Saturday, November 28, 2015         


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Luxury travel show will highlight 2 Hawaii hotels

By Ben Wood


Hawaii tourism officials are sure to be pleased as the state will get high exposure when London-based TV host Varun Sharma features Hawaii in his widely watched "Inside Luxury Travel" program. The show is dubbed in 16 languages for broadcast to homes around the world through CNBC, the Travel Channel and the Wealth Channel. It is also shown on 11 airlines. The Halekulani and the Four Seasons at Wailea, Maui, are the featured hotels.

The Hawaii show will air in the spring. Diane Ako, public relations chief at the Halekulani, has a cameo. While Sharma and his crew were escorted around, they realized they needed a model to sit and have drinks with the host as he enjoyed sunset cocktails at House Without A Key. Diane was called into service. "I almost forgot to remove my name tag!" she recalls. "It was fun. My job is to sit with famous people and enjoy virgin drinks at a luxurious setting? Can't get better than that!" ...

...Diane is off to Portland at the end of the month to host a documentary. It was a freelance project that was in the works before she was hired at the Halekulani, and her new boss, Patricia Tam, approved it. She will host a documentary about Japanese tea ceremonies. The executive producer is her former KHNL coworker Tim McRobert, who moved to Oregon. Tim is offering the documentary to Portland PBS. No word on an air date yet. In 2006 Diane and Tim were nominated for a Northern California regional Emmy for a documentary they made on mudslides in the Philippines. ...

...Professional photographers Lisa Uesugi and Laurie Callies took their ProjectFocus picture show to the Davies Pacific Center Oct. 7. A large crowd on the center's second-floor deck got to see the 28 photos taken of, and half of them by, the 14 kids Lisa and Laurie trained in photography. The crowd also enjoyed wine, beer, pupu and music by Maunalua. The trio is made up of Bobby Moderow Jr., Kahi Kaonohi and Richard Gideon. The youngsters are linked to HUGS, a partner in ProjectFocus. Hosts for the event were Pacific Office Properties and Bishop Street Commercial. On Wednesday, the exhibition moves to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. ...

...Retired police officer Joe Hauoli Dowson is 86 years old, but he is no couch potato. After serving with HPD for 32 years and retiring in 1976, Joe plunged into his art career. He is still painting and instructing upcoming artists. Joe is holding an exhibition at the MAMO gallery on Bethel Street Nov. 5 to 30, featuring paintings, cards, calendars, ornaments, ceramics and other items created by him and his students. All of the artists will be on hand for the opening from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 5. Call 946-9000 for information. Joe was a special investigator in the police chief's office when he retired from the force. ...

...The Hawaii Opera Theatre and Nordstrom's are inviting friends to their "Bravo!" fashion event next Friday at the Waikiki Edition Hotel's Sun Suite. Informal modeling of the new fall fashions for women and men, along with food and drink, are on the bill. Party hosts are Ray Galas and Kristen Chan. ... The 2011 opera season gets under way in January and ticket sales for the three productions start today. "Faust," "Lucia di Lammermoor" and "La Traviata" will be presented this season. ... Vivian Bell Luning's name was provided incorrectly for last week's item about the former Hawaiian Airlines DC-3 hostesses holding their annual party Nov. 13 at the Ala Moana Hotel. The name of a key party organizer, Lei Kaniho, was not provided. Davone Bess' first name was incorrect last week ...

...------ Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Fridays. E-mail him at

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