How Hawaii Is Preparing for the Summer Season

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With Hawaii set to allow its fully vaccinated state residents to bypass COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantines on May 11, the destination’s tourism industry is preparing for an influx of inter-island visitors – and the eventual return of international travelers. “We’re seeing unprecedented demand at Mauna Kea Resort through the […]

With Hawaii set to allow its fully vaccinated state residents to bypass COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantines on May 11, the destination’s tourism industry is preparing for an influx of inter-island visitors – and the eventual return of international travelers.

“We’re seeing unprecedented demand at Mauna Kea Resort through the end of summer as our guests are planning their post-vaccine getaways,” said Craig Anderson, the Hawaii Island property’s vice president of operations.

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“Mauna Kea Resort is specifically seeing a rise in family travel as many families are still working/learning remotely or planning extended family getaways to reunite for the first time in over a year,” said Todd Oldham, the resort’s director of food and beverage.

As a result, the property unveiled a range of new offerings and a “build-your-own” boxed lunch for extended stay guests to provide them with tasty and varied and meals.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which is part of the Mauna Kea Resort, also offers remote workers “unique opportunities to recharge with a new early morning poolside massage to start the day with a relaxed mindset, daily lunch via the new Coconut Classroom and more,” Oldham said.

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has also expanded its culinary offerings with such amenities as seasonal food trucks.

The summer season at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is “booking rapidly, which is perfect with our new Premium rooms offering and Huihui oceanfront restaurant opening set to launch in early June” and “the return of our signature Hawaiian cultural ocean activities,” said John White, the resort’s director of sales and marketing.


Ka’anapali Beach Hotel
A room view at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. (photo via Ka’anapali Beach Hotel)

“We are thrilled to see the progress with vaccine passports and are excited for the May 11 launch for inter-island travel,” said Josh Hargrove general manager of Prince Waikiki. “While we do anticipate an increase in inter-island travel as a result of this change, we don’t anticipate a large influx in visitor demand until the vaccine passports are extended to mainland travel.”

“With that said, the progress that has been made with the vaccine rollout, as well as policy changes such as the vaccine passport, have led to a sustained increase in demand and an outlook for healthy occupancy this summer,” Hargrove said.

In anticipation of the increase in visitors this summer, the resort has “reopened all services and amenities within the hotel, as well as our golf course, to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for our guests,” he added, as well all food and beverages offerings.

For its part, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa has “seen a growth in bookings over the summer months due to the increased confidence in travel since the vaccine rollout,” said Fred Findlen, the resort’s general manager. “Since reopening, the restaurants and activity offerings have been slowly expanding hours of operation as occupancy grows.”

“As we look forward to summer, we are planning to offer more socially distanced, outdoor dining experiences such as our Beer Garden that will feature locally made beer and food in our reimagined Halona Kai event space. We hope that guests will enjoy the open-air setting, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and expansive pool area.”


Hyatt Regency Maui
Pool at Hyatt Regency Maui. (photo via Hyatt Regency Maui)

The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, one of the few hotels in Waikiki that never closed during the pandemic, has “settled into consistent groove the past 10 months” and “has been able to perform closer to 2019 occupancies and revenue,” said Lynette Eastman, the property’s general manager.

“The hotel and tourism industry is hopeful that the vaccine passports will be expanded in a few months in time for summer travel,” Eastman said. “In the meantime, we look forward to increased interisland travel for the rest of the spring season into summer.”

Tour companies and restaurateurs are also poised for a busy summer season.

“Since earlier this year, PacWhale Eco-Adventures has seen an influx in bookings,” said Blake Moore, director of commercial operations. “Traditionally, we experience a significant number of bookings from guests already in destination. However, we are now seeing an increase in travelers booking further in advance.”

Added Peter Merriman, chef and owner of Merriman’s Hawaii on the Big Island, “We anticipate a busy summer. Hawaii’s one of the safest places on earth and many of our visitors appreciate this. If and when a vaccine passport does get created, we will welcome it wholeheartedly.”

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