Swaying palms, brilliant sunsets, colorful flowers, golden beaches, waterfalls and a big, bright tropical moon. It’s Hawaii where all those romantic images come to real life! Need we say more?
Home Away from Home
Being pampered is part of being romanced, and the Halekulani in Waikiki has set the bar high in Hawaii. Consider the Vera Wang Suite, an elegant, 2,135-square-foot retreat designed by the renowned fashion and jewelry designer herself. It comes with exclusive use of a private pool cabana and butler service. Other items of note: La Mer, where tuxedo-clad servers present gourmet French cuisine, is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Hawaii.
Located in Kahala, Oahu’s most prestigious residential area, the AAA Five Diamond Kahala Hotel & Resort also entices lovers. Engage in an interactive session with the hotel’s resident bottlenose dolphins, and reserve the couple suite at the spa suites so you and your sweetheart can enjoy treatments at the same time (each spa suite is a private space that includes a changing area, shower, infinity-edge bath and an outside relaxing area).
The Waikiki Joy is a few blocks from the beach, but couples may not mind this at all. In addition to being in a pretty, intimate setting, each of this hotel’s 94 rooms has a Jacuzzi bathtub and top-of-the-line Bose stereo system. There’s a karaoke studio on site so you can serenade your Romeo or Juliet till the wee hours of the morning.
Day One: Beach Hop
You can’t vacation in Honolulu without spending time at the beach, so why not make a whole day of it? Begin with breakfast in Waikiki. Either take coffee and pastries to your favorite sun-warmed strand of sand or settle at a prime table at the oceanfront Hau Tree Lanai, Surf Lanai Restaurant, Duke’s Waikiki or Shore Bird.
After breakfast, take a leisurely drive to Waimanalo Beach Park. Swim, sun, snorkel and then share a picnic lunch. The massive mixed plate from Keneke’s can easily feed both of you; afterward, go back to Keneke’s and treat yourselves to rainbow shave ices with ice cream. From Waimanalo, cruise to Kailua Beach. Rent a kayak or sailboard from Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks and spend a few hours playing in the waves before savoring the ocean view and a take-out supper from Buzz’s Original Steak House across the street.
Day Two: A Day for Indulgences
Wake up late to brunch in bed — fresh fruit; Belgian waffles with macadamia nuts, whipped cream and plenty of coconut syrup; three-egg omelets stuffed with the works; steak and hash browns — whatever your hearts desire. From there, head for the spa … both of you! Guys, this isn’t sissy stuff. Even the most macho of you won’t pooh-pooh the magic of a massage once you’ve had one. All the big hotels in Waikiki offer world-class spa facilities and treatments.
For instance, at Mandara Spa at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, the decadent Exploration in Chocolate begins with a side-by-side massage in a deluxe twin spa suite (you’ll each have your own therapist). After the massage, the therapists apply a body scrub made of sugar, macadamia nuts, macadamia nut oil and unsweeted dark chocolate that’s good enough to eat. You’ll then be left alone for over an hour to play with the remaining chocolate macadamia nut scrub. Listen to music, soak in the private Jacuzzi tub on the lanai, sip tea — it’s the ultimate quiet time a deux.
Return to your hotel room for a nap (or not), and then you’ll be ready for a five-star dinner cruise aboard the Star of Honolulu. It’s an experience you’ll find is aptly named; the service, food and view are all top-notch.
Day Three: Live the Magic
You’re on a romantic getaway in Hawaii, so make the most of it. Wear a fresh flower lei all day — both of you! The vendors in Chinatown have the best selections and prices, and you’ll also love browsing together in shops that are filled with exotic wares, from gorgeous silk cheongsams to jade and cloisonne jewelry to strange herbal concoctions said to cure everything from colds to constipation. Wandering through the open markets is a real adventure; catching your eye are rows of fresh fish on ice, brightly colored produce, and piping hot shoyu chicken and chunks of char siu.
Next, board TheBus to Ala Moana Center where you can part for an hour to select a made-in-Hawaii gift for your sweetheart (check out Martin & MacArthur, Hawaiian Quilt Collection, The Islands’ Best and Hilo Hattie). Meet at Makai Market where you can open your special surprise while you nibble on a treat — will it be a malasada (Portuguese doughnut), muffin, haupia (coconut pudding), sweet rice cake, butter mochi, gin doi (Chinese doughnut) or fresh baked chocolate chip cookie? Then head back to Waikiki.
By now, it’ll be late afternoon — the perfect time for a stroll on the beach. Kick off your shoes, hold hands and as the sun sets, kiss every time you come to a palm tree. Be ready: They’re everywhere!
–written by Cheryl Tsutsumi