Waikiki Hotel Discounts

Kovell is a veteran journalist in seniors' interests

The welcome mat is out in Honolulu's Waikiki resort area, where the tourism boom continues.

Although many travelers deplore the commercialism and overbuilding that all but obscures the 1 1/2-mile stretch of white sandy beach and the calm blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, Kalakaua Avenue--the heart of Waikiki--continues to draw record crowds.

With a mild, constant temperature and little need for jackets or neckties, plus dozens of sightseeing attractions and a great selection of water sports, Waikiki has enhanced its appeal with an increasing number of concessions designed to attract mature travelers.

The largest hotel group in Honolulu, Outrigger Hotels Hawaii, is offering senior rates to anyone over 50, proof of which must be provided upon check-in. For more information, call toll-free (800) 367-5170.

The newly refurbished Hilton Hawaiian Village is Hawaii's largest hotel, with more than 2,500 rooms. The hotel's shopping village provides discounts up to 50% under its Senior Honors program, which brings rates in three of the four towers down to $100 a night and $150 in the exclusive Ali'i Tower.

At the Hilton, meal discounts of 20% are offered at the Don Ho Dinner Show, Catamaran Sunset Dinner Sail and Rainbow Hawaiian Fare Buffet. Call Hilton at (800) 445-8667.

The Sheraton group of hotels, which includes the Sheraton Waikiki, the venerable Ala Moana, the Royal Hawaiian and the Princess Kaiualini, offer the systemwide 25% discount for seniors. Call (800) 325-3535.

Other nationwide chains with hotels in Waikiki that offer senior discounts include Best Western, Colony, Days Inns, Quality Inns and Ramada.

Some hotels provide only a limited number of rooms for senior discounts, and certain holiday periods may be restricted. Minimum age limits vary, and reservations are always on a space-available basis. Proof of age may be a driver's license, passport or membership in a recognized senior organization such as AARP.

Low Flight Rates

Discounts for travelers over 65 are also offered on the two inter-island airlines, Aloha and Hawaiian airlines. Both offer a $10 discount off the regular $49.95 fare between any of the Hawaiian islands.

A Sunrise Special, not limited to seniors, provides for an even less expensive fare of $29.95 for the first and last flights of the day from Honolulu Airport to any neighboring island.

There's a simple way for the mature traveler to find restaurants that offer senior discounts. Such restaurants are marked in the Honolulu phone book Yellow Pages with a star symbol. Many of these restaurants are branches of major U.S. chains, such as Denny's, Burger King and Sizzler steak houses. Amount of discount and age limits vary.

During certain hours the Jolly Roger gives patrons over 60 years 20% off. Burger King offers 10% off for those over 55, while Denny's and Sizzler have special senior menus. Some independent restaurants offer discounts on lunch or dinner only.

Many movie theaters in Honolulu offer special rates of $3 for seniors over age 65 at any time of day or evening and on holidays. Some sightseeing attractions and sports-equipment rental outlets offer senior discounts. Free tourist publications with ample information on what to do and see in Honolulu are in the city's new display racks.

No Charge on Buses

One of the biggest bargains for seniors in Honolulu is the E&H; (Elderly and Handicapped) BusCard, which permits the holder unlimited transportation on the city bus line, MTL.

Known locally as The Bus, the network of routes serves the entire island of Oahu. The pass is valid on any line at any time of day or night, without restrictions. And the price is right--it is issued to anyone over age 65 at no charge.

Apply at the MTL headquarters with a passport, birth certificate or valid driver's license from any state, and you'll be photographed and presented with a laminated plastic identification card that's valid until the end of the year.

For more information on the Waikiki area, write to Waikiki Beach Operators Assn., 820 Mililani St., No. 400-K, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. For information on obtaining the free E&H; BusCard, in Honolulu call (808) 531-0431.

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The off-season in the Soviet Union--fall, winter and spring--is also its cultural season. During that period, prices are lower and groups are smaller. Tourists have gone. Love Holidays/Uniworld Tours, which has been providing travel for mature travelers for many years, has created several packages for the 1989-1990 season in conjunction with Finnair, the national airline of Finland.

Four itineraries are offered that cover from eight to 11 days, with departure dates from November until next April. Prices begin at $1,268 and include round-trip air transportation from West Coast cities, all transport within the Soviet Union, deluxe and first-class hotels, plus three meals daily.

In Moscow you get a theater performance and visits to the Kremlin and Red Square. In Leningrad the Hermitage Museum is visited. All four tours include Leningrad and Moscow and one or two additional cities, depending on the itinerary selected.

A color brochure that gives complete details, including prices, components and itineraries, is available from Love Holidays/Uniworld, 15315 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91403, or call (800) HLO-LOVE (456-5683), (213) 873-7991 or (818) 501-6868.

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