The most enviable address in Waikiki, the beachfront Halekulani, a member of the AFAR Collection, is all about restrained elegance and pitch-perfect service. It feels more like a Japanese luxury hotel than a Hawaiian resort, which is exactly the point. The design for the latest iteration (the hotel dates back a century, though it was entirely rebuilt in the 1980s) was inspired by the Yamato Hotel, a glamour spot in 1940s Manchuria. That explains the room decor—fifty shades of white and plantation shutters framing the turquoise sea. The beach itself is small and usually mobbed, but the pool is a dream—a giant oval big enough for laps, and quiet enough (few kids here) for a long doze under your chaise’s umbrella. The grassy courtyards and seaside restaurants are just as improbably serene; some might say stuffy, but for others, the reliably hushed atmosphere is a welcome tonic to the hubbub of Waikiki, just outside the Halekulani’s marbled entrance.
By Deborah Dunn, AFAR Contributor
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Oasis by the Sea Stay
Meaning “house befitting heaven” in the Hawaiian language, Halekulani permits guests to indulge in an exclusive and luxurious paradise. With a long legacy in Waikiki, the hotel’s accomplished staff will expertly extend the spirit of aloha to you by naturally attending to every desire. The amenities the hotel offers include a hospitality room for early arrivals, a picturesque pool with a view of Diamond Head crater, and distinctive Hawaiian and Polynesian spa treatments. Nearly all rooms have views of the Pacific. Spacious and impeccably appointed suites open to the sea with floor-to-ceiling doors and windows that showcase Hawaii’s natural beauty. Generous lanais, or patios, let you enjoy the tropical trade winds. Waikiki is bursting with activities, restaurants, and shopping opportunities, but with boutiques and restaurants on site at Halekulani, you will be tempted to never leave the resort's grounds.
The Halekulani occupies prime real estate along Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach, yet feels a world away thanks to its serene decor, refined service, and uninterrupted views of the ocean, skyline, and Diamond Head. It’s a one-stop-shop for weddings, with a notable spa for bridal party primping; a breezy restaurant popular for farewell brunches; and even an in-house florist and pastry shop. Ceremonies take place in the Garden Courtyard or on the oceanside Kawehewehe Lawn, while elegant ballrooms and a glass-enclosed terrace—decorated with island-fresh flowers, of course—are top reception locations. On the Big Island, the 252-room Mauna Kea resort founded by Laurance S. Rockefeller woos guests with an idyllic setting on white-sand Kauna'oa Beach. Wedding guests can take a swing at the 11-court tennis club or the Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course; learn about Hawaiian culture in a lei making or hula class; and browse the 1,600 piece-strong collection of Pacific and Asia art gathered by Rockefeller. The golf course's third tee—set high on an ancient lava bluff—is the most popular ceremony spot, followed by a choice of lawns, gardens, and terraces with equally memorable views.
Sponsored by Booking.com
Experience a Tranquil Suite Escape
A luxurious home away from home awaits you in the Premier Suites at Halekulani. Spacious interiors, impeccable service, unrivaled views, and freedom from the busy world outside mean you will love throwing open the doors to your lanai (patio) to let the salty sweet air inside. The three suites, each with distinct style and expansive rooms, enable you to take in the best of Waikiki and Diamond Head while overlooking the beach and Pacific Ocean beyond. Each suite caters to your every need by employing a personal butler to attend to your desires. This level of service enables Halekulani to surpass their competition on Oahu while providing you an exclusive oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki.
Globally Exceptional Hotel
An esteemed and award-winning hotel, the Halekulani will treat guests to a perfect stay in Honolulu. Located just off the Waikiki strip, the quieter atmosphere allows guests to soak up the Island peacefully with easy access to the attractions that Waikiki offers. With five luxury dining options including La Mer, Orchids, and House Without a Key, guests can stay on the property for an entire stay.
Huge Rooms with Even Bigger Views on Oahu
A member of the AFAR Collection, the Halekulani has one-thousand-square-foot Diamond Head suites, complete with lanais and Waikiki Beach views. From $520; Diamond Head suites from $2,200. This appeared in the November/December 2014 issue.
By Jen Murphy
A View of Aloha from Your Room
Large glass doors beg to be opened to let in the favorable Hawaiian temperatures and romantic view. Showcasing iconic scenery and the evening glow of Waikiki, my favorite Halekulani rooms and suites face the Diamond Head crater. Bright, “seven shades of white,” interiors fill the room with refreshing natural light and an aura of understated elegance that will refresh and relax your mind and body. Rooms are well appointed with elegant furniture and immaculate amenities. Add room service for a pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine and your guestroom turns into the perfect place to watch the colors in the sky turn down as the sun melts over the Pacific Ocean.
Rhythm of Evening at Halekulani
At sunset, the atmosphere at Halekulani is magical: subdued lights illuminate the landscape around the hotel, the sound of surf sets the rhythm for the night, and the dipping sun adds the colors of romance to the evening ambiance. There are plenty of outstanding places to watch the a sun set on Oahu but settling in at House Without a Key and savoring every bite of the signature coconut cake will provide vivid island memories — until the next evening's spectacular show!
Idyllic Sunday Mornings
If a slow Sunday morning suits your pace of life, Orchids restaurant at Halekulani is a perfect destination. With a delectable Sunday Bunch served from 9am to 2:30pm, I suggest taking an outdoor table and casually enjoy the beautiful Waikiki day no matter what time you emerge from your room. Whether you seek the brunch or a picturesque location for dinner, you will be delighted with the attentive service and locally influenced cuisine at Orchids. The Halekulani has four other dining options including La Mer, L’Aperitif Cocktail Bar, Lewers Lounge, and my favorite, House Without a Key where live music and a seaside locale provide a perfect Hawaiian ambiance next to an old Kaiwe tree.
Cerulean Pool Perfection
Every time I see the cerulean blue pool at Halekulani, I imagine letting all my cares sink while I float under the moonlight. The swimming pool, with it curved edges and a mosaic on its bottom of the hotel’s iconic orchid artfully created with 1.2 million South African glass tiles, perfectly compliments the serene environment. Sitting with a mai tai on one of the meticulously arranged beach chairs or dipping your toes in the cool water offers an escape from the busy sidewalks of Waikiki as you relax into the gentle spirit of aloha.
Best Chi Chi in Honululu
Hawaiian music at sunset on the terrace at Halekulani's House Without a Key. Add the Island's perfect Chi Chi.
By Stacy Small
2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA