Food Producers, Agricultural Educators Invited to Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Local food producers are invited to display and sample their product at the 18th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Mealani Sign

The state’s premiere ag showcase again offers an opportunity for Hawai‘i farmers, ranchers and food producers to hookup with attendees during the 6-8 p.m. Taste.

The Agriculture Festival provides a venue for food producers to present their products to participating chefs and attendees. The event is also open for agricultural and sustainability-themed organizations to present informational displays.

Producers and ag-related educational organizations interested in participating may contact Deanna Young at 808-747-7200 or The signup deadline is August 18.

Taste headlines 36 statewide chefs who dazzle diners using various cuts of forage-fed meats and a cornucopia of island fruits, vegetables and other farm products. Also on tap is a 3 p.m. culinary activity, “Grass Fed Beef Cooking 101,” presented by Hubert Des Marias, executive chef at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Ticket info is available at or phone 808-969-8228. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 no later than Sept. 4. Follow Taste of the Hawaiian Range on Facebook or on Twitter, #TasteHI.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit

Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club Starts Construction

Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) announced the start of construction of its newest resort, Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club, an upscale urban timeshare resort in world-famous Waikiki.  Coinciding with the start of the extensive renovation project was the official launch of sales for the resort, which is the company’s seventh timeshare resort in Hawaii.  The property is located at the site of the former OHANA® Islander Waikiki Hotel and was acquired from Outrigger Enterprises Group by HGV in May 2011. The resort is anticipated to open in late 2013.

Artists Rendition

Leading architectural firm Group 70 International of Honolulu has been commissioned to design the fourteen-story resort, which balances Hawaiian aesthetic with modern elements. Los Angeles-based studio Indidesign will oversee the interior design and Hensel Phelps has been selected as Construction Manager.

Hokulani Waikiki will be comprised of 143 one-bedroom suites with elegant and personalized touches, which include a living room, boutique kitchen and spacious bathrooms. Both interior and exterior designs will utilize natural elements and tones to showcase Hawaii’s unique cultural heritage and lush environment. Mahina, the spacious open air lobby, will provide a relaxing arrival experience as well as a personalized area to enjoy throughout the stay. Guests and owners will also have access to Nalani, an exclusive rooftop deck with a pool lounge, bar, private cabanas and dynamic views of Waikiki.

According to Bryan Klum, executive vice president of Hilton Grand Vacations-Asia/Pacific, Hokulani Waikiki was created with the sophisticated and active traveler in mind.

“We will deliver a guest experience that is contemporary, vibrant and fun,” Klum said. “We have incorporated a number of features and design elements that will distinctively set Hokulani Waikiki apart from other timeshare resorts in Hawaii. It will be the perfect choice for the traveler who wants to be in the center of Waikiki and is looking for an exciting, action-packed vacation. Hokulani Waikiki will be a great complement to our timeshare properties at the nearby Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.”

All conceptual images. Features and amenities subject to change.

The suites at Hokulani Waikiki have been superbly designed with surprising features and a decor approach that interprets Hawaiian motifs in a modern way, Klum said. “We think it will appeal equally to our domestic and international customers, especially those with urban sensibilities and appreciation for quality.”

Hokulani Waikiki is located at 2181 Kalakaua Avenue, adjacent to Lewers Street, which will provide guests with immediate access to premier shopping, dining and entertainment selections in the exciting Waikiki Beach Walk entertainment district.

Klum added that Hokulani Waikiki is further proof of the growing popularity of HGV’s timeshare offerings in Hawaii. It is also an opportunity to tap into the demand and awareness created by the Waikiki Beach Walk. “We are incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful working relationship with Outrigger Enterprises Group, and together we are committed to providing owners and guests with an opportunity to discover the wonders that can be found in Waikiki and throughout the island of Oahu,” he said.

“It’s a real pleasure to welcome Hilton Grand Vacations into our expanding ohana at Waikiki Beach Walk,” said Barbara Campbell, vice president of retail development and leasing for Outrigger Enterprises Group. “With a diverse array of dining and shopping opportunities, guests staying at Hokulani Waikiki will be able to experience firsthand our warm island hospitality and a genuine spirit of aloha.”

A blessing ceremony will be held later this month to signal the start of the renovations. Attendees will include company VIPs and other dignitaries.

Upon its completion, Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club will join award-winning properties at Oahu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and Waikoloa Beach Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Dolphin Trainer Talks About Being in Water While Dolphin Gives Birth

Well the Dolphin Quest video of the birth of the dolphin has now gone viral on youtube with over 700,000 views and climbing each day.

Julie Rocho-Levine

The dolphin trainer that was with Keo during her labor, Julie Rocho-Levine, talks about the time she spent with her before she gave birth.


Swimming With the Dolphins at the Hilton Waikoloa – Mahalo Dolphin Quest!

Last week I took my wife and her two sisters along with the kids on a mini staycation at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort.  I normally go twice a year and it’s always a special treat going there for my ohana.  This  time it was even extra special as the kids got to go swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Quest Hawaii.

The kids getting a special showing of the dolphins

We met up at 8:15 at the Dolphin Quest Village where the kids were suited up with life jackets while the adults cruised around in the lobby.  After releases were signed and a short informational set of instructions from the Dolphin Quest Trainers the kids went off for an adventure of a lifetime!

I had an opportunity to interview General Manager Adrea Gibbs and this is what she had to say about her job:


I had an opportunity to talk to Regional Sales & Marketing Manager Mark DiMartino and he talked about how much he loved his job and working with the dolphins in general.

DiMartino mentioned that dolphins are similar to humans in a sense and that the dolphins are never forced to work with people and some days a dolphin will be in a bad mood just like a person would be and they simply let the dolphins be that day.

