Always Enchanting Hawaii
There’s a reason Hawaii is the perennial number one honeymoon destination.
Beautiful, enchanting and oh so romantic – this is the land of palm fringed beaches, impossibly blue waters and balmy trade winds perfumed with the fragrance of tropical flowers. Not to mention the exotic luaus, ethereal rainbows and unforgettable sunsets. It’s not surprising that Hawaii is also a popular getaway for families, friends, singles, and anyone seeking a vacation
The Hawaiian Islands have a stunning and varied topography. Lush and tropical, each island has its own unique treasures. I recommend seeing as many as you can, with a minimum 3-day stay on each one. It’s only about a twenty minute flight to island hop on Hawaiian Airlines. You can rent a car and leisurely explore each island. There are plenty of spots to pull over, marvel at nature’s beauty and enjoy pretty, secluded beaches. Food lovers will be impressed with the superb cuisine emphasizing sustainable and locally sourced foods. There’s a trend toward star chefs in the hotel restaurants, which offer the freshest fish and the best wagyu beef.
Below are the four main islands and some of the many superb resorts:
Honolulu, the capital, is in Oahu, the most populated island and the site of world famous Waikiki. Here you’ll find trendy restaurants, swinging nightlife, chic boutiques, razor edged mountains, Pearl Harbor and sandy white beaches. It’s a great combo of modern city and tropical resorts with both a lively and laid back energy. At day’s end smiling couples of all ages stroll hand in hand along the palm tree dotted Kalakaua boulevard past Chanel, Gucci and beachwear shops as fiery torches are lit to optimal romantic effect.
Resorts will arrange any water sport as well as surf and stand up paddle lessons. Favorite activities include swimming with dolphins, dinner cruises and heading out to the rural North Shore with its legendary surfer beaches and big waves that make for great watching for those who don’t want to participate in the fun.
Movie stars, royals and dignitaries have stayed at the iconic coral pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel, fronting Waikiki Beach. Known as ‘The Pink Palace of the Pacific,’ it offers an elegant historic wing, oceanfront lanais in the Mailani Tower wing, a courtyard garden of coconut palms and Pacific Rim cuisine at Azure. The resort’s famed beachfront Mai Tai Bar, birthplace of the eponymous cocktail, offers views of majestic Diamond Head Crater and the Hawaiian sunset, a spectacular canvas of mauve, magenta and gold with a hint of green. www.royal-hawaiian.com
The other historic oceanfront beauty, Moana, the ‘First Lady of Waikiki,’ charms with its combination of period Victorian furnishings and contemporary comfort. The outdoor oceanfront Beachhouse Restaurant has a nightly serenade of Hawaiian music and hula dancers under a giant banyan tree and starry sky.
The stylish and luxurious Halekulani, which means ‘house befitting heaven’ is both refined and inviting. Set right on the beach in Waikiki, it features superb La Mer Restaurant for fine dining.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is making the less-developed west side a coveted destination for those in search of an unspoiled sanctuary. You’ll find Lanikuhonua nature preserve to the north and to the south, Ko Olina Lagoons, four picturesque beach coves.
THE BIG ISLAND
The Big Island is the home of eleven different climate zones, the most active volcano on the planet, hip Kona with local shops, eateries and yoga studios as well as your choice of white, green or black beaches. You can take a thrilling helicopter tour over Kilauea Volcano with spectacular views of red lava flowing. On land explore Volcanoes National Park as you trek past rainforests and black lava terrain onto the magnificent summit caldera.
Four Seasons Resort Hulalai completed a hundred million dollar renovation last October, the largest since the iconic Hawaiian Resort debuted 25 years ago. The property-wide transformation includes unveiling of its top three villas, the largest and most luxurious villa accommodations in Hawaii, as well as enhancing all rooms and suites, infinity pool, swimmable aquarium, golf course and the launch of the Hualalai Golf Hale, a 3,000 square-foot instruction, practice and entertainment venue – the only one of its kind in Hawaii.
Situated along the Koahala Coast, Mauna Kea Resort + Residences offers the ultimate in indulgence with three distinct luxury options: the iconic romance destination, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; the idyllic Westin Hapuna Beach Resort right on the beach and the exclusive Mauna Kea Residences, ranging from sweeping clifftop villas to modern oceanfront condo. Guest can enjoy customized activities such as helicopter rides over the island departing right from the resort grounds as well as curated wellness journeys at their Mandara Spa. www.maunakearesort.com
Nestled along the scenic Kohala Coast and in the center of five great mountains, Mauna Lani, an Auberge Resort, offers a lovely, luxe oasis. www.aubergeresorts.com/maunalani
Maui, the most diverse island has pristine palm lined shores, as well as red and black beaches and a scenic landscape with dramatic contrasts between mountains and sea. Rent a convertible and explore the scenic landscape. Don’t miss the legendary Hana Highway for some of the most ravishing scenery on the planet. The starting point is the funky town of Paia with yoga studios, galleries, outdoor eateries and quirky shops. You’ll pass stunning waterfalls and breathtaking views of ocean, coast and fertile forest all along this fifty-five mile highway.
Set on 15 acres of the beautiful Wailea Coast, Four Seasons Resort Maui offers understated elegance, impeccable rooms and impressive culinary offerings. Programming for 2022 includes classic smile-activating activities, excursions in the blue Pacific Ocean, adults-only serenity pools, award-winning restaurants, authentic cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and sublime rest and relaxation. www.fourseasons.com/maui
The Westin Maui, known for its fantastic beachfront location, has just finished a $120 million transformation of the property. Along with the new appearance, the revamp has heightened its natural beauty and developed an identity deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture. This includes wellness practices, cultural classes and new architectural details. “The Westin brand design philosophy draws inspiration from the concept of ‘biophilia,’ which posits that people have an innate need to connect with nature, and that our link to the natural world affects our well-being.” In regard to aqua activities, guests can board whale-watching catamarans in front of the resort. Thousands of whales migrate to Maui’s warm waters each winter so you can view the celebrated humpbacks swim next to the boat, pop up and breach. The best snorkeling is a two-minute walk to Black Rock where in addition to coral and multicolored fish I saw large beautiful sea turtles. www.marriott.com
Kauai, called the Garden Island, has lush tropical flora, rainforest, unsurpassed wilderness and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Dramatic sea cliffs, balmy trade winds and the rich verdant landscape create a magical, mystical, romantic aura If you’re in shape, the four-hour hike on the legendary Napali trail offers breathtaking vistas of the coastline. Ke’e Beach has the best sunsets. Hanalei Beach will take your breath away. The town of Hanalei has a laid back vibe with its chic shops, trendy eateries and lively music at night.
1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, the former St. Regis Princeville, is set to debut in 2023. Built on a hillside overlooking stunning Hanalei Bay and the dramatic cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, this much anticipated resort promises a luxurious sanctuary of world-class wellness and top amenities. The hotel will have 252 rooms, including 51 suites that bring nature into each space in addition to the spectacular views. Seven restaurants and bars will feature fresh, local, farm-to-table cuisine using ingredients from the hotel’s organic on-site garden and neighboring farms. www.1hotels.com/hanalei-bay
Enjoy the white sands of Poipu on Kauai’s sunny south shore at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. This luxurious property with lush gardens and acres of pools offers ocean view dining, spacious stylish rooms done in beautiful contemporary décor with private lanais, championship golf and Anara Spa. www.hyatt.com
Hawaii has an extremely high rate of loyal, return visitors. With many islands to visit and a culture as warm and friendly as the scenery is beautiful, Hawaii makes one feel that you haven’t seen it all and want more. Don’t be surprised if you start planning your next trip back as soon as you return home.