4 Tips to Plan Unforgettable Events Infused With Hawaiian Culture, Wellness

March 28, 2019

At Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel, where Diamond Head meets Waikiki Beach, we celebrate the history and culture of Hawaii and our name-sake, Queen Kapi‘olani. The wife of King Kalākaua, Queen Kapi‘olani was queen of Hawaii from 1874 to 1891. Her legacy of loving art and music, and her devotion to the health and wellness of the native people of Hawaii, are woven into Hawaiian culture today and deeply influenced in our newly renovated property. 

This spirit of diversity, welcoming and wellness translates into relaxing and memorable team-building events corporate groups will be talking about for years to come. Meeting planners can select from a wide range of on-property and off-site activities that harken to the Golden Days of Hawaii. Groups can immerse themselves in aesthetic and cultural experiences that are unique to Hawaii, but also take part in a fresh approach to traditional island activities.

Consider these four tips to plan unique Waikiki activities during your next Hawaiian meeting or event.

1. Plan Something for Everyone: Lei-Making, Cocktail Mixing, and Surfing

Instead of greeting guests with a traditional lei worn around the neck, we encourage event planners to schedule a haku lei-making at their opening reception or farewell dinner.

A haku lei uses the traditional technique of weaving flowers and greenery, but it is a head crown, which is often reserved for special occasions. Corporate groups can learn to make a haku lei through some of the island’s renown haku artists and wear it to an opening reception or farewell dinner. It is a fun team bonding activity and a great way to start off or end an incentive program. Use this ceremonial activity to recognize and celebrate outstanding customer service representatives, achievement of sales goals and other momentous business occasions.

Woman Participating in Haku Lei-Making Session at Queen Kapiolani​
Woman Participating in Haku Lei-Making Session at Queen Kapi‘olani​

And don’t forget specialty beverages—the original mai tai recipe, created at Trader Vic’s, used light rum, not the dark rum that is often used in the drink today. Our on-site mixologists offer a weekly cocktail class at which guests can learn to craft classic Hawaiian cocktails from the Golden Age of Waikiki including the original mai tai recipe from Trader Vic’s using light (not dark) rum. Groups can incorporate this fun event into their program or feature it at a reception for a fun break from structured meetings.

[Related Content: 3 Ways Experienced Local Staff Bring Waikiki Meetings to Life]

Wellness also plays a big part of contemporary Hawaiian culture and at Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel. Incorporating wellness into meetings and events is now a must for today’s employees, so our renovation included establishing a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art fitness center on site.

With Waikiki Beach as our backyard, we encourage guests to get outside and enjoy the surf and sand. With an on-site surf school that can cater to groups of up to 40 participants, meeting planners can consult with our staff at Hans Hedemann Surf School to arrange for group or private surf lessons with former surf champions.

2. Connect Meeting Participants With Waikiki Art

Perhaps our biggest homage to Queen Kapi’olani is our support for local artists and musicians—a win-win for our guests, groups, and the Waikiki community. A mix of vintage pieces from the hotel’s past and modern works from local artists offer conversational connections that are unlikely to arise in the office setting.

Throughout the lobby, guests can enjoy wall-sized works from local artists Mike Field and Nick Kuchar. These creative pieces along with vintage poster boards throughout the guestroom corridors serve as a window into Waikiki culture and as talking points to help teams connect through shared aesthetic experiences.  

Local Waikiki Artwork From Mike Field at Queen Kapiolani
Local Waikiki Artwork From Mike Field at Queen Kapi‘olani​

3. Enliven Meetings and Events With Local Music

Just like art, local music is also a resonating historical and trending theme in Waikiki. Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel features only local musicians through our music program. Every week, some of the top local entertainers play on our 2,200-square-foot Leahi Lanai and Deck Restaurant. Both outdoor venues unfold a view of Kapiolani Park and take in Waikiki’s best view of Diamond Head.

[Related Content: Learn More About the Renovated Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel]

Local music not only supports our community, but also gives visitors an authentic experience. Whether playing contemporary songs popular on the islands or more Hawaiian traditional music from the Golden Days, local musicians can add a fresh touch of the local culture at receptions and events.

4. Indulge in Modern Experiences: Rum Tastings and Brewery Excursions   

Our location on Waikiki Beach makes Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel a great starting point for off-site group experiences. We encourage groups to understand and appreciate the local culture—an excellent way to do that is to explore the island and get a real feel of this special place.

Waikiki’s latest attractions and hip cultural scene blend the island’s past and present. Public art walks, art gallery strolls, and tours of local breweries bring teams closer together through shared interests. Our team can help arrange for agricultural tours, rum tastings and distillery site visits are a unique way groups can see the exports important to Hawaii and how they have evolved.

Rum Tasting With Scenic Views at Queen Kapiolani
Rum Tasting With Scenic Views at Queen Kapi‘olani​

When you plan your event in Waikiki, your group will be immersed in Hawaiian culture with the focus on art, music, and wellness today’s employees expect. Queen Kapi‘olani, makes it easy for planners to create an unforgettable professional experience for teams while rewarding them with unique excursions, intimate events, and successful meetings.

Come see for yourself, where Diamond Head meets Waikiki. Contact us today.

Joy Tomita is director of marketing with Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel​, which recently completed a renovation in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Click here for more details on the property.