October 26, 2003
Regarding "A Sea Change on Oahu" [Sept. 28]: When I returned to my beloved Hawaii in summer 2002 after a 33-year absence, I was heartbroken to see the changes. The buffing and polishing of Honolulu and Waikiki have turned this once unique tropical paradise into Any City, USA. The trendy stores, mall mentality, street reconstruction and huge traffic jams are reminiscent of the new Las Vegas and all the other major metropolises that have experienced gentrification. (There remains an unchanged oasis in the middle of town: the Hawaiiana Hotel.
September 28, 2003 |
THE editorial cartoon pictures two tourists being ejected from Hanauma Bay State Beach Park, one of Hawaii's most beautiful strips of sea and sand. One tourist dejectedly tells the other, "I didn't know about the test." The illustration plays off a year-old get-tough policy that requires all visitors to watch a nine-minute educational film before they're allowed on the beach.
August 7, 2003 |
Hawaiian singer Don Ho may have started his career by emulating classic crooners like Frank Sinatra, but his kitschy island stylings have made him an icon in his own right. Maxim magazine named him "One of the 50 Coolest Guys Ever," and in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, the White Stripes' Jack White declared himself a fan of Ho.
July 20, 2003 |
Millions of tourists have voyaged across the Pacific just to spread their beach towel on a patch of Waikiki's warm, inviting sand. Trouble is, there's not as much of it as there used to be. Waikiki's world-famous white sand beaches have been eroding an average of one foot a year since 1985, experts say. And as the shoreline shrinks and reefs fill with the sand moving offshore, many say it's time to protect the key asset of Hawaii's famed tourist strip.
July 13, 2003 |
For decades it was the pride of Waikiki, a mammoth outdoor saltwater swimming pool where athletes and movie stars came to cavort and Hawaiian kids and tourist kids from the mainland took swimming lessons. But for the last 24 years, the once-proud Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium has been something else: a source of political controversy, an off-limits relic from the past, an eyesore.
October 20, 2002 |
Twice a week, about 100 people gather under a giant banyan tree at the foot of Diamond Head to imitate the body motions and breathing of a martial arts master who believes that "health is wealth" and that acquiring it should be free. It's clear that they leave the one-hour classes refreshed and renewed. Those who swear by the art of chi kung say it does even more than that -- from reducing asthma symptoms to helping them walk.
August 19, 2001
A Waikiki branch of Hawaii's venerable Bishop Museum, opened earlier this month, is part of a $95-million expansion of the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort that is also adding a spa. Earlier this year, 453 rooms opened at the new building, Kalia Tower, bringing Hawaii's biggest hotel to nearly 3,000 rooms. Until this month, visitors had to travel about five miles from beachfront Waikiki to 1525 Bernice St.to view the Bishop Museum's extensive Hawaiian cultural and historic collection.
March 11, 2001 |
"Why Waikiki?" That was the response of a friend who owns a condo on Maui when I told him I'd be spending nine days in Hawaii, five of them on Honolulu's fabled beachfront. "Join us on Maui," he said. "It's the real Hawaii." Oh, sure, I thought, his real Hawaii-a golf course by the sea. Poor Waikiki. Hawaii's oldest resort-the royal family summered here-with the image of Rio or Miami Beach: a waterfront of high-rise hotels and package tours.
March 29, 1998
Hammered by financial troubles in Asia and shorter stays by visitors, Waikiki in January recorded its lowest average hotel occupancy rate in 15 years--78%--then rebounded in February, to 87%, still down from a year ago, according to the PKF-Hawaii consulting firm in Honolulu. Overall for Hawaii, February was the 10th straight month of declining occupancy. Judging by the average cost of rooms, price breaks for consumers were not apparent. Waikiki's average hotel rate was $136.14 versus $134.