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Maui_Prince_Hotel_shutting_downThe management company for the Maui Prince Hotel and Makena North golf course announced this evening that it intends to end its operating contract—a move that could shut down both properties on Sept. 16.

The West Maui property’s possible closure was announced by its management company, Maui Prince Hotel LLC, which gave notice it would be terminating its contract and shutting down the hotel and golf operations. Maui Prince Hotel LLC said in a statement this evening that it had been unable to secure funding for the hotel and golf course’s payroll and operating expenses from the owners and lenders of the Makena Resort, on which the properties are located.

A consortium of Makena Resort lenders led by Wells Fargo Bank had filed a foreclosure action on the resort on Aug. 24, alleging that the property’s owners had defaulted on a mortgage loan of $192.5 million.

Property management company Maui Prince Hotel LLC said in its statement today that it made the decision to shut down the property when owners and lenders failed to guarantee future funding of the hotel and golf course by a deadline today.

An attorney for lender Wells Fargo said in statement this evening that Wells Fargo would act immediately tomorrow (9/1) to appoint a receiver to take over operation of the Maui Prince Hotel and Makena Resort. "If approved, the receiver and its team will transition to a new management company to be approved to operate the Maui Prince Hotel and Makena Resort," said the attorney.

Guests with questions about a future reservation may call (888) 977-4623.

The Maui Prince Hotel and Makena North golf course employs 380. The 310-room hotel has been in operation since 1986.

UPDATE, 9/1/2009:

Wells Fargo Bank filed a request in Circuit Court this morning to appoint a receiver to take over operations of Maui Prince Hotel and Makena North golf course. In a statement released this morning, Barry Sullivan, attorney for lender Wells Fargo, fired back at Maui Prince Hotel management claims that the lender had not secured funding for the hotel and golf course's payroll and operating expenses. Sullivan said that Wells Fargo advanced $247,000 yesterday to pay the hotel's vendors and suppliers.

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Kauai_slideshow_video_Crater_Hill_Kilauea_Point_Wildlife_RefugeIt was the guided nature hike that would not die.

In November 2002, staffing issues forced the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge to end its popular Crater Hill guided hike. Years later, fans of the hike were still letting staff know how much they missed it.

It’s an amazing hike—traversing the bluffs above Kilauea Point Refuge’s picturesque 32-acre peninsula and historic, much-photographed lighthouse, then slowly ascending the precipice of Crater Hill’s majestic sea cliffs. There are sweeping sea-to-mountain views of Kauai’s north shore, and up-close glimpses of the winged wildlife—Hawaiian nene goose, red-footed boobies, frigate birds and more—the refuge protects year-round.

Crater Hill devotees, and anyone who missed the hikes the first time around, might want to lace up their hiking boots. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages Kilauea Point, is once again opening the hike. Reservations are being taken for limited guided hikes during National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 11-17.

Call (808) 828-0762 for reservations or more information.

Weekly hikes may resume in 2010—likely in the summer and fall when nene goose nesting season ends.

Kilauea Point rangers invited HAWAII Magazine for an advance preview of the hike earlier this year. We take you along on that hike in the September/October 2009 HAWAII Magazine feature “To the Top of Crater Hill.” The issue is on newsstands nationwide now, but if you want to purchase a digital edition right now, you can do so here.

As we always do on our Hawaii travels, we took many more photos on Crater Hill than we could share in the magazine. So on the next few pages you’ll find a slideshow of the best of the rest of our Crater Hill photos and video we shot of the views from the best scenic points on the hike.

Just click the next page to begin the hike …

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Kilauea_Big Island_Lava_Boat_VideoIn the September/October 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine, writer David Thompson takes you right off the Big Island, where the lava from Kilauea’s pours explosively into the sea.  Here’s video of the same trip, courtesy Lava Ocean Adventures.

There’s nothing like bobbing around in a small boat at the violent intersection of cool seawater and 2,100-degree lava. The sea roils and boils as molten rock sometimes gushes, sometimes oozes and often explodes into it.

Steam plumes, weird weather, superheated floating rocks, water hot enough to cook a lobster.

Thompson was on the Lava Kai, with Capt. Shane Turpin of Lava Ocean Adventures. The pictures were spectacular, but here’s something we couldn’t put in the pages of the magazine: not one, but two videos of the experience. 

