Monday, September 14, 2009

museum hours changing

The Honolulu Advertiser has an article about how museums in Hawaii are suffering from the recession, and reducing hours, eliminating staff, and closing exhibits. The article mentions the Bishop Museum and Honolulu Academy of Arts, but presumably the same problem impacts museums across the state.


Obviously its impossible for guide books to keep up on this, so its more important than ever to call ahead or check the web site before heading off to a museum. You don't want to take buses or a taxi across Honolulu, only to discover the door is locked!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

St. Regis Princeville

The Princeville Resort is being renovated, with plans to open this fall. A nice article in a Hawaii Magazine blog discusses how it will become the first St. Regis property to open in Hawaii. Four new restaurants, a new spa, and new stores are included in the renovation. Sounds pretty nice. Grand opening is planned for October 1.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Poipu Beach Having Problems

An article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin reports that erosion is reducing the size of Poipu Beach on Kauai by about a foot a year, and also causing dangerous swimming and snorkeling conditions. Proposals to rebuild the beach are being considered. (Even though these sorts of projects rarely work long-term - its hard to fight Mother Nature...)

[Note: it appears the Star Bulletin article was an AP version of a story that appeared the day before in theGardenIsland.com. This article has some additional information, including interesting comments about how the price of sand!]

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lanai City named an endangered historic site

Lanai City has been named an endangered historic site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. According to today's press release:

One of Hawaii’s eight main islands, Lāna‘i, known as the “Pineapple Isle,” has lush tropical beaches, breathtaking natural beauty, lavish resorts and one attraction none of the other islands can claim: an intact plantation town. Lāna‘i City, built by pineapple baron James Dole in the 1920s, features plantation-style homes, a laundromat, jail, courthouse and police station, and is now threatened by a large-scale commercial development calling for the destruction or significant alteration of 15-20 historic buildings.

More details, along with a video and photos, are provided here.

The Historic Hawaii Foundation has another article on the same topic, including details of the proposed plans to "improve" the area.

Lanai City is a unique place; hope it isn't messed up.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hotel Taxes in Hawaii

Currently visitors to Hawaii pay 7.25% for a "transient accommodation tax" (aka, hotel tax), along with 4.712% for "general excise tax" (aka, sales tax). Politicians in Hawaii are looking at both of these - and not in a good way!

First, currently the TAT goes to the county in which the visitor is staying. Some state politicians are suggesting that the state should keep this money to help deal with the state's budget deficit. Of course, this would hurt county budgets - but they've suggested the counties could add a sales tax (which would be a third tax - not the GET) to make up the difference.

Second, legislators are considering boosting both the TAT and GET rates to raise more money.

The governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, has threatened to veto legislation that increases these rates.

Its too early to guess what the final rates might or might not be. But instead of seeing hotel room prices increased by about 12% with these taxes, as the currently the case, you could be looking at a total of 15% or even higher - if both rates were increased, and the county added a 1 or 2% sales tax.

Bottom line - even though tourism is critical for Hawaii's economy, and even though visitor counts have dropped dramatically over the last few months, there are politicians who think that increasing the cost of visiting of Hawaii is a good solution to their budget problem...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kukui'ula

A large new development is being built on the south shore of Kaua'i, near Koloa and Poipu. Called Kukui'ula, the development features a number of homesites, a new golf course being designed by Tom Weiskopf, and a shopping center. Also included is "The Lodge at Kukui'ula", with villas and cottages for homeowners and their guests (presumably for visitors to stay at?).

The shopping center will be opening this summer, and a recent article discussed some of its plans. Early tenant commitments include a new restaurant from Peter Merriman, a Quiksilver shop, and a Lappert's Ice Cream store.

Its not clear what's happening with the rest of the development. The web site naturally doesn't say anything negative, but another article from March said "Major developers have run the gamut from ‘delaying’ to ‘indefinitely suspending’ construction projects… the Marriot, Ritz-Carlton, and Kukui’ula just to name a few on Kauai."

Its also not clear if the golf course is planned to be private or open to the public; this probably also depends on the timing of the construction of the course and the speed with which people buy homesites and build homes on the property. If the course is finished before there's enough owners to use and pay for it, it may allow some public play for a while.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wild Roosters on Kauai

The Wall Street Journal has an article about the large number of wild roosters running around the island of Kauai. On beaches, in food courts, and so on. Crowing day and night. There've been some attempts to kill or trap the roosters, but with little success.

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