Aloha, welcome to beautiful & bustling Waikiki Beach! Waikiki is the most famous beach in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Blessed with stunning views of Diamondhead, the beach draws millions of beachgoers and surfers each year. Honolulu is home to about one million locals. Tourists come from all over the world but the predominate number are Japanese (most of the nice restaurants have Japanese menus). We stayed at the oceanfront Halekulani Hotel. Halekulani translated into Hawaiian is “House Befitting Heaven.” And, befitting its name, this gorgeous hotel won Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best award in 2005. It did not disappoint. We had a balcony overlooking their Lotus Pool as well as the Pacific Ocean and Waikiki Beach. The hotel was spectacular – since it is Japanese owned, it has technology we don’t see in stateside venues. Even our bathroom had a “smart toilet” with a digital bidet system and heated seats. They took great care of the guests – we received champagne and fresh fruit on our arrival and were invited to a manager’s party on the terrace with bottomless Champagne & Sushi.
The restaurants in the resort are impeccable. House Without a Key serves casual fare as well as poolside cuisine and cocktails. La Mer takes French Cuisine to a whole new level. La Mer’s balcony overlooks the Ocean and has an extraordinary sunset view. We took the Maitre D’s recommendation to let the chef prepare a special sampling menu over several hours, paired with French wine recommendations from their Sommelier. It was a feast for the ages!
The Halekulani is adjacent to the Beachwalk. Beachwalk is a high end shopping district lit up at night with an ornate display of tiki torches. The gem of the Beachwalk is Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion. Now a chain that can be found next to the 4 Seasons in downtown Baltimore, the original award winner is in Waikiki. We avoided a two-hour wait by sitting at one of the bars that looks directly into the kitchen. It was a cool vantage point and we got to see how the dishes were made before we ordered them. Their Sushi rolls were spectacular and it was easy to see how they won the 2012 award for Hawaii’s best overall restaurant.
Our favorite adventure on Waikiki was surfing. As many of you probably already know, surfing originated in Hawaii. Cassandra and I decide to take some lessons at Ty Gurney’s surf school. These guys were pros and had us up on the waves in no time. Paddling out with majestic Diamond Head volcano as a backdrop was surreal. The water was warm and the waves were ideal – we weren’t that good but we had a blast!
Waikiki Beach was a fabulous getaway. It had all of the amenities you’d expect from a big city planted on a beautiful Pacific Beach in a sublime climate. Oahu was my favorite of the Hawaiian Islands and Waikiki is definitely the pearl of Honolulu. Aloha!
– Sean Rox