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Halekulani Gives 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’re feeling such as you’re entering into a special, extra tranquil world. A way of calm pervades the environment as you make your strategy to reception, are escorted to your room, and take within the expanse of ocean that you simply see by 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 website since 1907 when it was referred to as the Hau Tree, a most important constructing surrounded by small bungalows. When writer 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 trade 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 Key’s now the identify of one in all 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 a whole transformation. The bungalows had been gone, although the historic most important 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 format 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 understood for his or her attentive service; “I really feel I’m handled like royalty right here,” a fellow visitor advised me at some point 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 communicate to an worker, it’s common to search out individuals who have labored on the resort for 20, 30, and even 40 years. Consequently, they take distinctive delight of their work, translating right into a superior visitor expertise. “We all know that our visitors may keep wherever on the planet, they usually have chosen to stick with us. We are going to do our greatest to satisfy 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 resulting from erosion, it was front-page information within the state. Arborists managed to avoid wasting the tree, with the remnants appropriately repurposed; you’ll discover a planter made out of 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 longer term — 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 format is supremely stress-free.
  • No resort charges is a nice shock in Hawaii.
  • Do not miss the signature coconut cake — it is a should strive no less than 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 visitors 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 — resembling “From what we can not maintain the celebs are made,” by writer 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 extremely well-liked and reservations are really helpful). There are additionally poolside breakfast choices for early risers, together with the luxurious acai bowl, stuffed with native tropical fruits, and the bakery basket that includes freshly baked croissants and muffins.

In the event you’re a fan of pastries, try the Halekulani Bakery simply throughout the road, which is simply open within the mornings. The “The whole lot Croissant,” with a dollop of creamy cheese within the center, rapidly grew to become a favourite. You can even purchase the resort’s famed coconut cake by the slice. And take into account treating your self to afternoon tea, served on the Veranda of the resort’s most important constructing, Tuesday by Saturday.

At 5 p.m., Home With out a Key’s cocktail seating begins, the patio coming to life with the stunning sounds of a Hawaiian music trio. Remember to catch famend hula dancer Kanoe Miller (a daily on the resort since 1977), who seems most Fridays and Saturdays; her sleek 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, based mostly 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 believe it was supposed to be as a cocktail.” (I solely agree.)

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

Brandon Barre/Courtesy of Halekulani Resort

The cocktail menu at Lewers Lounge displays the subtle 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 file.” Appetizers are additionally out there.

La Mer presents 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. Remember to go away room for dessert, essentially 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 blissful to elucidate why the precise 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

In the course of the day, Halekulani’s pool is the principle middle of exercise. At 82 ft lengthy, it’s a bigger pool than at different Waikiki resorts. On the backside, a formidable mosaic of a Cattleya orchid (the flower used as Halekulani’s emblem) normal 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 really helpful.

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 fret; there are extra expansive seashores only a quick stroll away from both facet of the resort. (The sand in entrance of the “Pink Palace,” the Royal Hawaiian Resort, is exceptionally gentle). Grey’s Seashore is used for the free every day surf demonstrations supplied to visitors, and also you’ll see catamarans touchdown on the seaside all through the day, taking visitors on quick cruises. Excursions will be booked by the concierge. An artwork gallery, health middle with yoga studio, and enterprise middle are additionally out there.

The Spa

Throughout my go to, SpaHalekulani was within the strategy of renovation, although restricted providers had been nonetheless out there, together with massages, facials, and hair and nail providers.

Accessibility and Sustainability

Halekulani has a spread of accessible visitor rooms and suites which can be ADA-compliant. The resort has discontinued using single-use plastic water bottles within the visitor rooms and now presents Aloha Water, packaged in cartons made out of 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 situated in central Waikiki, about 8 miles from Honolulu Worldwide Airport. With its wealth of retailers, eating places, and sights, the neighborhood is extremely walkable; you gained’t want a automotive except you wish to go exterior the world.

Easy methods to Get the Most Worth Out of Your Keep

Halekulani visitors are supplied complimentary admission to a few of Honolulu’s prime 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. Remember to take the complimentary “Coronary heart of the Home” tour, which presents a behind-the-scenes have a look at the resort, together with a peek at what the deluxe suites seem like. In the course of the vacation season, the “12 Days of Christmas Countdown” program presents particular every day actions, together with gingerbread home and cookie adorning, craft cocktail courses, caroling, and, on Christmas Eve, a go to from Santa.

The resort’s web site presents quite a lot of packages with particular charges.

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