This September, the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay on Big Island finished its $20 million renovation across their 22 acres of ocean front property. Dramatic improvements to the resort’s lobby, each of its 509 hotel rooms, public areas, and restaurants were part of the upgrade process, along with partnering with Kalani Nakoa. The Sheraton now offers its guests a complimentary one-hour sail aboard Nakoa’s ancient sailing canoe replica, sharing the rich culture and history of Hawaii with everyone.

Nakoa runs a foundation that aims to connect kids with Hawaiian culture through ocean sports and activities. He also recognizes the shift in interests from tourists as they’ve come and gone in Hawaii over the years, taking note of the genuine desire to learn more about the ancient culture of Hawaii. “Before, people used to come with nothing,” he said. “They were just looking for the grass skirts and the mai tais and the beach. But nowadays when they come, many people really want to know about the culture, and they want to know what happened here. And they don’t want any phony baloney. They want the real stuff.”

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