by Kasey Caminiti | December 12, 2019 11:30 am
Rich rainforests, shimmering beaches, and infectious aloha energy have drawn travelers to Hawaii for years. For most newcomers to the island of O’ahu, Waikiki Beach in the city of Honolulu is the first stop: the white sand beach strip acts as the heart of both the surfing and nightlife scenes. Where the historic Waikiki Parc Hotel once stood in the center of the strip is now home to the just-opened Halepuna Waikiki, the sister property to the beloved Halekulani.
The boutique-style hotel houses 288 guest rooms and suites, a rooftop pool and bar, and a restaurant with an open-air kitchen and outdoor terrace. Unlike many beach-side stays, there are no bad rooms at Halepuna; rooms either provide stunning views of the Pacific Ocean’s blue waters or look out over the glimmering lights and towering mountainscapes of Waikiki. Designs nod to the Hawaii of the 1960’s eras: think teak finishes accented by artwork done in partnership with local artists, as part of Halepuna’s public art program. Rooms aside, the hotel has an infinity vitality pool, fully-stocked fitness studio (with daily led classes), reflexology path, and serene rooftop garden. The Drapers would have loved it.
Below, we take a look at the most requested rooms at this new hotel.
What’s the most requested room?
One of our four suites at Halepuna Waikiki–the Kauna’oa Suite; a corner suite on our top floor.
What makes it so special?
The room has spectacular views of both the ocean and the mountains, providing guests with a taste for both sides of the island of O’ahu. The room is separated into two living spaces by a beautiful corridor, truly making it feel like a residential space, also making it perfect for group getaways and celebrations.
What is the rate?
Rates start at $1,000 per night.
What room is your personal favorite?
The Pohuehue Suite, named after the indigenous flower we chose to represent Halepuna. The word Pohuehue translates to Beach Morning Glory.
Any fun facts about the hotel or rooms?
I love the story of how we named two of our suites, Kauna’oa and Pohuehue. These two suites are named after the Hawaiian legend of a couple bearing the same names. One night, Pohuehue refused to take Kauna’oa to a hula ho’ike (hula show) to see her friend perform. Pohuehue was angry, so he got into his canoe and began to paddle as far as he could out to sea. Before too long, he reached the island of Lana’i, leaving Kauna’oa very sad and believed he had forgotten about her. One night Pohuehue had a dream that of Kauna’oa swimming at their favorite beach at Kahana Bay, where they met. The next morning, Pohuehue walked toward a grove of hau (a lowland tree with softwood; native relative of Hibiscus) trees. He began to pick the bright yellow flowers. He gently tossed each flower one by one onto the waves and watched as they began to drift toward O’ahu. The flowers floated directly to Kahana Bay, where Kauna’oa was swimming. She felt a hau blossom gently brush against her cheek. As she picked each flower floating toward her, she thought of Pohuehue. Whenever they went to the beach, he would give her a hau flower. Then calling her ‘aumakua (family god; ancestral guardian) for guidance, she walked along the path of hau flowers until she reached Lana’i and she reached the beach just as Pohuehue was leaving in his canoe. Kauna’oa and Pohuehue’s love for each other was eternal. Today you can find the kauna’oa (a native dodder; parasitic on other plants) and the pohuehue (beach morning glory) wrapped around each other along many island beaches. At Halepuna, the two suites are located directly next to each other to represent this eternal bond.
Can you share a bit about the dining experiences on property?
Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant marks the Halekulani branded dining outlet and a unique offering for O’ahu. There is a three-meal restaurant featuring signature dishes from our Chef de Cuisine Aaron Furuto, a local chef who takes pride in using indigenous ingredients from around the state of Hawai’i. Adjacent is the bakery, led by Halekulani’s Executive Pastry Chef, Mark Freischmidt, will lead the bakery operation, working with Head Baker, Tatsuhiro Kaneshiro, from the acclaimed Imperial Hotel Tokyo, who brings the classic art of bread making with him. The bakery features a range of freshly-baked artisan breads, pastries, cakes, and coffees. A chocolate-viewing kitchen allows guests to observe the delicacies being made daily, including Halekulani’s signature dragees, the classic chocolate macadamia nut pearls.
What amenities can the guests expect?
Halepuna guests are treated to a wide offering of amenities, both on and off the property. Those looking to enjoy the beach can borrow a pre-packed beach bag, complete with insulated cooler, towels and waters, to walk just 90 steps from our door to the iconic Waikiki Beach. In addition to poolside treatments offered at the eighth-floor Vitality Pool, Halepuna Waikiki guests will have access to special offerings, such as the custom Morning Glory Facial, named after the hotel’s signature flower, at SpaHalekulani located at the sister hotel, Halekulani. For suite guests, in-room SpaHalekulani treatments such as the JetLag Recovery Scalp and foot treatment, Acupuncture, and Zen Shiatsu pressure point massage can be arranged. Guests of Halepuna also have signing privileges at our sister property, Halekulani. Our exclusive Halepuna Access offering allows guests to visit The Honolulu Museum of Art and Bishop Museum for free by showing their room key.
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