More and more, we’re seeing hotels and experiential travel providers offer us ways to “feel good” about our impact during leisure travel. The Kahala Hotel & Resort, tucked away off-the-beaten Waikiki strip on a secluded sliver of beach in East Honolulu, has entered the field of do-gooders with a tremendous offering. First, guests can opt for an $8-per-day room charge that will fund “KISCA”—The Kahala Initiative for Sustainability and Cultural Awareness. With this daily contribution, guests receive free or highly discounted entrance to desirable cultural sites on Oahu (like Doris Duke’s Shangri La—normally a $25 ticket—or The Bishop Museum, etc.). Part of the funds from KISCA are going to an effort by The Kahala to plant 200,000 native trees on the island’s North Shore. (To date, the hotel and guests have planted 6,000 trees and raised over $300,000 for community projects.)
Additionally, guests can opt for a day trip to the reforestation site (near Kualoa Ranch) to partake in tree planting and an exclusive tour with The Kahala’s cultural advisor.
Other opportunities affiliated with the program include a hike with Hawaii Forest & Trail, or a scenic bike ride on the Ko’olau Summit Trail with Bike Hawaii. More low-key, resort-side experiences include cultural leaders speaking to guests about the history of the area and island, cultural craft-making, Hawaiian traditions, royal lineage, tales and folklore of from the pre-contact Hawaiians. Some funding is also used for regular Kahala staff training, where they’ll learn about carbon footprint, sustainability, and ways their important work can be less impactful on Hawaii’s fragile ecosystem.
And for ongoing efforts that last beyond your stay? Guests who donate $60 will have a legacy tree planted on their behalf, including GPS coordinates of their tree, so you can track online or visit on future trips.