Arrival/Check-In: After a great non-stop flight from Newark to Honolulu on United Airlines first class, we swiftly said hello to a friend at baggage claim who was on the same flight and then took a taxi to the Halekulani. At the entrance, its team was ready, willing and able to help take our bags and swiftly set us up for registration, escorting us to our room, No. 1657. I last stayed at the Halekulani years earlier, and I have a lot of fond memories, including the marriage reception for Jim and Aileen Ferguson, and my son Nate who was about 4 years old participating in the Easter egg hunt and winning every event — we had to take four Easter baskets on our flight to Kauai the next day, but they all fit in the overhead.
The Halekulani is a mainstay on the edge of Waikiki, and I have always considered it a haven from all the bustle. You can walk almost anywhere and return for the serenity here.
Guest Quarters: We crossed the grassy lawn to our wing of the property, where the elevator stood next to the famed restaurant Orchids.
Our room had a nice view of Diamond Head and a comfortable lanai to sit and take in the view. As we entered the room, a king-sized bed sat to the right, just past the bathroom. A small desk area to the right of the sliding glass doors came in handy as my command center. A flat-screen TV on a credenza along the left wall, along with a chair, made good use of space. I would have preferred a larger TV, but we really spent little time in the room.
The bathroom seemed a little small by today’s standards but in good shape and complete with a separate shower and tub and a separate room for the commode. Halekulani-branded bath products completed the amenities in the bathroom.
Services/Amenities: You cannot beat the service at the Halekulani, and the staff at the House Without a Key restaurant are dedicated to their guests. Breakfast is served daily in this beautiful and comforting place to start your day. We also enjoyed superb cocktails and appetizers: a cold Sauvignon Blanc and boneless short rib, coconut shrimp and seared fish tacos. It was a treat to spend time listening to traditional Hawai’ian singing and watching graceful hula dancing — the Halekulani has the best!
We also frequented Lewers Lounge after spending the night out in Honolulu. The clubby atmosphere and crafted cocktails are often accompanied by entertainment. One night we enjoyed a great jazz trio at the end of our evening.
During the day we spent time at the pool and the small beach at the edge of the property. The water at Waikiki is warm and the sand soft, some of the best in the world, and this little beach has few swimmers. In the evening we alternately went to the Japanese Restaurant Suntory for sushi (reservation made by the Halekulani concierge) and Tim Ho Wan for dim sum. Both were spectacular. Walking Kalakaua Avenue, we stopped at Na Hoku jewelry store, where we made some new friends and picked up some presents.
◆ Halekulani offers a haven in the center of all the action.
◆ Always the best hula!
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
tel 808 923 2311
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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