LuxeGetaways Magazine – Fall 2016 | The Islands of Hawai’i form a graceful arching archipelago of the eight main Hawaiian Islands of Hawai’i, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, O’ahu, Kaua’i, and Ni’ihau tethered to what is called the Hawaiian Ridge. Each island differs in age and topography, and each with its own romantic charm.
During the early 1900’s, the world was entranced by the exotic nature of Hawai’i after listening to popular music of that period, and subsequently tourism landed in Hawai’i. Imagine your first view of the Pink Palace (The Royal Hawaiian Hotel), as you sailed by Waikiki aboard your Matson steamer to “discover“ the islands. Today, visitors arrive by the millions in search of the culture and beauty that was Hawai’i. Thoughtful travelers, especially those seeking a romantic interlude together no longer seek the “wicky-wacky-Waikiki” of the popular songs in the 1920’s, Magnum, P.I.’s red Ferrari 308, or even Don Ho’s bubbles. Instead, they are looking for a truly authentic stay, and a place to relax into the rhythm of the islands and discover romance with their partner. Wander with us to several of these special places on O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i, Lana’i and Hawai’i. These are each treasured destinations, so take your time to get to know each of them, and to allow Hawai’i into your heart. www.gohawaii.com
O’ahu is a bustling metropolis. So where is the romance? O’ahu has so much to offer by way of the culture, history, museums, natural beauty and the arts; and it should be considered. No one can take the breathtaking sights from the Pali Highway for granted while taking-in the panoramic view of Kane’ohe and Kailua, regardless of how often they may have driven this road.
Splurge on O’ahu: Hide Away At The Halekulani
Our favorite O’ahu stay is right on Waikiki beach. The venerable Halekulani has a slower rhythm than the cacophony of Waikiki’s nearby Kalakaua Avenue. Here, service is meticulous, and the views of Diamond Head are incomparable. Be sure not to miss this local favorite: a sunset cocktail at the “House Without a Key” while listening to Hawaiian music and watching a lovely hula dancer tell you a story with her graceful hands. Be sure to savor these moments with your partners, and share a kiss as the sun drops into the ocean.
Thrifty on O’ahu: Surfer’s Paradise Value At Turtle Bay Resort
Many best know Oahu’s North Shore for surfing contests and huge winter surf. Turtle Bay Resort is right in the middle of all the action, while also offering golf, horseback riding, great restaurants, a killer spa and various types of lodging. You can book a hotel room, or an Ocean Villa directly on the ocean. But our favorite for a true North Shore Surf romance is one of the Hawaiian-style Beach Cottages. You will love it!
Brown sugar beaches, the Haleakala Crater and incredible golf make Maui a true paradise. However, our pick for the ultimate “lovecation” is far away from the rest of the island. In fact, it might be said that you travel back in time to get to discover this destination on Maui.
Splurge on Maui: Get Away From It All At Travaasa Hana
To reach the verdant “Heavenly Hana” you have to drive 52 miles, which consists of 600 curves in the road and 54 narrow bridges to cross. But oh baby is it worth the trip! Going to Hana is like traveling back in time no less than a hundred years. At the Travaasa Hana, they understand what you are looking for in a getaway; and they have re-imagined the worker’s cottages of the Maui sugar plantations, but of course in a grand way. Relax on your lanai under the coconut palms while delighting in the unobstructed views of the ocean, and catching a glimpse at Hawai’i as it once was. Maybe you will want to hike a little through the tropical rain forest; or swim in the Seven Sacred Pools; or even learn to throw a fishing net Hawaiian style. Regardless of what you decide, the cultural offerings and laid-back luxury will delight the true romantic. Do not worry about having to leave for meals since the restaurant is perfection.
Thrifty on Maui: Island’s Best Value, Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Ka’anapali is a 3-mile stretch of beach lined by hotels and condos, and then wrapped in 36 holes of golf. There are so many terrific restaurants, casual oceanfront tables, and hidden spots for a romantic sunset drink and pupu (nibbles) that you will have to try one for every meal. Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas occupies a huge property in the Ka’anapali Beach Resort. It is officially a vacation club property, but you can stay there without joining, or getting into any long commitments. They offer a lot. Every room or villa has a fully equipped kitchen, but with so many options, you will not be restricted to your accommodations. You can barbecue near the beach with everything provided by the store on property, or hire a private chef to cook for you while you sit back with a cocktail in your hand. You only have to light the candles.
