Here’s the latest Hawaii vacation deals and news that have splashed to shore.
* I’ll start out with good news and bad news. The good news is that the humpback whales are back in Hawaii – very, very early. The first sighting of the 2012 season was August 30th off the Big Island near Kailua-Kona. For comparison, last year’s first sighting was September 26 and that was thought to be early. Normally the first sighting is in mid-October. The bad news is that we won’t get to hold our annual guess the date of the first humpback whale sighting.
* Aston Hotels and Hawaiian Airlines have teamed up to offer 100,000 HawaiianMiles Sweepstakes. Other prizes include four-night stays at one of Aston’s Resorts. This contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. See more about the contest details and entry requirements here.
* I’m seeing tons of great airfares from around the US and Canada for fall flights to Hawaii. Many East Coast and Mid-West routes are less than $600 roundtrip. West Coast routes are also down a bit to below $350 or so. CheapAir.com is an easy-to-use air fare search engine for quickly checking fares from your local airport. I especially like the ease of finding the absolute lowest fares based on having flexible travel dates.
* Kona fans might want to check out the latest Big Island Resort LivingSocial Escapes deal. This deal for the newly renovated Royal Kona Resort includes five nights accommodation in a junior suite with ocean views plus buffet breakfast for two for under $186 per night.
* The Sheraton in Keauhou on the Big Island has a new name to reflect the completion of a $16 million renovation. The resort’s name has changed from Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa to Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Big Island Video News has a nice video about the new beginning of this resort. To celebrate the renewal, the resort is offering excellent rates starting at $129 per night for travel between now and March 31, 2013. See that special and other offers at this link.
* The other Keauhou resort, Keauhou Beach Resort managed by Outrigger plans to close at the end of October.
* After more than a two year closure, Volcano House hotel and cabins adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have reopened. The hotel room renovations are not finished, but the hotel is accepting reservations for this fall. The cabins are available for booking now with a special rate starting at $55 per night.
* The Coco Palms hotel, which has been closed since Hurricane Iniki tore through Kauai nearly 20 years ago, is reportedly being sold to unnamed investors who plan to redevelop the property per Pacific Business News.
* Would you like to visit Hana without the curvy, white-knuckle drive? Mokulele Airlines announced twice-daily service from Maui’s main Kahalui airport to Hana. Fares will start at $59 for this 20-minute scenic flight. If you are a Travaasa Hana guest on their all-inclusive package, flights are included. (See our Traavasa Hana review.) Read more about this new flight service at Maui News.
* Watumull Planetarium at the Bishop Museum will be closed through early December for renovations and improvements.