The kids played with Noelani and Pele that day

DiMartino also mentioned that each dolphin only interacts with people for a maximum of 90 minutes each day and that they rotate the dolphins through-out the day to accommodate breaks for the dolphins.

At first I was a bit worried because normally for the package that they gave us the kids have to be at least 10 years old and my son was only 8 years old… but they made an exception for him and as you can see… he absolutely had a blast!

About Dolphin Quest:

Dolphin Quest opened in 1988, creating a place where people and dolphins could share the wonder of close personal interaction.

Today, Dolphin Quest is an international organization devoted to the public education and conservation of marine wildlife. We are world-renowned for our creative approach to education, commitment to ocean wildlife research, exemplary animal health care and successful breeding programs. Our innovative encounter programs promote a spirit of connection to the marvels of the oceans.

Dolphin Quest has attracted talented individuals from all around the globe to be part of our unique organization. Our team includes some of the world’s finest dolphin behaviorists, trainers, veterinarians and guest service staff. Working together, we provide nurturing environments, quality health care, and state-of-the-art husbandry practices for the dolphins, while our guest services strive to offer the best customer attention in the world.

Mahalo to both the Hilton Waikoloa and Dolphin Quest for providing my ohana with a once in a life time experience.

Hawaiian Cultural Weekend at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Coming Up

Media Release:

Summer flies by, and the window for summer vacation travel may be closing fast, but Waikoloa Beach Resort can help turn Labor Day Weekend into a mini “stay-cation” with great kama‘āina room rates, two days full of fun Hawaiian cultural events and a selection of favorite dining options for the whole family.

Devin Kahale Ali’i Keanaaina

Devin Kahale Ali’i Keanaaina

The Hawaiian Cultural Weekend (in cooperation with Hawaii Island Festival) carries on the colorful traditions begun with “Aloha Week” in the 1950’s that celebrate Hawaii’s unique history, music, style and cuisine.  (See full schedule below.)

Festivities kick off on Friday, September 2 at Waikoloa Beach Marriott, with the Ms. Aloha Nui Gala, giving big, bold, beautiful Big Island women the chance to shine, and share their “supersized” style and aloha in the spotlight.  Contestants are evaluated on their presentation in casual and formal wear, poise, grace and talent.

On Saturday morning, “Hawaii’s Soul Food” takes the stage at Hilton Waikoloa Village during everybody’s favorite Poke Contest.  In Hawaiian, poke means “to cut or dice” and poke the dish is a traditional pūpū made with bite-sized pieces of fish, creatively prepared and seasoned with worlds of ingredients and imagination. Both home cooks and top professional chefs compete against their peers for the championship, and after the judges announce the winners, the audience gets to taste too.

Then on Saturday night, the Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto & Storytelling Contest takes place at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Celebrating its 20th year, this unique folk music competition features the Island’s talented male singers of all ages, who lift their voice into the upper register and captivate the audience with the stories behind the songs.

Both Hilton Waikoloa Village and Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa offer affordable kama‘āina rates during the resort’s Hawaiian Cultural Weekend, making it easy for families to plan a quick, end-of-the-summer getaway.  Waikoloa Beach Resort’s location at ‘Anaeho‘omalu Beach, great golf, numerous dining, shopping, recreation and relaxation options mesh for a complete vacation destination for visitors and kama‘āina.

For more information visit

Hawaiian Cultural Weekend at Waikoloa Beach Resort


Friday September 2

Ms. Aloha Nui Gala

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Naupaka Ballroom

Doors open 5:30 p.m. pageant begins 6:30 p.m.

Tickets $7

For contest information, call Leiola Mitchell, 896-3798.

Saturday, September 3

Poke Contest

Hilton Waikoloa Village, Kona Ballrooms

Doors open at 11:00 a.m., Program begins at Noon.

Tickets $7

Please call Linda Pokipala, 937-4896 for contest information.

Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto & Storytelling Contest

Doors open 6:00 p.m., contest begins 7:00 p.m.

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Naupaka Ballroom

Tickets $7

For contest information, call Pua Garmon, 345-8575.

More information and contest entry applications are available at

Hilton Waikoloa Adds Members to Leadership Team

I had the opportunity to stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village last month. I am still constantly scanning for things that go on at the hotel. I just noticed that they have added some new employees to their leadership team.

….effective June 15. Frank Manchen joins the team as director of sales and marketing; Jacques Monteil will serve as director of catering and events, and Russ Kembel transitions to director of national accounts in Seattle, Wash.

Frank Manchen will oversee and lead the development and execution of strategic sales and marketing plans and initiatives as the new director of sales and marketing. Manchen comes from La Quinta Resort and PGA West, part of Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Collection, located in the Palm Springs area of California where he served as director of sales. Manchen has been with Hilton for 12 years and has a comprehensive expertise and depth in the sales and marketing disciplines. Originally from South Africa and having completed international studies in Africa, Germany and Switzerland, Manchen’s well-rounded experience in international markets, food and beverage and team building will help him effectively work with a broad range of sales clients at the resort.

Jacques Monteil has been named director of catering and events at Hilton Waikoloa Village, where he will lead the event management and catering teams in creating world-class events and social functions. Monteil also hails from La Quinta Resort and PGA West, part of Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Collection, where he most recently held the position of assistant director of events. His diverse background includes key senior leadership positions in catering, conference services and event management at Embassy Suites and Gaylord Hotels in Dallas, Texas.

Russ Kembel has transitioned to a new position on the sales team as the director of national accounts, and will be based in Seattle, Wash. In his new role, Kembel will be Hilton Waikoloa Village’s primary sales executive covering key accounts in both the national insurance and incentive meetings & travel markets.

More here