As the former seat of a royal kingdom and home to the only royal palace in the US, Oahu, Hawaii, has a history with luxury that is as authentic as its natural bounty and aloha spirit.
Groups of up to 8,000 can meet in and tour the lavish Iolani Palace in Honolulu, whose grounds are regarded as a wahi pana, or a sacred place, to the Hawaiian people. Traditional Hawaiian quilting classes for all levels of learning are held every Saturday in the palace’s old archives building. The island is also widely regarded as the birthplace of surfing (Duke Kahanamoku, the “father of modern surfing” has been immortalized in bronze on Kuhio Beach) so Oahu meetings groups would be remiss not to hit the waves. Waikiki’s calm waters offer a prime opportunity for beginners, and Surf Hawaii Surf School as well as Nancy Emerson Aloha Surf Clinics, the first surfing school to open in Hawaii, offer instruction to small incentive groups.
Oahu’s 35 hiking trails entice attendees to get outdoors and get inspired. While hiking Oahu’s North Shore, groups should stop by for a bite at one of the area’s many shrimp food trucks. Another “must” is the trek to Makapuu Point Lighthouse, positioned on the cliffs overlooking Makapuu Beach. In the Valley of the Temples, groups will certainly want to ring the Byodo-In Temple’s three-ton brass bell for happiness and longevity. Yoga sessions under the deep drone of the temple bell with roaming peacocks, black swans and lounging turtles intermixed add to the ambiance.
Waikiki Beach is also worth a look as new and revitalized hotels bring new meeting possibilities to the area. The 563-room Prince Waikiki, formerly Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club, just underwent a $55 million rebranding that injected local elements that once flourished at the site. The hinana fish is reflected in an 800-piece lobby art installation made of copper by local artists, as well as throughout guest rooms, which also feature organic products, painted murals of indigenous flowers and floor-to-ceiling windows that open for the Hawaiian breeze. The 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar is a top gathering spot for corporate groups. A new infinity pool, Prince Waikiki Club lounge, Muliwai Deck and remodeled event spaces also speak to this local vibe.
Waikiki also saw the opening of the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach in the former Waikiki Trade Center, offering tapas-style dining, as well as quick access to popular attractions like the Diamond Head trail or the 4,000-acre Kualoa Ranch, where eco-adventures happen and countless movies have been filmed. This brand is expected to nearly double its portfolio globally by the end of 2019.
For more Hawaii planning ideas, check out “Pamper Top-Performing Attendees With an Extended Wellness Program.”