More video on the next page



More video on the next page
 
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Movies_hawaii_kauai_oahu_diamond_head_Charlton HestonHAWAII Magazine reader Katherine Spahr emails:

We recently watched the movie Diamond Head with Charlton Heston. Can you tell us which island it was filmed on?

You ask, we answer.

In 1959, Columbia Pictures paid Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Peter Gilman $100,000 (nearly $750,000 in today’s dollars) for the film rights to Such Sweet Thunder, his best-selling novel about power, politics and interracial romance in Hawaii.

The 1963 movie, renamed Diamond Head, was supposed to star Clark Gable, but Gable died before filming could start.  The part went to Charlton Heston, fresh from winning an Oscar for Ben Hur. Heston’s character, a pineapple planter and senatorial hopeful, is still nicknamed “King,” which was Gable’s Hollywood nickname.

You’d think a film called Diamond Head would be filmed on Oahu.  After all, the movie poster features a view of Diamond Head Crater from Waikiki Beach, though your attention maybe distracted by the image of a young Yvette Mimieux superimposed over it.

A little of the movie was, in fact, filmed on Oahu, with the Royal Hawaiian Hotel figuring in several scenes.

Where was most of it filmed? See the next page.
 

_lava_flow_hawaii_tropical_cocktailNot one but two HAWAII Magazine readers asked us about this drink.  

Wrote one: When in the airport in Honolulu, I had a drink called a Lava Flow while waiting to go to Kona.  Can you share the recipe?  

You ask, we answer.

We have two recipes. The Lava Flow at the airport (and most other places) is a drink made in a blender, a colorful variation on a pina colada.  

The blended drink is perhaps heavy and sweet for some tastes, so we contacted Hawaii’s tropical cocktail guru, Joey Gottesman of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, for his recipe, which we thought might be more refreshing.

So here they are. 

First the conventional blended recipe and then on the next page, the recipe from Dr. Joey, as we call him.  Having tried both, we prefer Dr. Joey’s. But chacun à son goût, as the French say. Or as we say in Hawaii, whatevahs.

Lava Flow Cocktail

1 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. light rum
1/2 banana    
2 oz. pineapple juice    
2 oz. coconut cream    
2 oz. frozen strawberries


The key to preparation is to blend the strawberries and rums separately from the other ingredients, rinsing the blender between steps. (If using strawberry puree, you can skip this and simply blend all ingredients except the puree.)

Pour the strawberry mix or the puree to the bottom of a large glass (a collins or hurricane glass).  Then add the blender ingredients, or as it’s often done, reverse and pour the strawberry mix on top. The red strawberry mix swirls in the drink, simulating a lava flow.

For much the same ingredients, but a fresher, lighter version of a Lava Flow cocktail, see next page.

 
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which_Hawaiian_island_oahu_maui_big island_kauai_molokai_lanaiHAWAII Magazine reader Tewania Canterbury emailed us with a question:

For all of my life, I have dreamed about being able to visit Hawaii. With the economic climate, I am beginning to wonder if that dream will ever become a reality.

I have been giving serious consideration to just biting the bullet and doing whatever is necessary to visit some time next year.  I was wondering if you could let me know which island(s) would be best and any cost saving measures I could take in order to make my dream a reality ?


You ask, we answer.

Don’t wait. Now is one of the best times to plan a trip to the islands.  With the decline in travelers, there are Hawaii deals on everything from airline fares to the cost of tours and activities.

Usually the best deals come in packages—air, hotel, car rentals, all wrapped into one price.  One place to start is our Hot Deals page.  Or you could try our new booking engine on the left side of this page to see if there is a package that suits your budget.

There are many other ways to cut costs, looking for bed and breakfasts or condos with a kitchen, staying somewhere off the beach, and eating at the small restaurants where Hawaii residents eat—with their amazing variety of cuisines.

Now for your question of which Island to go to, tastes vary.  HAWAII Magazine editor John Heckathorn has written a quick guide to choosing one or more of the six major islands.  This may help those trying to choose.  Click the next page to get started.

(Veteran Hawaii travelers, please feel free to add your comments and talk about your own favorite island.)