Kaua’i and romance are intertwined. Elvis filmed Blue Hawaii here. The “Bali Ha’i” peaks of Hanalei starred in the movie South Pacific. From green and lush areas; to dry and desolate landscapes; or the striking Nā Pali coast and lovely beaches, every part of this beautiful island has a different look and feel.
Splurge on Kaua’i: Kickin’ It At Kukui’ula
Kukui’ula is a resort community on Kaua’i’s south side offering property to build your very own vacation house. But most people do not realize that you can actually book a stay here at an island-style cottage, bungalow or villa. For romance, it is hard to resist your exclusive one- or two-bedroom luxury cottage that is surrounded by a grassy lawn and tropical flowers. At night on your lanai, breathe in the balmy air and watch the stars come out between the coco palms.
Thrifty on Kaua’i: Sweet Value For Waimea Plantation Cottages
An entire plantation village of restored sugar plantation workers’ cottages awaits you just outside Waimea, fronting a black sand beach. At Waimea Plantation Cottages, these simple-looking cottages dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s open to reveal beautiful period furnishings (not what you would find in the worker’s homes, but perhaps the plantation manager’s home), and all the amenities you could desire. Come for the peace and quiet. This place will slow you down, and allow you to feel the real rhythm of Hawai’i.
Pineapples once covered Lana’i. Most who have lived here in the last one hundred years have worked on the plantation. Still a small community, there is a sense of being very self-reliant. It is a pretty little island with an incredible heart, and a true getaway-from-it-all place to spend time with someone you love. A billionaire who has two luxury hotels, and continues to keep the island undeveloped, owns much of Lana’i.
Splurge on Lana’i: Private Island Ambience Pervades at the Four Seasons
The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i has completed an extensive renovation, and has recently reopened. What sets this hotel apart is the secluded beachfront location with nary another hotel in sight, the over-the-top luxurious renovations, and the one-of-a-kind experiences. It does not hurt that Chef Nobu has a restaurant here, or that one of the best spas in Hawai’i is here either. And who wants to bother with a room key in your swim shorts? Here, you wear a bracelet that provides access to your room. Prepare to be pampered every step of the way.
Thrifty on Lana’i: Find Funky Fun Value At Hotel Lana’i
This little gem is not on the beach, nor does it have resort amenities. What is does have, however, is an ambience of old Hawai’i that is now sadly vanishing on most islands. Plantation owner James Dole, who wanted a hotel for his executives, built Hotel Lana’i in the 1920’s. Here you will find board and batten walls typical of the time, Hawaiian quilts on the beds, local art on the walls, and the great little restaurant called Lana’i City Grille here is simply a bonus.
5. Big Island
If you have visited the Big Island of Hawai’i, you know how varied the terrain is around every corner. From the mist and waterfalls of Hilo you can view a volcano spewing fire; ride a horse through green cow grass waving in the wind; and drive on a road along the ocean next to stark black lava. Big Island is the most geographically diverse in the island chain.
Splurge on the Big Island: Cannot Beat The Mauna Kea’s Beach
The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel sits above the best beach on Hawai’i; the sandy crescent-shaped Hapuna Beach at Kauna’oa Bay is perfect for walking hand in hand. Originally built by Laurance Rockefeller to house an art collection, the hotel is sited so that the first thing you see as you walk through the doors is a magnetic view to the ocean that is framed by the open lobby. Oceanfront rooms are tastefully decorated with large lanais for hanging out and enjoying the views. Baths in the suites are also very sexy, again with ocean views and bathtubs big enough for two. You will see the magic of Mauna Kea’s Beach soon enough.
Thrifty on the Big Island: Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Nearby Value
We did not have to go far. Next door to the Mauna Kea is the luxury deal. Reserve an oceanfront room here, and you will still have one of the most romantic views in the world. Guests at Hapuna Beach Hotel may also dine at the Mauna Kea and sign it to their room. Go early and watch the Manta Rays swirling at the point, and then dine under the stars overlooking the beach at the Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar.
Although many choose to island hop (holoholo), for a romantic stay, it is often best to select only one island for your trip. You will find much to do on each island, but remember that you and your loved one are visiting paradise so that you can truly connect with each other. Mahalo!
Hawaiian Tourism: www.gohawaii.com