The island paradise of Hawaii is renowned for idyllic living and perfect sunsets. On your next jaunt, consider these two properties: one, an all-time classic and the other, a modern icon of luxury.
In 1883, Robert Lewers erected a two-storey house along the freshwater spring known as Waikiki – a beach the natives considered a retreat for hospitality and healing. Today, Waikiki retains its charm for providing the quintessential Hawaiian lifestyle of music, food, sun, sea, surf and plenty of relaxation. Halekulani, which translates into ‘House Befitting Heaven’ in the local tongue, was so named by fishermen of yore who would haul their canoes ashore and be warmly welcomed by the Lewers family.
The present-day property, which reopened in 1984, remains a perennial favourite for holidaying families and honeymooning couples who seek an oasis of calm beyond Waikiki’s famous beach. Inside the hotel, your senses are caressed by rustling Ti tree leaves, lush from the tropical sun. A fragrance of fresh flowers adds to the sensorial fantasy.
Rooms open to the ocean and are cleverly fitted with shutters and an interior that recall seaside living. Inside its one-bedroom suites (from US$1,625, S$2,280) that span over 93sqm, that sense of place is lovingly crafted with a wet bar, a soaking tub and full-sized lanais for perfect enjoyment of sunsets, amid the rising strains of pedal steel guitars from the beach.
Facilities such as the heated pool and the spa will kick-start your healing regime, with a gentleman’s menu encompassing barefoot massages, facials and scalp therapy. To feed the body, a comprehensive array of food and beverage options include La Mer, a AAA Five Diamond-rated French restaurant where the food is served alongside views of the Pacific Ocean. Orchids, which possesses a more casual character through al fresco dining, also happens to be the site of the original Lewers’ property. Here, one may look forward to chef de cuisine Christian Testa’s signature Harris Ranch prime beef fillet appetiser, freshly made pasta and local Kahuku prawns, scallops and avocado. To fully take in the Hawaiian vibe, opt for House Without A Key for casual dining and be regaled by the charms of any of the five former Miss Hawaii winners swaying to the live Hawaiian music, which occurs nightly.
2199 Kalia Road
Tel: +1 844 873 9424
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
An approximately half-hour drive away from Waikiki takes you into the breezy resort community of Ko Olina – located on Oahu’s western coast. The wondrous scenery here is ostensibly the reason why many Hawaiian chiefs and royal families chose this place as their favourite recreational spot; a setting where white beaches meet calm ocean waters, with the Waianae mountain range as a majestic backdrop.
Just last May, this area welcomed Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina and, naturally, the brand brought its spectacular style of hospitality with it. One may choose to arrive by yacht or helicopter transfer to the US$500-million (S$700 million) property which took 18 months to overhaul from the former JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa.
The resulting 17 storeys, 316 guestrooms and 55 suites include four speciality suites: Pacific, Ko Olina Three-Bedroom, Penthouse and Presidential. The latter, which spreads across an expansive 356sqm, is designed to optimise views of the cerulean ocean, with private access to the rooftop Sky Terrace and Lounge. A brilliant use of light by Philpotts Interiors – which oversaw the recent renovation – results in bright airy spaces across the property, uplifting the soul at every turn.
Downstairs, a vast array of gastronomic pleasures awaits. La Hiki does pan-Asian dinners with a melange of Chinese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese, where one may begin with a char siu pork appetiser, continue with a beef rendang or yakisoba noodles with crab, and end with pandan doughnuts. Fish House offers fresh seafood towers, poke bowls and crustacean spreads to go with a local draft crafted by Four Seasons’ executive chef Martin Knaubert and the island’s brewmasters. There is also Noe, an Italian joint, and the al fresco Waterman Bar & Grill for lunch, cocktails and nibbles. And finally, the Hokulea lounge is great for lazy afternoons with small plates and nursing a Mai Tai.
Beyond the feasting, the resort’s palatial 3,252sqm Naupaka Spa offers Hawaiian healing therapies, while other amenities include a 929sqm health club, wedding chapel, nanny services, outdoor lap pools, an adults-only ocean beach and special privileges at the neighbouring Ko Olina Golf Club. The adjacent Lanikuhonua Cultural Estate and nature reserve offers a natural salve for the urban-weary soul, while a Bell 407 helicopter and 23m luxury yacht will bring you on a journey of discovery to the far reaches of Oahu.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
92-1001 Olani Street