Photos: Hawaiian paradise

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  1. Waimea Canyon, Kauai

    Kalalau Valley, on Kauai's west side, is more than 3,000 feet deep and provides stunning panoramic views. Waimea is nicknamed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." (John Borthwick / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii

    Men row their Hawaiian outrigger canoe towards Waikiki beach, with Diamond Head in the background. Outrigger canoes are now used for recreation purposes and to ride the waves, but in times past they were the main means of transportation between the Hawaiian Islands. (Mike Nelson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. The tranquil waters of Oahu

    Hanauma Bay is one of the finest stretches of beach in the world. (Eric L Wheater / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Surfer's paradise

    Australian Luke Egan competes on Oahu's North Shore, one of the best places in Hawaii to ride the big waves. (AFP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Water colors

    A school of manini fish pass over a coral reef at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Donald Miralle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wailua Falls

    The beautiful 83-foot tiered Wailua Falls is an easily accessible, must-see waterfall on the island of Kauai. Wailua Falls was first made famous when it was featured in the television show, "Fantasy Island." (James Randklev / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Emerald peaks

    The iconic, towering emerald peaks of the 1,200-foot Iao Needle, stand out in Maui's Iao Valley State Park. (Adina Tovy Amsel / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Historic reminder

    The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, marks the resting place of many of the battleship's 1,177 crew members who lost their lives during the Attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 by the Japanese. The memorial is the "ground zero" of World War II. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Aloha!

    Hula dancers welcome the sailing crew of a Hokule'a, a canoe, into Kailua Bay. (Ronen Zilberman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The heart of Hawaii

    The sun sets on Honolulu, Oahu's capital and Hawaii's largest, most populous city. (Robert Y. Ono / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Polynesian heat

    Brandon OFueo Maneafaiga, 23, of Waianae, Hawaii balances two flaming knifes during the 13th Annual World Fireknife Championship at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Laie, Hawaii. (Lucy Pemoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Explosive attraction

    People watch from a viewing area as an explosion takes place on Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Legend says the volcano goddess Pele dug fire pits as she traveled from island to island looking for a home with her brothers and sisters. She finally settled at Kilauea's summit, where she lives at Halemaumau crater. (Leigh Hilbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Forces of nature

    The Dragon's Teeth are bizarre lava formations eroded by wind and salt spray at Makalua-puna Point. (Karl Lehmann / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Heaven on Earth

    Astronomy observatories are seen on the peak of the snow-covered, Mauna Kea mountain near Hilo, Hawaii. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano. (Tim Wright / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. On the way to Sainthood

    Tourists walk through a cemetery past the grave, left, of Father Damien at Kalawao, Hawaii. After cancer patient Audrey Toguchi prayed to Father Damien, known for helping leprosy patients in Hawaii, to help her, and her cancer went away, Pope Benedict XVI approved the case in July 2008 as Damien's second miracle, opening the way for the 19th century Belgian priest to be declared a saint. (Eric Risberg / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Cool colors

    Rainbow eucalyptus (Mindanao Gum) trees grow in Keanae, Maui. Once a year, these magnificent trees shed their bark and take on the colors of the rainbow. (James Randklev / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Magic Sands

    An aerial view of La'aloa Beach Park or Magic Sands beach in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The beach is called Magic Sands because when rough surf hits, all of the sand is emptied off the beach and temporarily moved out to sea. (Brian Powers / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 7/17/2007 12:57:04 PM ET 2007-07-17T16:57:04

More and more tourists to Hawaii are bypassing hotels and finding alternate accommodations such as timeshare units, bed-and-breakfast inns or simply a couch at a friend's house.

Despite record arrivals in May, hotel occupancy fell 6.5 percentage points to 69 percent because of increased use of non-hotel accommodations, according to the latest report by Hospitality Advisors LLC.

For the first five months of the year, hotel occupancy has dipped 6 percentage points to 74.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the numbers of visitors who stayed in vacation condominiums, timeshares, cruise ships or with friends and relatives have all increased, according to the state.

Hotel consultant Joseph Toy, chief executive of Hospitality Advisors, said Friday that he first noticed the trend about four years ago, especially with repeat visitors to Hawaii.

Toy said a sharp decline in tourists from Japan also has affected hotel occupancy. About 95 percent of Japanese visitors to Hawaii stay in hotels, as opposed to about three-quarters of Americans.

Another factor is that more than 2,000 hotel rooms in Waikiki were being renovated last year and are now back online. Hotels are also charging record-high rates.

However, guests aren't necessarily saving money by avoiding hotels and resorts. Each of the six rooms at the Ho'oilo House, a Balinese-inspired bed-and-breakfast in West Maui, runs $315 a night.

Amy Wisthoff-Martin, a partner of the B&B, said her guests are seeking luxury and privacy.

"The resort areas in general have just gotten a little crazy," she said. "Even though you've got all these great amenities, you have a lot of people to deal with."

Hal Nordblom, general manager of the Holualoa Inn, which sits on a 30-acre coffee farm near Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, said his guests are usually couples seeking a relaxing, intimate and personal experience.

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"We'll know them by first name right when we greet them," he said. "Most people don't want to be a number at the front desk checking in."

So some are forsaking the resorts and their luxurious lobbies, sprawling swimming pools, 24-hour room service and heavenly spas for a little privacy and space.

But hotel chains aren't suffering. They're actually leading the way in the timeshare movement.

Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and Starwood have successful timeshare divisions using a club concept where timeshare buyers receive points that offer the flexibility of staying at other properties, including some hotels.

"I think it's a complementary product to the hotels," Toy said. "Hotels are expanding their brand through timeshares."

Starwood is quickly growing its timeshare presence in Hawaii. The company is opening a new tower later this month at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort on Maui and will open the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on Kauai next year. It is also in the permitting stage for a new property in Poipu on Kauai.

Gregg Lundberg, general manger of the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort, said his property has been extremely popular with families because it offers full kitchens, washers and dryers and multiple bedrooms along with the amenities of a hotel.

"There are just more options than ever before," said Daniel Nahoopii, chief of tourism research of state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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