Escaping to the Islands

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The bouquet of emerald isles that make up Hawaii have enjoyed their winter—laughing at most of us as we bundled up—and are now busy sprucing up their offers for those ready for a warm beach-and-jungle escape.

Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore

Among the draws: a top-tier getaway in Oahu, a week of music in theBig Island and a leisurely tour that highlights the state’s best and brightest.

culture on the big island

Why here: Picked by Lonely Planet as one of the “Top 10 U.S. Travel Destinations for 2012,” the Big Island has some of the state’s most significant cultural and national landmarks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park—and what’s a trip to Hawaii without spotting some lava. Must-see stops include the Hapaialii and Keeku temples, believed to be a celestial calendar and a human sacrifice site, respectively, and the birthplace of King Kamehameha III.

Keauhou Beach Resort is upping the cultural factor for guests by hosting the Aloha Music Camp July 1-7. The week-long retreat will feature cultural activities, including crafting musical instruments, plus classes in ukulele, hula, Hawaiian storytelling and more offered by top musicians and artists. Aloha Music Camp is priced at $1,400 for adults and $600 for kids 12 and under, exclusive of accommodations yet inclusive of instruction, “talk story” sessions, concerts and lunches and dinners.

Rates at the oceanfront Keauhou start at $130 per night, which includes breakfast plus resort extras such as Internet access, local and long-distance calls for 15 minutes, and cultural activities such as lei making, leaf weaving, Hawaiian language lessons and more. This is also a great departure point from which to explore the island’s cultural heritage. Guests can stop at the Keauhou Kahalu’u Heritage Center to learn more about the area and its historical sites.

surfing on oahu, plus new digs

Why here: Oahu’s North Shore has long been known for its jaw-dropping, near-perfect waves that lure surfers from around the world. With more than seven miles of beaches, the North Shore is said to have more gentle waves in summer for surfers just starting out, while pros prefer the huge breaks of winter. But regardless of the month one stops by—or even whether one surfs—the beauty of the area alone is worth a visit.

Taking advantage of its location, Turtle Bay Resort is transitioning toward a more experiential destination resort that highlights the area’s famous surf and natural wonders. Moving forward, Turtle Bay is set to draw travelers by celebrating the culture and opportunities for adventure available in the region.

To commemorate this re-branding, the resort is offering a Live the Life package for two to introduce visitors to the North Shore. Priced at $16,954, the offer is packed with enticing perks: customized Turtle Bay Resort surfboards for two, plus carry cases; a 7-night stay at the huge Alii Presidential Suite and daily en-suite breakfast; a $1,000 gift card from Quicksilver to buy surfing and beach attire prior to arrival; daily surfing and stand-up paddling lessons; private canoe paddling and canoe surfing session; a helicopter tour of the North Shore; and spear-fishing lessons with one’s catch prepared by the resort’s culinary staff. There’s also a private lunch with a local surfing legend, an exclusive farm tour and cooking lesson and a private photographer capturing clients’ best vacation moments, plus three spa treatments for two, daily fitness sessions and tons more.

For non-surfers who like exploring beyond the shore, the first Hyatt Place property in Hawaii debuted a few months ago in Honolulu with plenty of extras. Besides the pool and proximity to the ocean that is so important to a stay in Hawaii, Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach features self-service check-in/check-out kiosks and the complimentary Kitchen Skillet, with a wide array of freshly made breakfast offerings. Another perk: its location. Hyatt Place is within walking distance of the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Beach. It’s also minutes away from Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head State Monument, one of the state’s most renowned landmarks, which features dazzling ocean views and a challenging hiking trail that reveal the natural magic of the volcanic crater. Rates start at $180 per night.

family fun on maui

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