There are almost as many lures as leis awaiting mature travelers on vacation in Hawaii, where they also take on a new name-- kupuna. Pronounced koo-POO-nah, it's a Hawaiian word that translates as "respected elder" or "grandparent."
In addition to respect, mature travelers going to Hawaii to become kupuna can also expect a good number of specially planned and priced tours, package plans and hotel discounts this year . . . more than ever before.
Here are the latest to come to my attention:
Coco Palms, the kupuna of Kauai resorts, which has just finished a multimillion-dollar renovation, has two special Kupuna Packages for guests age 55 and older.
Kupuna I offers five days and four nights for two at $389 in the resort's standard accommodations, with unlimited use of an automatic, air-conditioned compact rental car to explore Kauai. Kupuna II is $498 for five days, four nights in superior accommodations at the 390-room resort, plus four breakfasts, including tips, in the Lagoon Dining Room and also the same deal on the car.
The two Kupuna packages, which do not include sales or accommodations tax, are offered now through Dec. 23.
Aston Hotels & Resorts is repeating its senior discount for 1987 (but dropping it to 20% from last year's 30%) at its 27 hotels and resorts throughout Hawaii. The offer is open now through June 15 and again from Sept. 1 through Dec. 19.
The program is called Aston Sun Club and applies to travelers 65 years or older.
Aston's senior rates begin at $32 nightly, double, based on a week's stay in a studio apartment with kitchen at the company's Waikiki Gateway on Oahu.
On the other islands, Aston Sun Club rates begin at $47 a night for two at Kauau Resort, at $51 a night for two at the Maui Lu Resort in a room that includes refrigerator and coffee bar and at $39 a night for two at the Kona Islander Inn on the Big Island of Hawaii.
All rates are based on a one-week stay.
For mature travelers preferring a package tour, many are available. But first check out your own senior club or organization. They may have one in the works that could be competitive in price and value with those offered by tour companies, and you'll travel with your own crowd. In any event, it's good to compare prices.
Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays, which lays claim to being the nation's No. 1 tour operator to Hawaii, again offers senior discounts off of a variety of fly-drive programs to Waikiki as well as the neighbor islands. These are offered now through June 5, and from Sept. 1 through Dec. 18.
The tour company's Senior Savings program offers a choice of trips from four days, three nights to 16 days, 15 nights, with eight categories of hotel accommodations at Waikiki Beach, Maui, Kauai, Kona or Molokai, or any combination of islands.
The discount for a couple, one of which must be age 60 or older, can range from $30 to as high as $150 off Pleasant Hawaiian Holiday's regular tours sold through travel agents.
Another major Hawaii tour wholesaler, MTI Vacations, provides savings in another fashion. The Oak Park, Ill.-based company upgrades seniors 60 years and older on its tours and provides added features such as a safe arrival phone call, flight bag, two pineapples and other treats.
Members of United Airlines Silver Wings Plus get a number of benefits on Hawaiian vacations. While only those age 65 or older get the airline discounts, the Silver Wings members age 60 or older can sign up for the special tours, which begin below $400 from Los Angeles for a seven-day Waikiki vacation and go to a bit more than double that for a week's stay in a luxury condominium on Maui.
Also, depending on the season, savings up to 50% are available at participating Westin Hotels in Hawaii, as well as the rest of the United States for Silver Wings Plus members. There is also a 25% discount at Ramada Inns and Hotels, as well as Renaissance Hotels and, soon to be announced, Quality Inns as well.
For more information on any of the tours or package plans mentioned here, see any travel agent or contact:
Coco Palms Resort, P.O. Box 631, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii 96766, phone (800) 542-2626.
Aston Hotels & Resorts, 2255 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii 96815-2658, phone (800) 367-5124.
Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays, 2404 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village, Calif. 91361, phone (818) 991-3390 or (800) 2-HAWAII.
Silver Wings Plus, United Airlines, P.O. Box 92591, Los Angeles 90009. For United's Hawaii vacation, P.O. Box 9994, Marina del Rey, Calif. 90295-2394, phone (800) 592-2244.