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Hawaii Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 221

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Hawaii, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Capital Honolulu
Language English & Hawaiian
Time Difference -10 hours
Currency US Dollar
Voltage 115-120v

Framed by cobalt-blue skies and sun-rippled, sapphire seas, the volcanic islands of Hawaii are truly divine, each one extraordinarily beautiful and offering a unique experience for every visitor. If you have a passion for the ‘great outdoors’, this is paradise found, with activities galore amid astounding natural splendour. Explore spectacular national parks – on foot, by bike, or on horseback; take the plunge in an ice-cold pool deep in a rainforest, mighty waterfalls crashing overhead or trek across ageless lava flows and watch piping hot lava bubble down to the sea. Alternatively, learn how to surf at Waikiki Beach, go for a swim with pods of friendly dolphins, snorkel and dive with Giant Turtles and Manta Rays in Hawaii’s technicolour underwater world, watch graceful whales breaching high out of the ocean and super-daring surfers ride enormous waves, or simply relax on a pearly white beach.

Highlights+
Surfing

As the birthplace of surfing, where better to enjoy this thrilling sport than in sunny Hawaii? Whether you’re a complete beginner or a surf pro, join experts to ride the archipelago’s legendary waves – from the famed Waikiki Beach on Oahu, perfect for first timers, to the big swells and huge rollers that attract professional surfers from all over the world. If you’re staying on Oahu, North Shore is the prime viewing spot and location of the ‘Vans Triple Crown of Surfing’ – held in November and December - the highlight of the international surfing calendar, whilst the northern shores of Maui are famous for the unique and truly exhilarating row-in surfing.

Marine Wildlife Encounters

Expect top-class scuba-diving and snorkeling as you head beneath Hawaii’s warm, crystalline seas, encountering an underwater kingdom of stunning marine life. The beautiful Kealakekua Bay on Big Island offers calm waters filled with a variety of fish, whilst Honanau Bay is a great spot for meeting charming Green Turtles. For hours of family snorkeling fun, Hanauma Bay on Oahu is teeming with vibrant reefs, or take a short – and scenic – boat trip from Maui to Molokini, a small, offshore island surrounded by tranquil seas. Meanwhile, Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to watch acrobatic Humpback Whales, attracted by the warm, shallow waters; fascinating, guided whale-watching excursions are available across the islands.

Adventure and Natural Wonders

A strikingly beautiful volcanic archipelago, Hawaii is filled with natural wonders. Reach for the stars on Mauna Kea, the tallest sea mountain in the world at a staggering 4,205 meters above sea level; with an extraordinary astronomical site, inimitably clear air and little light pollution, prepare to be mesmerized as you gaze up at the dazzling stars. On Big Island, look around in awe as you hike through the striking Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or take a self-guided hike around Akaka Falls State Park. On the island of Oahu, climb to the top of Leahi for sweeping views of Waikiki’s famous coastal strip, or take a trip to Maui Scale Haleakala - Maui’s tallest mountain - for Mother Nature’s finest sunrise.

Art, History and Culture

Exuding warmth and passion, the timeless spirit of “aloha” prevails across the islands, whether by an artist’s brush stroke or hula dancer’s twirl. Step back in time at Lanai’s Kaunolu Village, an archaeological site of prehistoric ruins, or discover more on a fascinating tour of the Hawaii Plantation Village on Oahu. On Maui, follow the fascinating Lahaina Historic Trail through a thriving hub of art, entertainment and top-class theatre, learning the facts of the island’s agricultural past. Symbolic of Hawaii, hula is a unique, enchanting and story-telling dance that can be enjoyed at various festivals across the region, whilst the traditional Luau – a celebratory feast of food – is a must-do on any visit.

Shopping

Though shopping may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the glorious beach islands of Hawaii, the region has some great places for retail therapy. Head to vibrant Honolulu - a city where east meets west - and browse through luxury European brands and modern American fashion, alongside traditional Asian antiques and locally-made island treasures. Shop until you drop, or even take classes in lei-making and hula dancing, at the glorious Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center; explore the specialty shops and exclusive boutiques at the Victoria Ward Center; or pick up a designer treat at Luxury Row, Waikiki’s glossiest address in terms of high-end shopping.

