Waikiki’s Halepuna and Halekulani are Two of Honolulu’s Can’t Miss PropertiesAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
If you haven’t paid a visit to Hawaii’s Honolulu recently, you might be surprised to find the bustling energy of the city’s storied Waikiki neighborhood is back in a major way. Following the stressful toll the last two years took on the hospitality industry, Oahu’s premiere tourist destination is once again buzzing and even feels rejuvenated after so much uncharacteristic downtime. While Waikiki is home to many world class resorts and hotels, visitors would be hard pressed to find two with more charm than the sister properties of Halekulani and Halepuna.
Opened in 1984, Halekulani temporarily closed in April 2020 to undergo a major renovation touching nearly every detail of the flagship property. The result? A stunning facelift to the 453 rooms, three restaurants, three cocktail lounges, and more. The guest accommodations received a thoughtful redesign that plays off the property’s signature “seven shades of white” aesthetic philosophy, and new warm, textured elements like wooden panels and cabinetry enhance the overarching theme of nature.
Blending subtle influences of European, Hawaiian, and Asian cultures, the end result preserves Halekulani’s unique architecture and exterior (including the historic main building) while new life has been bestowed upon the iconic gatehouse and porte-cochere.
House Without A Key, arguably Halekulani’s most noteworthy venue and evening attraction (don’t miss the live Hawaiian entertainment, hula performances, and, of course, Mai Tais), has been totally transformed to include a new shaded outdoor bar, a state-of-the-art exhibition-style glass kitchen, and contemporary furnishings. The redesigned entry also offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Diamond Head, and Halekulani’s historic Kiawe tree.
Halekulani’s guest rooms range from 519 to 720 square feet, and the luxurious amenities range from a 50-inch flat panel HD television with wired and wireless connectivity to a TOTO washlet.
While there are plenty of places to wine, dine, (and again, Mai Tai), Halekulani’s award-winning restaurant La Mer is a must. Featuring Neoclassic French cuisine and oceanfront views, the destination is Hawaii’s longest-running AAA Five Diamond restaurant, since 1990, and the only restaurant in Hawaii to be awarded a Five-Star designation by Forbes Travel Guide.
For a slightly less formal but equally delicious dining option, try Orchids, Halekulani’s oceanside indoor/outdoor restaurant serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. A few dishes guests shouldn’t pass up include the Risotto ai Funghi and Gamberoni Cappesante (and the wine selection is to-die-for).
While one could easily spend an extended stay solely taking in all the delights Halekulani has to offer, a well-rounded Waikiki experience should include a slightly more intimate, private escape. Meet Halepuna, Halekulani’s sister property located just across the street.
With 284 rooms and four suites, a stunning eighth floor pool deck and bar, and more, Halepuna is Waikiki’s answer to a tranquil, elevated getaway that’s still conveniently situated in the heart of the action. Originally opened in 2019 and officially reopened as of last summer, Halepuna features a design-forward approach to hospitality, with a lobby featuring custom light fixtures, teak finishes, vaulted ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Halepuna also features a public art program highlighting contemporary art and showcases the works of selected artists. The eye-catching works represent artists influenced by the natural surroundings who have captured the heart of Hawaii in their work.
Halepuna’s serene ambiance is reflected in all corners of the property, from the outdoor garden sanctuary (complete with a reflexology path) to the vitality pool and sun deck located on the eighth floor. For guests who do prefer to cozy up in their rooms, they’ll be pleased to find the contemporary décor features tonal layers of warm whites and soft blues, ombre accent walls, rich upholstery, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light and offer breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean. The ensuite bathrooms also include glass-enclosed showers and deep-soaking bathtubs, and more.
Located just a few paces from one another, Halekulani and Halepuna provide all the excitement, indulgence, peace, and bliss one would hope to find on a well-deserved Hawaiian retreat. Make time to stay at both properties and you’ll leave the island with the pure Aloha energy you’ve been craving.
Halekulani is located at 2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu, HI 96815 and Halepuna is located at 2233 Helumoa Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815. For more information and to make reservations, visit halekulani.com and halepuna.com.