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Paradise

White sand beaches beckons you to swim, snorkel, sail, wind surf, kayak in Hawaii. Protected lagoons and wading beaches provide hours of fun for keiki ( children).

The Hawaiian Islands are framed by awe inspiring volcanic mountains surrounded by the sapphire blue Pacific Ocean. Embark on a journey to a place whose spirit was born, when this place called Hawaii first rose from the sea.

Sunny days and star lit nights with sweet tropical scents carried on, soft breezes are yours in Hawaii.

A place of beauty and enchantment that lures travelers today as it did long ago, Hawaii, a captivating refuge from the travail of daily existence.

Once you have chosen Hawaii, the hardest decision might be where to stay. There are hundreds of types of accommodation from five star resorts to spas, from bed and breakfasts to budget hotels. Your choice depends on what you want to experience.

The five hotels on the four islands of Oahu, Maui, The Big Island of Hawaii and Kauai, that I have surveyed are not 100% perfect in accessibility but attitude, service, interest and sensitivity is excellent.

Destination Oahu

An island of magnificent panoramas, ringed with white sand beaches, capped by towering volcanic peaks, and between the mountains and the oceans lies the playground of the Pacific. Oahu is the 'gathering place', it has more hotels, more restaurants and more major attractions than all the other islands combined.

The Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, fronting the world famous Waikiki Beach, is 30 stories high with 1850 rooms and suites. A 4 million-dollar renovation was completed in 1992. The Sheraton Waikiki includes night clubs, 20 gift and specialty shops, two fresh water pools and is located within easy access to shopping, dining and entertainment. A water sport facility offers sailing, snorkeling, and canoeing. A unique aspect of a stay at the Sheraton Waikiki is the program called " Stay at One Play at All. This allows you to use the facilities of all Oahu Sheratons. The new credit program makes it more convenient for guests to enjoy activities and services at the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Moana Surf rider, The Royal Hawaiian, The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, and the Sheraton Makaha Resort and Country Club.

The Sheraton Waikiki’s public rooms, are very accessible and staff is helpful. I had to use a hotel wheelchair, when my chair got a flat tire, the staff was marvelous . . . If you have equipment needs call Newtons. They've got it right ! The Sheraton Waikiki's pool is accessible and you can even get down to the beach but unless you can walk some you cannot get on the beach or in the water. Traditional nightly entertainment is found around the pool. The Sheraton Waikiki has many activities, so when checking in, check out what is happening. Rooms rates range from $190.00 per night for a city view room to $300.00 for Ocean view.

Looking for a destination resort on Oahu, then the Ihilani Resort and Spa located in Kapolei, is the place! This 640 acre oceanfront resort is tucked along the sunny western shore and only a 17-miles drive west of Honolulu International Airport. Ihilani Resort and Spa is the first destination resort to open on Oahu in over 20 years. Located on a beautiful lagoon abutting the blue Pacific Ocean, Ihilani Resort and Spa boast a Ted Robinson designed golf course, tennis club and spa. Designed and decorated to reflect the natural beauty of the islands, the 387 guest

rooms and suites are beautifully appointed. All rooms feature a private lanai with louvered and screen sliding doors plus a most sophisticated telephone system. The bathrooms include marble his and her sinks, deep soaking tubs with a separate glass enclosed shower. Over 85% of the rooms view o the ocean with it's beautifully crescent shape beach.

There are many different packages available at the Ihilani Resort and Spa from Golf packages to Tennis to Spa and family plan. It also has a kekik ( children) beachcomber club that operates from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00pm daily.

Romance is in the air at the Ihilani Resort and Spa with beautiful lush grounds, pools and the restaurants, embracing you in this luxurious lifestyle. Ihilani means " heavenly splendor" and that seems to sum up the Ihilani Resort and Spa Water activities are centered on the beach and lagoon. Experience the spa with its hydro therapy, such as Thalassic treatments with seawater and sea weeds plus extensive fitness and relaxation programs. There are four restaurants, Mediterranean, Cross culture, Asian and Spa Cuisine's, plus two lounges and of course 24 hour room service. The room rate's start at $275.00 for the garden view rooms with suites from $700 to $5,000.

