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Cover Story

Ruling Over Banqueting Services, Island Cuisine

By Ali Resich Photos By Anthony Consillio
April 10, 2016

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Executive chef Kirby Wong and Cara Sawai, account executive for catering sales, crack open top picks from the buffet and banquet menus.

Executive chef Kirby Wong and Cara Sawai, account executive for catering sales, crack open top picks from the buffet and banquet menus.

Whether planning a graduation celebration or retirement party, or seeking an ideal venue for a small office gathering, many kamaaina turn to Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki for its wide array of banqueting and event offerings — available with, of course, delicious dining options.

The endlessly elegant hotel is a perfect locale for any special occasion, as it stands tall at Honolulu’s grand entrance into Waikiki, welcoming visitors and locals alike just footsteps away from Ala Wai Harbor and Ala Moana Beach Park. To pair with its picturesque setting, Hawaii Prince is home to an inviting staff, including account executive for catering sales Cara Sawai, who is dedicated to ensuring events go off without a hitch.

Along with executive chef Kirby Wong, the Hawaii Prince team features many longtime employees who excel at catering to island residents’ needs in a diverse range of events, from baby’s first birthdays and weddings to smaller, more casual parties and lunch meetings.

“It’s really nice to be able to work with the local market,” says Sawai, noting that she enjoys establishing lasting relationships with many of the hotel’s loyal Hawaii-based customers who frequent its popular restaurants Prince Court and Hakone.

The 26-year-old hotel is gearing up for its Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon (see sidebar), set for Wednesday, April 27. When it comes to helping guests coordinate their own events — be it at the hotel or off site — Hawaii Prince offers customization at every step of the party-planning process. The hotel can recommend vendors for adding first-class decor schemes to more festive gatherings, and there are a number of private rooms to choose from. Haleakala-Kilauea Room and Captain’s Room are each good for about 70-80 people, while the latter offers easy access to the famed Prince Court buffet. A grand Mauna Kea ballroom also is available. “We can accommodate a larger number of groups and parties, so we can do up to 420 to 560 people, depending on what (the client’s) needs are and the type of setup they’re looking for,” explains Sawai.

Every successful party needs a savory and satisfying menu, and Chef Kirby and his team deliver in that department with a host of gourmet set menus as well as more customizable selections to choose from. “We’re currently known for a Euro-Asian theme throughout this hotel, but we try to do a little bit of everything,” he says.

One of the most popular banqueting dishes is Asian Braised Boneless Short Rib, available for both a la carte menus or buffet-style feasts. The creation exemplifies Hawaii Prince’s upscale take on local flavors, bringing together hints of hoisin, oyster sauce and ginger to accentuate tender braised beef. Chef Kirby also calls Broiled Tofu Steak with Miso Eggplant and Ponzu Sauce “one of our favorites for banquets,” as the vegetarian dish sizzles with grilled tofu and eggplant drizzled in miso glaze and ponzu sauce, with flavorful pops of furikake, ginger and green onion.

Patrons may recognize the Broiled Tofu Steak from the a la carte menu at Prince Court, where an expansive buffet selection of seafood galore, juicy crab legs, baked oysters with masago aioli (and different dressings weekly), wonderfully crisp tempura and upscale local-inspired fare continues to be a hit among locals.

When it comes to events, some smaller groups already dine on the Prince Court buffet, but Sawai says guests will be happy to know the hotel plans to make the buffet available for larger parties during the summer and fall.

Regardless of the type of gathering you have in mind, expect great service and cuisine in a dignified setting at Hawaii Prince Hotel. “It’s a really great family atmosphere with the employees too, so we take really good care of our locals guests,” adds Sawai.

Dig into Holiday Buffets, Kamaaina Specials

Hawaii Prince Hotel is recognized as a winning spot to host special occasions, but it’s also widely adored for its critically acclaimed cuisine — including the buffet at Prince Court restaurant. Patrons can’t get enough of the fusion of island flavors presented via plenty of seafood, a Japanese station, classic comfort foods and much more.

Be sure to look out for the upcoming Prince Court coupons in TGIF April 15 and Dining Out April 17 to redeem a kamaaina special offering 25 percent off the breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets (regularly priced between $29.50 and $53) Monday through Friday until May 13.

The restaurant also is ready for another memorable Mother’s Day (May 8) and Father’s Day (June 19), with brunch (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and dinner (5-9) buffets for each holiday offering dim sum, snow crab legs, Chinese Roast Pork and Kalua Pig station and Prime Rib, among other tasty bites. Prince Court already is accepting reservations, so call 944-4494 to book.

Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon

Hawaii Prince Hotel invites island businesses to partake in an Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon Wednesday, April 27, in its Mauna Kea Ballroom. The event will feature a memorable lunch buffet bursting with traditional Hawaiian flavors, from laulau and chicken long rice to kalua pork, sweet potatoes and more. Guests also will enjoy a star-studded performance from some of Hawaii’s most talented acts, including Amy Hanaiali‘i, Lehua Kalima, Mark Yamanaka, Ben & Maila, and more.

The luncheon is priced at $55 per person; $525 per table of 10, with a discount offered for parties of 10 or more (save $2.50 per person). To book your reservation and for more information, visit hawaiiprincehotel.com/events, call 952-4789 or email events@hiprince.com.

Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

100 Holomoana Street, Honolulu
Dining reservations: 944-4494
Banqueting: 952-4789 or events@hiprince.com
Hiprince.com