As the rains and chill of Autumn make you long for the Hawaiian sun, why not visit when you can also experience both the beauty and true aloha of Hawai‘i ? All September the Aloha Festivals are throwing a big celebration for you, so come and enjoy. Our LuxeGetaways editor did the research, albeit with Mai Tai in hand, and is sharing the best way to get there, the best local-style hotels to stay in, and most importantly, how you can be part of the fun at the spectacular Aloha Festivals events throughout September. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss it.

Visit for more on the upcoming events, and to purchase your Aloha Festivals ribbons and tee shirts which support the events.

Aloha Festivals

You’re invited to the incredible 66th Annual Waikiki Ho‘olaule‘a, a block party on Kalakaua Avenue which takes place September 22nd, and features local food, Hawaiian music, hula halau, and entertainment. All of O‘ahu comes out for this community event, so be there. Another spectacular event involving the loving hands and hearts of many in Hawaii is the 72nd Annual Floral Parade on September 29th.  Marvel at the flower-covered floats, marching bands, mounted paniolo (cowboy) units, and the graceful horsewomen called pa‘u as they ride by on their horses. Pa‘u riders and princesses represent each Hawaiian island. Princesses and the Queen are wrapped in yards of billowing fabric secured by only several kukui nuts, and crowned with flowers, vines, berries, or shell, and accentuated with artfully woven or strung lei. Even their horses wear lei representing the bounty and beauty of each island. Pa’u is an art and riders and their companions love sharing this with you.  

Aloha Festivals 2018 theme for this year is No Ke Kai Kakou E, or We Are Of The Sea. The festivals kicked-off with a deeply moving Royal Court Investiture and Opening Ceremony on the grounds of Helumoa on September 1st. Only steps from the famous beach, this historic area in Waikiki was originally the home of Hawaiian Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

The Royal Court presides over all of the official Aloha Festivals events and has a Mo‘i Kane (king), a Mo‘i Wahine (queen), Kamali‘i Kane (prince), a Kamali‘i Wahine (princess), and various attendants representing those in the courts of Hawai‘i’s past rulers. Chanting, hula kahiko, and an offering of symbolic gifts to the ali‘i accompanied the investiture as strict protocols were observed. The Royal Court of 2017 was honored by making their final appearance, and the Royal Court of 2018 was installed, and ceremoniously adorned with the accouterments of their ali‘i status such as royal cloaks, helmets, head lei of feathers, and other symbols of their reign. The Aloha Festivals Royal Court members possess a royal demeanor and a strong dedication to the perpetuation of their Hawaiian culture. This year the Mō‘ī Kāne is Paisley Paiea Kamahoahoa, Mō‘ī Wahine is Virginia Poho Anakalea, Kamāli‘i Kāne is Kūpaʻaikeolaaloha Kekoa Kamakanaokalani Kaleo, and the Kamāli‘i Wahine is Taylor Kanoelani Pacheco.

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Best Flights to Aloha Festivals

Hawaiian Airlines offers many direct flights to the islands. Fly their new fuel-efficient A321neo from Portland, PDX  to HNL, Honolulu, or perhaps to Kahului, Maui-OGG for a few days and then island-hop over to O‘ahu on a Hawaiian Air inter-island flight for the Aloha Festivals. What we like about flying Hawaiian Airlines to Hawai’i is the welcoming feeling that you get from the moment you check-in. On-board, complimentary meals in the Main Cabin are served with aloha.  And in First Class, Executive Chef Lee Ann Wong of O‘ahu, leads a rotating team of island chefs who offer items like Short Rib Beef Stew with Coconut Ginger Brown Rice for that special taste of Hawaiian cuisine at 50 thousand feet. In the island culture, sharing good food is a big part of sharing aloha. And Hawaiian Airlines is all about sharing their aloha. Hawaiian is Hawai’i’s airline so they also one of the sponsors of the Aloha Festivals. Note: at press time Hawaiian Airlines just announced their new, Boston to Honolulu direct flights. 

Where to Stay In Waikiki

We recommend these two hotels because of their many decades of commitment to delivering Hawaiian hospitality to their guests in Waikiki, and by supporting the local community (they are supporters of the Aloha Festivals). At each of these hotels you’ll also find that they have something extra on offer.

The Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is right in the middle of all of the Waikiki action. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts started right here in Waikiki over seven decades ago. Offering a Hawaiian perspective of a sense of place, you’ll find art, historic koa canoes and free classes that teach Hawaiian crafts throughout the brand. At Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort,  you’ll have the opportunity to stay in the Voyager 47 Club Lounge level rooms and have this private beachfront club available to you for a leisurely breakfast or late afternoon pupu and cocktails. Un-crowded, unhurried, and with a concierge to help plan your daily adventures, we highly recommend that you book into this Voyager 47 Club level.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is non-stop aloha with domestic and international guests arriving and departing practically all day. It’s a large resort with lots of room options located on the widest stretch of Waikiki Beach. With its own saltwater Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, surf and SUP lessons available, and a pier to catamaran and submarine adventures out front, you’ll be in an ocean-lover’s paradise. The secret here is to book the Ali’i Tower, a hotel with-in-a-hotel. It’s a private tower with its own pool and bar, dedicated check-in and out, personal concierge, and knock-out ocean and Diamond Head views. You’ll still be able to enjoy all that the resort has to offer, but you can return to your own quiet corner of the resort, wander over to the peaceful bar on the pool deck, and enjoy a Mai Tai and sunset just for two.