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Monday, July 22, 2024

Halekulani Provides a Welcome Spot of Tranquility within the Midst of Busy Waikiki

The bustle of Waikiki is simply steps behind you. However whenever you cross the brink of Halekulani (“Home Befitting Heaven”), you are feeling such as you’re moving into a special, extra tranquil world. A way of calm pervades the ambiance as you make your approach to reception, are escorted to your room, and take within the expanse of ocean that you just see by way of your window. It is time to settle in in your lanai along with your favourite drink in hand and take within the spectacular view.

There’s been a resort on this web site since 1907 when it was generally known as the Hau Tree, a predominant constructing surrounded by small bungalows. When creator Earl Derr Biggers checked in throughout a go to to the islands within the Nineteen Twenties, he was bemused by the response when he requested for the important thing to his bungalow: “What key?” The change impressed the title of his 1925 thriller novel “The Home With out a Key,” which launched detective Charlie Chan to the world (whose exploits had been impressed by real-life Honolulu detective Chang Apana). In a case of life imitating artwork, Home With out a Secret’s now the title of one in every of Halekulani’s eating places, with its adjoining bar, Earl’s, named after Biggers.

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

Within the early Nineteen Eighties, the resort underwent an entire transformation. The bungalows had been gone, although the historic predominant constructing was restored, full with its Polynesian-style Dickey roof, initially designed by architect Charles Dickey. Although the property has 453 rooms and suites, the expansive structure over the 5-plus acres makes it really feel extra like a smaller boutique resort, with low-rise steps and luxurious inexperienced courtyards. Like many resorts in Hawaii, there are not any doorways; entryways are left open to the cooling ocean breezes.

Halekulani’s employees is thought for his or her attentive service; “I really feel I’m handled like royalty right here,” a fellow visitor informed me in the future as we sipped our drinks by the pool. It’s the results of having a employees with a robust bond with their place of employment; whenever you converse to an worker, it’s common to seek out individuals who have labored on the resort for 20, 30, and even 40 years. Consequently, they take distinctive satisfaction of their work, translating right into a superior visitor expertise. “We all know that our friends may keep wherever on this planet, and so they have chosen to stick with us. We are going to do our greatest to fulfill or exceed their expectations,” mentioned Rage Day, a longtime server at Home With out a Key.

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

When the 129-year-old Kiawe tree in Home With out a Key’s patio fell over in August 2016 attributable to erosion, it was front-page information within the state. Arborists managed to save lots of the tree, with the remnants appropriately repurposed; you’ll discover a planter produced from the fallen branches in Halekulani’s foyer. It’s an instance of how the resort continues to honor its previous because it strikes into the long run — which can be what makes staying right here such a timeless expertise.  

Learn on for Journey + Leisure’s full evaluate of Halekulani.

Halekulani Resort

  • The property’s ethereal, elegant structure is supremely stress-free.
  • No resort charges is a pleasing shock in Hawaii.
  • Do not miss the signature coconut cake — it is a should attempt at the least as soon as.
  • There isn’t any higher place to look at the sundown in Waikiki than cocktail seating at Home With out a Key.

The Rooms

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

My oceanfront room felt spacious and had a spectacular view. Sit in your lanai within the early night, and also you’ll hear music wafting from Home With out a Key. The subdued white and beige decor was tastefully accented by the colour “Halekulani Blue” on the pillows, bedding, and towels. My generously sized toilet featured a deep-soaking tub, separate bathe, and bathroom; different in-room facilities embody a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, and tea kettle.

Arriving friends are welcomed with a fruit plate of papaya and bananas, and whenever you return to your room within the night, you’ll discover that the nightly turndown service additionally features a small merchandise (like a bookmark) left in your pillow, together with a card that includes an inspiring quote — comparable to “From what we can’t maintain the celebrities are made,” by creator William S. Merwin.

Meals and Drink

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

Home With out a Key and Orchids serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Greet the morning with a splendid view of Diamond Head (a volcanic “tuff cone” that gives a dramatic backdrop in photos of Waikiki Seashore) at Home With out a Key whereas having fun with the buffet, or go for the extra formal setting of Orchids (its Sunday buffet brunch is very standard and reservations are beneficial). There are additionally poolside breakfast choices for early risers, together with the plush acai bowl, full of native tropical fruits, and the bakery basket that includes freshly baked croissants and muffins.

Should you’re a fan of pastries, try the Halekulani Bakery simply throughout the road, which is just open within the mornings. The “Every thing Croissant,” with a dollop of creamy cheese within the center, rapidly turned a favourite. You can even purchase the resort’s famed coconut cake by the slice. And contemplate treating your self to afternoon tea, served on the Veranda of the resort’s predominant constructing, Tuesday by way of Saturday.

