frigid, temperatures is certainly a motivating factor in celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year in paradise. However, those who live and work here know how beautiful, festive and exciting Waikiki becomes as hotels and resorts, retail outlets, restaurants, activities and attractions pull out all the stops to ensure it is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year in Waikiki.
Take Thanksgiving, for example, where lavish buffets offering traditional oven roasted turkey and all the fixings are side-by-side with kalua turkey, a popular local preparation that cooks the bird in an underground oven called an imu until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender—with a delicious, smoky flavor. Now imagine having this spectacular meal with your loved ones at an oceanside restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean with Mount Le‘ahi (a.k.a. Diamond Head) and surfers hanging ten in the world’s most popular surf destination as the backdrop. It makes for a vacation experience you’ll never forget.
Christmas and New Year’s are no exception. Famous Kalakaua Avenue, with its multitude of designer stores, is mentioned in the same breath as Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue, and makes for one of the most impressive locations in the country to go holiday shopping.
Retails stores, hotel lobbies and restaurants are decked in the Yuletide spirit with colorfully decorated Christmas trees, decorations and the familiar tune of “Mele Kalikimaka” gently setting the mood. On New Year’s Eve, Waikiki’s skyline lights up with an incredible fireworks show, and a variety of entertainment options lasting well into the early morning, as locals and visitors alike celebrate the excitement the New Year brings.
It’s always wonderful to see Waikiki full of visitors’ smiles from across the globe. For more than a century, travelers have been enthralled by our native Hawaiian culture and hospitality, basked in Waikiki’s crystal blue waters and walked barefoot in the sand while palm trees sway gently in the trade winds. This essence and has become a timeless part of the Waikiki experience.
I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. May the New Year bring happiness and prosperity.