Among the crowd of Waikiki’s towering properties, the low-rise, century-old Halekulani Hotel retains a stately, homestead feel. At the self-dubbed “House Befitting Heaven”, there are more than a few glimpses of paradise, namely an exceptional spa and beautiful beach views. Read on for the full review.
While there have since been several additions to the bones of the original cottage, the atmosphere of a small, elegant estate lingers. Thanks to peeps of ocean through plantation-style shutters, warm, homey design touches and a location that shields its occupants from throngs of busy beachgoers, you’ll feel a million miles from crowds (even if you’re just minutes from the heart of Honolulu).
Where is Halekulani Hotel?
Halekulani sits on the northern end of Waikiki Beach, just down from Fort DeRussy Beach Park. In light traffic, it’s about 20 minutes drive south from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
What’s near Halekulani Hotel?
Wedged between the shores of Waikiki and Kahanamoku beaches, it’s the hotel’s proximity to the waterfront (and distance from Waikiki’s crowds) that contributes to Halekulani’s tranquil atmosphere. The bustling boulevard of Kalākaua Avenue, with its cluster of designer and big-name brand boutiques, is just a few minutes away on foot.
The soothing colours of ocean blues and honey beiges evoke a breezy, beachside glamour into the suites and guestrooms. Rooms come standard with deep soaking tubs in the marble vanity bathrooms, balconies with ocean or courtyard views, turndown services, Nespresso machines and free wi-fi. All this without — here’s the best bit — resort fees, a standard charge Hawaiian resorts add on top of room rates, generally payable upon checkout.
Suites have the added benefits of larger balconies, an extra bathroom and living spaces with plump lounges for post-swim lie-downs.
Each of the decidedly grander Premier Suites has its own aesthetic. In the Orchid Suite, a comfy residence complete with cold plunge tub and chromatherapy soaking pool, the hotel’s landscaped gardens bring the ocean views to life in what seems like private tropical surrounds. A complimentary breakfast is served on the terrace each morning.
Restaurants and bars
Let your mood lead when choosing a spot to snack. From the open-air Orchids restaurant, where Mediterranean flavours pair perfectly with local produce (Keahole lobster tagliatelle), to the relaxed Earl’s pool bar, where the cocktails are as fresh as the breeze, there’s plenty for the tastebuds to explore. Our pick? La Mer, a locally lauded eatery that applies the precise techniques of French-style cuisine to ingredients as varied as sea asparagus, cuttlefish and crab. The unassuming House Without A Key, a casual spot shaded by an 130-year-old kiawe tree that features nightly hula dancing, is another on-site gem.
Travel for work
The Hospitality Suite houses the business centre with work stations and printing capabilities as well as luggage storage, showers, a comfy lounge area and some refreshments, which is a haven for those arriving early or departing late.
You can also work comfortably from your room, as wi-fi is available throughout the property and all rooms have a small dining space as well as tight workspaces with a lamp for digital nomads.
Spa, gym and pool
The hotel’s pool, tiled with a huge mosaic Cattleya orchid, is one spot to sink into bliss. The ocean is just steps beyond the pool and SpaHalekulani, a tranquil space that takes a holistic approach to wellness, offers everything from tai chi to a lomi lomi warm stone massage.
The open windows of the hotel’s fitness studio peer out onto palm fronds, creating a sense of calm.
SpaHalekulani was the state’s first spa to be part of the Green Circle Salon initiative, which reuses, repurposes and recycles all of its waste. The hotel sponsors reforestation of local forests.
In addition to an accessible public entrance and common spaces (the pool is equipped with an attended pool hoist), the hotel also has a number of accessible rooms that include the standard lowered light switches and roll-in showers.
What you need to know
The kids club is seasonal, opening only during busier seasons of summer and Christmas. As such, confirming availability before booking is essential.
Best for: Privacy
Design: Seaside chic
Number of rooms: 453 rooms and suites
Rates: From USD$635
Parking: Self-parking available (daily fees apply)
Address: 2199 Kālia Road, Honolulu
Phone: +1 808-923-2311
Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 when you book your next stay at qantas.com/hotels