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Waikiki_sunset_on_the_beachHAWAII Magazine reader Judy Fleischer wrote to us with a question about the only movie theater in Waikiki that comes complete with sand, surf and the sound of swaying palms. 

Aloha! I am planning our next trip to Oahu. On our last trip in 2004, an event called "Sunset on the Beach" was going on. It was really nice. Can you tell me it it is still an event in Waikiki? If so, when during the month is it scheduled?

You ask. We answer.

The quickest answer to your first question, Judy, is, "Yes, sort of." The answer to your second question: "Weekly Sunset on the Beach events are no more, but a couple of stand-alone ones are happening this weekend."

But first, an explanation of what exactly Sunset on the Beach is might be appreciated.

Sunset on the Beach is a popular evening event, capped off by movies screened on a 30-foot screen set up in the sand fronting Waikiki Beach's Queen's surf break. The flicks run the gamut from the latest Pixar movie, to action films and romantic comedies, to preview episodes of Hawaii-filmed TV series Lost before broadcast on ABC. But movies aren't all the event is about.

Live music or hula often kicks off the Sunset on the Beach first in the afternoon, coaxing hundreds of residents and visitors to come out a bit early to stake a place in the sand for their beach mats. Food booths set up by local restaurants serve everything from shave ice to plate lunches to loco moco.


 
Hawaiian_Mokulele_Go_Airlines_Hawaii_interislandCue up Sinatra crooning "Come Fly With Me" and check out these Hawaii airfare deals!

Even as summer travel season comes to an end, yet another skirmish in the Hawaii interisland airfare war is sure to keep the heat up in September.

This week, Hawaii-based air carriers Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and go! each announced deals on September travel aimed at luring island hoppers aboard their flights instead of the competition's.

The choices are intriguing enough. Book a la carte flights with Hawaiian Airlines or go! for $24.99 each one-way. Or opt for a winged buffet from Mokulele Airlines—all the interisland flights you can handle during the month of September for $299 total.

Here are the deal breakdowns by air carrier, in order of who flew in with its deal first:


 
Mauna_Lani_Bay_Hotel_closed_for_renovationsThe Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is shutting its doors … temporarily.

The popular luxe resort—situated on the Big Island of Hawaii's Kohala Coast—will be closed from September 1 to October 31, as small renovations are done on public spaces and its 343 guest rooms. The hotel is referring to it as a "refreshment" of rooms and facilities. The resort's award-winning CanoeHouse and other restaurants will also be closed.

A small remodel is welcome news, but why shut down the entire resort to accomplish it?

Some hotels often offer discounted rooms in the wake of construction. The Mauna Lani has long opted to do things differently, so as not to compromise its guest experience with the noise and mess of ongoing construction.

Plus, an empty hotel means a faster remodel. Reservations are already being taken for stays beginning November 1, just in time for the winter travel season. For more information, click here or call (800) 367-2323.

“We’ll make more mess, but do it quicker,” says Mauna Lani communications manager Susan Bredo.

The other resort on the Mauna Lani property, The Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani, will remain open. As will the Mauna Lani Hotel's two award-winning golf courses.

We’ll keep you posted as more news on the Mauna Lani "refreshment" develops.
 
Kauai_hotel_Koa_Kea_botique It’s so new that it hasn’t even had its grand opening yet, and its signage isn’t all in place.

On the other hand, the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort harkens back to the old days on Kaua‘i, and has the relaxed, intimate feel of the ’60s resort it replaced.

The new Koa Kea is built on the footprint of the old Poipu Beach Hotel.  Although all the interiors of the Poipu Beach were wiped out during Hurricane Iniki in 1992, the lava rock walls and foundations still stood.  It was mainly financial considerations—insurance, ownership changes, a slow Kauai economy—that kept it closed for 16-1/2 years.

The good news: The new resort is beautifully done, but it’s still small scale and directly on Poipu beach, in a way that only older resorts are still allowed to be.Kauai_hotel_Koa_Kea_botique

The rooms now boast free wireless, tasteful furnishings, comfortable beds, marble showers and large flat-screen televisions.  The lobby is opened up and comfortable, with a small spa and a serious restaurant, named for Kauai’s famous Red Salt.  (Don’t neglect to order the New York steak with truffle butter and red salt fries.)


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