Kaanapali hotel celebrates 50th anniversary

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HONOLULU (AP) -- The first official hotel to be built at Kaanapali is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

The Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa plans to launch a year of celebrations with an anniversary luau on Jan. 25.

The hotel opened as the Sheraton Maui Hotel in January 1963 with a special introductory rate of $15.

The first commercial flight ever to arrive on Maui from the U.S. mainland brought comedian Bob Hope, singer Bing Crosby and other celebrities to the Valley Isle for the party.

United Airlines invited Maui residents and students to tour the DC-8 jet plane.

Area landowner, the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation, transformed Kanaapali into a resort to diversity the company's economic base.