Ihilani Resort is truly luxurious .....

Destination Maui,

Home of the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, whale watching and snorkeling, beautiful scenic drives and glorious sunsets. A place of contrasts, mountain, valleys and beaches. Maui is an active place, yet with awe inspiring vistas and an intrinsic calmness of nature.

The Four Seasons Resort at Wailea beach Maui, is a treat for us who are disabled. It is a magnificent resort situated on 15 beach front acres. A world class five diamond resort, The Four Seasons is located on Maui south west coast and has only 380 rooms. It is elegant yet tranquil with an enclave of courtyards, terraces, lush gardens, flowering trees, reflecting pools, fountains and magnificent sunsets.

The Four Seasons Corporation is not only meeting the standards of the ADA ( American with Disability Act) but goes way beyond. The layout of this resort is open and airy and was specifically designed to capture the fragrant tropical breezes and dramatic views of the Pacific. General Manger Peter O 'Colmain

describes the concept this way " our object was to develop a resort that would be in tune with its natural environment" and they have succeeded

All the public rooms are oriented to the ocean. The guests rooms are well appointed with deeply cushioned rattan and wicker furniture accented by soft white and gentle sunset hues. Service is not spared, here there is twice daily housekeeping, with evening turn downs. Every room has color TV and VCR, soft terry bath bathrobes, hair dryer, personal safe, mini bar. The resort offers 24 hour multi lingual concierge desk, valet and self parking. There are several dining options including the Seasons, Pacific Grill, and the Cabana Cafe. The service, as a disabled traveler, superb.

The Four Seasons, Maui was ranked at #1 by Conte Naste Travel for Top Tropical Resorts. When you visit the Four Seasons in Maui savor the pampering, as ice towels and Evian water are served around the magnificent accessible pool. The beach is not accessible, there is a very steep incline and a steep beach but there is, with help, with help, a paved walkway along Wailea beach. This walkway is good for the spirit and soul and well worth the energy and frustration. The Activity center coordinates water sports such as snorkeling, scuba, boogie boards, wave skiing.

There is a great kids camp for kids 5 to 12 open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Early risers, as I found to my delight, can have a cup of coffee or tea from 6:30 a.m. to 10 am in the lobby. Spend time at the sport bar or work out at exercise facilities with library. The resort shuttle squires you to golf, tennis and restaurants. Golf putting green, croquet lawn, badminton and volleyball, daily classes of aerobics and watercise are all available at the Four Seasons on Maui. The Four Seasons at Maui has got it right!

The Four Seasons is a very discreet resort with guests' privacy a high priority. On my last visit to the Four Seasons Maui, there were a number of 'stars "(staying) at the hotel and they could enjoy themselves just like us regular folks.

Room rates range from $255.00 for mountain view room, Ocean view rooms are from $380.00, Club floor $480.00 and the Executive suite ocean view $605.00

Destination The Big Island of Hawaii

Active volcano, black sand beaches and 15 golf courses are just a few of the countless attractions that are part of the Big Island experience. The Big Island also features a variety of accommodations from luxury hotels to modest cabins, from condominiums to high quality bed and breakfasts..

The Kohala Coast Resort area has 365 days of sunshine, 180 holes of golf, 55 tennis courts, nine pools plus six fitness centers. It has are divided into three distinct areas with two resorts per area. Mauna Kea has the Hapuna Beach Prince Beach Hotel and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; Manua Lani boasts the Mauni Lanai Bay Bungalows and Ritz Carleton Manuan lLani. Waikoloa Beach includes the Hilton Waikoloa Village and the Royal Waikoloan Hotel. They are all magnificent resorts but we assessed the Royal Waikoloan .

