Oahu has a longstanding reputation for excellence in meetings. Waikiki alone has 33,000 guest rooms within a mile of the Hawaii Convention Center. Windblown resorts and golf courses are found at Ko Olina in the growing Ewa area, and at Turtle Bay, a surfers' mecca.

    The Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa in Waikiki has opened Mandara Spa and Holistica center in the resort's newly constructed Kalia Tower. The 453-room tower brings the resort to 3,000-plus rooms, 100 shops, and 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

    Benchmark Hospitality's 485-room Turtle Bay Resort has grown to 24,000 square feet of meeting space, and its nine-hole George Fazio course is about to expand to 18 holes.

    Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Inc.'s $300 million development plan for Honolulu's Lewers Street area includes replacing six outdated hotels with a single tower, expanses of open space, and an Old-Waikiki complex of shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

    Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau
    (808) 923-1811, Toll-Free: (888) 424-2924
    Fax: (808) 924-0293; www.gohawaii.com

  • MAUI

    Maui is four destinations in one. Wailea on the southwest shores has five resort hotels with 2,460 rooms, 142,300 square feet of meeting space, and the renowned Wailea Blue, Gold, and Emerald courses. The Hyatt Regency Maui spent $18.4 million to upgrade its 807 guest rooms this past December.

    Kapalua's two resort hotels offer 744 rooms, 488 condo rooms, 35,000 square feet of meeting space, and three beaches. The PGA kicks off its tour with the Mercedes Championship on the Bay, Village, and Plantations courses.

    The 1,200-acre Kaanapali resort area has six resort hotels with 3,879 rooms and suites and 50 meeting rooms. It offers two golf courses, three miles of beaches, and plenty of shopping.

    On 1,800 acres at the base of Mount Haleakala, the Makena Resort has two Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf courses, 310 guest rooms, and four meeting rooms.

    United, American, Delta, Air Canada, and Hawaiian airlines have direct service from the West Coast, with Hawaiian providing service to Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai from Maui.

    Maui Visitors Bureau
    (800) 918-8444, ext. 215; (808) 244-3530
    Fax: (808) 244-1337


    From the black sand beaches of Puna to the peaks of Mauna Kea, the Big Island offers Hawaii's most diverse geography, including rain forests, 22,000 varieties of orchids, and miles of lava fields and beaches. Johnson & Johnson Ortho Clinical Diagnostics brought their 2001 Ambassador Club meeting to the Four Seasons Hualalai. The Hulihee Palace, summer home of Hawaii's monarchy, offered a glimpse of the royal lifestyle for 64 guests at an evening of banqueting and dancing.

    Bonus: For international attendees, the Big Island has its own customs facilities.

    Big Island Visitors Bureau
    (800) 648-2441; www.bigisland.org


    Once a vast pineapple plantation, Lana'i is now a private resort island, with an elegant hillside lodge and beachfront hotel. It offers a secluded getaway where you don't even need a car, and it's ideal for smaller meetings. The Lanai Conference Center has six meeting rooms and can seat up to 240 banquet-style.

    Attractions include hiking, horseback riding, hunting, snorkeling, scuba diving, and two superb golf courses.

    The Lanai Co.
    (808) 565-3600
    Fax: (808) 565-3686; www.lanai.resorts.com


    From the depths of Waimea Canyon to the green cliffs of Na Pali, the 553-square-mile island of Kauai is a favorite spot for its laid-back atmosphere and refreshing lack of overdevelopment. Of the major resorts, the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort, the Marriott, the Hyatt and the Princeville Hotel resorts were reporting occupancy rates down only 10 or 12 percentage points from a year ago, and improving every day.

    Kauai Visitors Bureau
    (808) 245-3971; Fax: (808) 246-9235


    More than 60 percent of Molokai's population is of Hawaiian ancestry, so traditional Hawaiian culture is a part of everyday life on the island. Tourism keeps a low profile with 560 guest rooms at Kaluakoi Resort, which is equipped to host meetings or conferences and offers a secluded ranch for adventure meetings. Molokai makes a perfect destination for small- to medium-sized groups requiring a place of their own.

    Molokai Visitors Association
    (808) 553-3876; Fax: (808) 553-5288


    Airlines serve Honolulu International Airport from the mainland United States, including American, United, Delta, Continental, and Hawaiian. Together, they account for nonstop service to Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, and other cities.

    Airlines from the mainland and overseas offer frequent direct flights to Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Hawaii-based Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines Inc. fly from the mainland and pick up passengers at Honolulu's Inter-Island Terminal to ferry them to neighboring islands, as well as provide other inter-island routes and sightseeing tours.

    For transport on and around the islands, taxis, limos, rental cars, and shuttles are at each islands' airports, and vendors with meeting groups in mind, such as Charley's Taxi & Limousine, Hawaiian Riders, Cruzin Hawaii Motorcycle Rentals, are present as well.


    If Hawaii's sun-swept beaches once had difficulty being accepted as a serious place for high-level meetings, that perception was dispelled with this past spring's meeting of the Asian Development Bank, during which all the Hawaii Convention Center's technological and security expertise and facilities were put to the test.

    The convention center can link via satellite, simultaneously interpret, and otherwise handle global communications securely, a big selling point for the ADB.

    The four-story convention center is open to the trade winds and displays native Hawaiian flora and culture. The ground-floor registration lobby leads into the 200,000-square-foot exhibition hall, which can be dedicated to a single event or divided to host two or three different groups simultaneously.

    The second floor is exclusively for parking. The third floor's flexible 107,426 square feet of space can be configured into 47 meeting rooms, with the largest seating nearly 1,200. Up to 400 computers can be networked in major meeting rooms, and the center also includes a six-station simultaneous interpretation room, two theaters, a pressroom, and plush executive boardrooms. The fourth-floor ballroom includes 35,000 square feet of space with a pre-function area overlooking a 2.5-acre roof garden.

    Meetings, Conventions and Incentives Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau
    (808) 923-1811; (888) 424-2924
    Fax: (808) 923-0293; www.hvcb.org/hconv