ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
The 45th annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival kicks off in Hilo Mar. 30 - Apr. 5 with a week's worth of festivities, exhibitions and competitions featuring the best hula hālau in the U.S. On Sat., Apr. 5, a festive parade of cultures marches through downtown Hilo starting at 10:30 a.m. All events are free except the competition, which can be seen on KITV 4 Island Television and live online at www.kitv.com. Call (808) 935-9168 or visit www.merriemonarchfestival.org for details.
Kona International Airport begins a $2.8 million makeover this month. Look for covered walkways in the terminals, new apron lights, a new access gate for disabled passengers, and more. The improvements are scheduled for completion in December 2008.
This Van's a-Rockin' Good Deal: GB Adventures offers a Honeymooners Special through September, with 10 percent off rentals of their cool, comfortable VW Westfalia camper vans. Honeymoon suites on wheels are loaded with amenities for the luxurious camping trip, are in excellent condition, and meticulously cleaned and detailed. Couples must show 2008 marriage certificate. Visit www.gb-adventures.com or call (877) 864-8361 .
Be an aloha-wear fashion statement and save money at Hilo Hattie, now offering 2008 2-for-1 coupons. The coupons feature great deals at Big Island spas, golf courses and popular restaurants, with an in-store purchase of $20 or more - a $1,000 value. With over 2.5 million shoppers each year, Hilo Hattie is Hawai'i's largest shopping attraction, www.hilohattie.com, (800) 233-8912 .
Learn from the world's top marine photographers at the Kona Classic underwater photo/video festival May 24-31. Open to amateurs and pros, the event includes daily dives, competition, seminars and more. Entry price is $1,000 for all activities including five days of diving subject to availability, applicable taxes and fees, and change without notice. Host hotel Keauhou Beach Resort is offering rooms from $130 per night. For more information, visit www.cenpac.com/konaclassic.htm or call (877) KEAUHOU.
Looking for more to do? Click http://bigisland.org/calendar for detailed information about additional Hawai'i Island events, and make sure you don't miss these:
· Waikoloa Beach Resort offers a full day of "May Day is Lei Day" cultural events on May 1. www.waikoloabeachresort.com, or call (808) 886-8822 .
· The third annual Big Island "Talk Story" Film Festival, May 15-18 at Waikoloa Beach Resort, offers a full slate of international films, filmmaker panels, "Golden Honu Awards," and much more. www.bigislandfestival.com, (808) 883-0384
· Scenic oceanscapes by Waimea artist Ian Haight are on display throughout spring at historic Parker Ranch, in the gallery at Puuopelu historic estate, www.parkerranch.com, (877) 885-7999 .
· Hilo's Lyman Museum presents a display of feather masterpieces by Lei Hulu o Hilo, May 1-July 12. Call (800) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.
HOTELS, RESORTS AND B&Bs
A Beautiful Day Rainforest Spa, Arts Retreat & Healing Sanctuary in Puna offers three-day retreats for women. The $475 per-person rate includes lunch, spa sessions, lomilomi massage, choice of yoga, tai chi, visualizations, art, poetry or comedy workshops. Accommodations from $35 more per night. www.abeautifuldayhawaii.com or call (808) 982-7252 .
A luscious new Chocolate and Coffee Decadence body scrub is on the menu at Hualālai Sports Club & Spa at Four Seasons Resort Hualālai. The treatment begins with an aromatic coffee exfoliation, then detoxifies with vital antioxidants. A sinfully rich chocolate utopia! www.fourseasons.com/hualalai.
With a 4th night free in newly remodeled guestrooms, the Spring Free promotion at oceanfront Royal Kona Resort may be the best buy in town, starting at $120 per night, garden view. Valid Apr. 1 - June 7, 2008, four-night minimum stay required, subject to availability. Visit www.royalkona.com or call (800) 222-5642 .
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows celebrates 25 years of aloha with Mauna Lani's 25th Anniversary Special - 25 percent off best available rates all year long. Experience secluded beaches, world-class golf and an awarding-winning spa. Three-night stay required, some restrictions apply, www.maunalani.com, (800) 367-2323 .
ResortQuest Hawaii offers two great choices for a golf getaway with the "Sweet Suite" Golf for Two Package. Guests select from two rounds of 18-hole golf with shared cart at Waikoloa Resort's Beach or Kings Course, or a valuable "Aloha Book" worth up to $1,000 and insider tips on some of the island's best cuisine and attractions. Valid until Dec. 23, 2008, with a three-night minimum stay. www.resortquesthawaii.com, (866) 774-2924 .