The Royal Waikoloan is a spacious beachfront hotel boasting complimentary activities, such as (lei) making, (hula) classes, and also self guided walks around the caves, ancient fish ponds and petroglphs.

The Royal Waikoloan handicap/ disabled room is a spacious well appointed ocean view room. A special valued package called " drive for five" is offered. This package includes a room rate of $115.00 per night plus $5.00 more and has a car for the day.

The Royal Waikoloan's grounds and terraces are alluring with a good size pool featuring poolside bar and grille. Tennis courts are next to the hotel with golf, restaurants and shopping nearby.

The garden view rooms begin at $115.00 with Ocean front view from $200.00 Suites range from $350.00 to $700.00 with the Royal Cabana Club ( executive floor) starting at $250.00.

Destination Kauai

Kauai, the true Hawaii beckoning you with its kindness and gentleness of spirit. Kauai, like the other islands boast wonderful accommodations but the location to stay is the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort and Spa at Poipu Beach. Located 20 minutes from Lihue Airport ,the resort boasts over 600 guest rooms and suites, tennis courts, championship golf courses plus a 35,000-sq. ft health, fitness /spa center.

The Hyatt Regency, with lush landscaping and open aired court yards, beautiful ivory beaches, exquisite design and decorating, is a testament to the commitment of many to raise this magnificent resort after the devastation of the Hurricane. Song birds sing their joy, and the sights and sounds of a tropical paradise are ever present. There is an intangible ambience about the Hyatt Regency

Waterslide and waterfalls, islands and swimming channels make this unique pool a swimming experience. By the pool is a man made salt water lagoon and next to this is the sand and sea of the Pacific.

Dining is a wonderful experience at the resorts' many restaurants. The evening torch lighting ceremony on the main terrace is a focal point. Romance beckons you as you stroll in the evening through the winding lighted paths, laughter and music fills the air. You are transformed to an enchanting world at the Hyatt Regency in Kauai.

The disabled /handicapped room is excellent, spacious, well appointed with an ocean view. A sliding door from the bathroom to bedroom makes this room very convenient but tub no shower..

Even as a sizable resort, the elevators are in every wing so the distances are not insurmountable. There is a great feeling of contentment. The real feeling of Aloha. The Hyatt Regency of Kauai has got it right!!

The numbers for the hotels mentioned in this article are listed below.

(Note: Always ask if there are special rates on the dates of your visit **Indicate what accommodation you might need if you are disabled ** and try it, who knows, it might work . . . tell them that 'Jane', the blond in the blue wheelchair, travel writer . . . recommended them and you never know maybe you'll just a better deal!!

Getting There:

Hawaii is a long haul. Whether you live on the West Coast or as I do the East Coast, be prepared to be jet lagged, so take the first day of your holiday just to relax.

Kauai Hyatt Regency Hyatt Regency Resorts 800-233-1234 Direct line 808-742-1234 The Big Island The Royal Waikoloan 800-462-6262

Maui The Four Seasons, USA 800-332-3442 Can 800-268-6282 Direct line 800-334-Maui Oahu

Ihilani Resort and Spa, Oahu 800-626-4446 Direct line 808-679-0079

Sheraton Waikiki Hotel 800-325-3535 Direct line 808-922-4422

Jane Danielson is a Freelance Travel Writer and Poet and has been published in Canada and United States. She became mobility disabled thirteen years ago and uses a cane and wheelchair. Jane believes that traveling is a prescription for a healthy positive outlook, especially for the disabled but really for everyone Some of Jane’s articles include Camping in a National Park and, Whale Watching on Brier Island, Fun in Florida and Healing Powers of Hawaii. Her travel articles always look at the positive of traveling, with a realization of the obstacles that must be overcome to achieve this experience. Her poems reflect the frustrations and needs for courage when one is disabled as well as hope for the future.


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