At 5 p.m., Home With out a Key’s cocktail seating begins, the patio coming to life with the beautiful sounds of a Hawaiian music trio. Be sure you catch famend hula dancer Kanoe Miller (an everyday on the resort since 1977), who seems most Fridays and Saturdays; her swish performances are mesmerizing.

The cocktail menus in any respect of Halekulani’s eating places and lounges have been revamped by the resort’s director of mixology, Tuda Sarian, and at Home With out a Key, the drink names reference the resort’s historical past; Desk 97, a frothy gin-based drink, is known as after Ernest Hemmingway’s favourite desk on the restaurant. However the Mai Tai stays the signature drink, primarily based on the unique 1944 recipe, sans extraneous juices. “I don’t suppose that you’ll find one other place in Waikiki that does a Mai Tai that doesn’t have orange or pineapple juice in it,” says Sarian. “We use recent lime juice, and it’s very rum-forward; it’s the way in which I feel it was supposed to be as a cocktail.” (I totally agree.)

There’s additionally a tempting number of appetizers: the delectable ahi tataki, the frivolously sweetened hoisin coconut ribs, and the all the time standard kabayaki fries (French fries with furikake, garlic, and kabayaki sauce).

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

The cocktail menu at Lewers Lounge displays the delicate setting of this jazz venue, with the drinks named after such traditional numbers as “I Get Alongside With out You” (a rum-based drink with smoked pineapple cordial) and “Moonglow” (one other rum drink, given an additional fizz with prosecco). “I wished the menu to learn like a compilation,” Sarian explains, “to imitate the sensation of being a jazz document.” Appetizers are additionally accessible.

La Mer affords an distinctive eating expertise, from the elegant, romantic setting to the impeccable service to the menu of neoclassic French delicacies. The tasting menu is an indulgent delight designed to dazzle your tastebuds: plump, roasted scallops, succulent poached lobster, and tender filet of beef with foie gras. Be sure you go away room for dessert, probably the most decadent selection being the vanilla soufflé with Grand Marnier crème anglaise, chocolate sauce, and spiced caramel. It’s value including the wine pairing; sommelier Kevin Tomaya is comfortable to clarify why the particular pairings had been chosen. And don’t overlook La Mer’s lounge, L’Aperitif, the place you’ll be able to chill out earlier than or after your meal, sampling such creations because the Pistache Gouteuse (vodka, pistachio syrup, and the effervescence of champagne).

Actions and Facilities

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

Through the day, Halekulani’s pool is the principle middle of exercise. At 82 toes lengthy, it’s a bigger pool than at different Waikiki resorts. On the backside, a powerful mosaic of a Cattleya orchid (the flower used as Halekulani’s brand) common from 1.2 million glass tiles adorns the pool. Beverage and meals service can be found all through the day; the grilled fish tacos — that includes smashed avocado — are beneficial.

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

Although a beachfront property, the pocket-sized Grey’s Seashore adjoining to the resort is small — however don’t be concerned; there are extra expansive seashores only a quick stroll away from both aspect of the resort. (The sand in entrance of the “Pink Palace,” the Royal Hawaiian Resort, is exceptionally smooth). Grey’s Seashore is used for the free every day surf demonstrations provided to friends, and also you’ll see catamarans touchdown on the seashore all through the day, taking friends on quick cruises. Excursions will be booked by way of the concierge. An artwork gallery, health middle with yoga studio, and enterprise middle are additionally accessible.

The Spa

Throughout my go to, SpaHalekulani was within the means of renovation, although restricted companies had been nonetheless accessible, together with massages, facials, and hair and nail companies.

Accessibility and Sustainability

Halekulani has a spread of accessible visitor rooms and suites which are ADA-compliant. The resort has discontinued the usage of single-use plastic water bottles within the visitor rooms and now affords Aloha Water, packaged in cartons produced from recyclable supplies. Different sustainability efforts embody altering mattress linens solely each three days (although extra frequent service will be requested). Halekulani was additionally the primary U.S. luxurious resort to supply meals free from GMO meals.


Halekulani is positioned in central Waikiki, about 8 miles from Honolulu Worldwide Airport. With its wealth of outlets, eating places, and sights, the neighborhood is very walkable; you received’t want a automotive until you wish to go outdoors the world.

How you can Get the Most Worth Out of Your Keep

Halekulani friends are provided complimentary admission to a few of Honolulu’s high sights, together with Iolani Palace, the Bishop Museum, and the fascinating Shangri La Museum of Islamic Artwork, Tradition & Design, a particular favourite of mine to go to. Be sure you take the complimentary “Coronary heart of the Home” tour, which affords a behind-the-scenes have a look at the resort, together with a peek at what the deluxe suites seem like. Through the vacation season, the “12 Days of Christmas Countdown” program affords particular every day actions, together with gingerbread home and cookie adorning, craft cocktail lessons, caroling, and, on Christmas Eve, a go to from Santa.

The resort’s web site affords a wide range of packages with particular charges.

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