By Susan Johnston
While summer sun and heat have given way to cooler fall temperatures across most of the U.S., that carefree summer spirit will live on in Hawaii for months to come. Especially in Honoloulu, where you can extend your summer well into fall with an array of festivals, concerts, and other activities.
The biggest event of the season takes place across the Hawaiian islands from Sept. 2-24 with the Aloha Festivals. Oahu’s celebration features a giant block party in Waikiki, complete with food booths and several sound stages with live music. Honolulu also hosts a floral parade on September 25, when marching bands, hula dancers, brightly colored floats, and horse back riders process down Kalakaua Avenue.
Justin Bieber fans will flock to see “The Bieb” perform for two shows on Oct. 8 and 9 at the Blaisdell Arena . And movie lovers won’t be disapppointed with the Hawaii International Film Fest running Oct. 14-24, and screening a variety of films celebrating cultural awareness between Asia, the Pacific and North America.
If these upcoming events are not your speed, and if Hawaii’s terrific fall weather isn’t enough to lure you (the season is typically warm and dry), then these authentically Hawaiian offerings at some of Honolulu finest hotels should seal the deal:
1. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1927 — that’s before Hawaii officially became a state. However, this luxurious and iconic resort underwent a complete renovation just a few years ago, so it offers sleek, modern convenience amidst a magical island setting. It’s also located on 14 acres of beautiful Waikiki beachfront.
2. The Westin Moana Surf Rider has been called the “First Lady of Waikiki” and features Waikiki’s first and only beachfront spa. The hotel retains much of its original charm, dating back to 1901, but a recent renovation brought this gem into the modern era. Guests enjoy live Hawaiian music, hula dancing, and tropical drinks daily under Moana’s famous banyan tree.
Insider tip: Book this hotel now during the Orbitz 48-hour sale and you’ll get your 3rd night free plus breakfast! Don’t delay — this awesome sale ends on September 1, 2010, at 12:00 pm (Central).
3. Hilton Hawaiian Village offers an immersive island experience on 22 beachfront acres. With 90 shops and boutiques, 20 restaurants and lounges, and an exciting selection of entertainment, you hardly need to leave the property! The popular singing duo Cecilio & Kapano will perform two benefit concerts at Hilton Hawaiian Village in early September. The two perform separately at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on a weekly basis.
4. Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach Hotel has 525 rooms, all featuring lanais with either a full or partial ocean view. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists thanks to its prime location on Waikiki Beach and local entertainment. Duke’s Canoe Club is Waikiki’s most popular beach bar with a lively, yet casual scene.
5. Outrigger Reef is home to Kani Ka Pila Grille, which hosts nightly entertainment from 6-9 p.m. Here you can enjoy legendary Hawaiian musicians for the price of a few cocktails and maybe some pupus. The Aloha Friday Luncheon Shows also include some of Hawaii’s most popular musicians, and they’re so popular they’re broadcast live on Hawaiian radio.
Susan Johnston lives and writes from the Boston, Mass. area. She’s eagerly awaiting her next trip to Oahu.