Food and Drink

From traditional Hawaiian Luaus and authentic eateries, to gourmet Pacific-Rim delights, Honolulu’s dining scene offers a diverse mix of sensational cuisine, thanks to Hawaii’s strong multicultural roots. Browse menus showcasing bite-size sushi creations from Japan, toppling towers of scrumptious pancakes from mainland USA, gourmet French cuisine, mouth-watering ‘farm to fork’ delights and, of course, classic island dishes. On Big Island, be sure to visit the authentic farmer’s markets, sampling the delicious regional delicacies of sweet Kula strawberries, handmade chocolates and organic cheeses.

Travel Gems+

Big Island
The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai can organise all kinds of activities during your stay. Splash out on the trip-of-a-lifetime and book a private helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of active volcano, Kilauea, along with spectacular waterfalls and the glorious Kohala Coast. Plan your day to include picnic stops, guided treks, zip-lining, even a ‘doors off’ flight for the real adventurer! Or bring out your creative side and spend an afternoon with a local artist, who will teach you the basics of watercolour painting or life drawing. With nature all around to inspire you, there’s no doubt you’ll produce the perfect island keepsake.

Lanai
Romance is in the air at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Whisk your loved one down to a private oceanfront table adorned with flowers, perfectly placed for dazzling sunsets. Sink your toes into the sand and savour a specially designed, five-course menu of gourmet cuisine, matched with splendid wines. As dessert and coffee arrives, watch the skies above light up, streaked with a myriad of stars, and add music or hula dancing to the mix – the choice is all yours! If you’re keen on saving our planet, join one of the resort’s volunteer projects and help keep the island in tip-top condition. Plant a seedling, help out at a local animal sanctuary or adopt a Monk Seal, highly endangered and native to Hawaii.

Maui
Take advantage of the resort’s complimentary outrigger canoe course and learn to paddle the Hawaii way. In the hands of the championship paddling team, they’ll not only teach you the art of paddling, but also tell you all about the local area and history of the outrigger canoe, the form of travel used by the first Tahitians who landed ashore. As you glide across the ocean, look out for Sea Turtles, Manta Rays and reef fish, even Pacific Humpback Whales (in season). Also during the whale-watching months, you can enjoy a pampering massage in the ocean while listening to the sounds of these immense creatures singing underwater. An incredible experience not to miss!

Oahu
Guests of The Kahala Hotel & Resort are in for a treat at Dolphin Quest, a 26,000ft2 natural lagoon that is home to inquisitive Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins. With daily talks from the trainers and the chance to jump in the water and have face-to-face encounters with these highly intelligent creatures, it’s a moment to cherish forever. Halekulani guests, meanwhile, can join a complimentary Back of House Tour, a fascinating glimpse at what goes on behind-the-scenes in running this outstanding luxury hotel, or indeed the complimentary Legacy Tour, guided by the hotel’s historian, who will escort you around the grounds and reveal intriguing stories from the past that, together, helped shape the hotel we know today.

Climate+

Hawaii is a year-round holiday destination, with high average temperatures and welcoming trade winds. The driest months are from April to September. Due to the geography of each island, micro-climates prevail and you’ll find cool alpine areas, hot, dry deserts, tropical rainforests and sun-kissed beaches all within close proximity of each other. So the winter rains from November to March don’t affect holiday arrangements, as you’re sure to find a sunny spot somewhere close by. The big-wave surf season runs from November to February, while the whale-watching season falls between December and May, with prime viewing opportunities from January to early April.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Hawaii.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January2391
February2356
March2456
April2438
May2528
June2613
July2715
August2710
September2720
October2658
November2576
December2396

Getting There+

Flight Information
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines direct from London Heathrow to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Air New Zealand direct from London Heathrow to Los Angeles.
Connecting flights with United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Honolulu. American Airlines from Los Angeles to Honolulu and Big Island. United Airlines from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Maui and Big Island. American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines from San Francisco to Maui.
Mokulele Airlines and Island Air from Honolulu to Lana'i.

Flight Time
From London Heathrow to Los Angeles: 11 hours. London Heathrow to San Francisco: 10 hours, 50 minutes.
Onward connecting flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Big Island and Maui: 5 hours, 35 minutes.
From San Francisco to Honolulu and Maui: 5 hours, 15 minutes.
From San Francisco to Big Island: 5 hours, 30 minutes.
From Honolulu to Lana'i: 35 minutes.

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

The web-based Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) requires all passengers (including infants) travelling via or to the USA to apply for authority to travel a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel. You may be denied boarding or refused entry to the US if you have not registered and obtained authorisation. To apply visit the official website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ A charge of UD$14 per person (subject to change) will apply and must be paid by either credit or debit card.

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk

Health+

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/

In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.

Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net, www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

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