I originally wrote this for For the Bride Magazine, an exceptional publication spearheaded by a top editor, Pat Canole, who just happens to be a friend, too. Anyhow I thought if any of you are planning a honeymoon you might enjoy checking it out….
Honeymooning In Hawaii Doesn’t Get Much Better
When you care enough to choose the very best….
Lovers and Hawaii fit together hand-in-hand. Embraced by beautiful beaches, verdant mountains, fragrant flowers, gold and pink sunsets, crimson dusks, delicious dining, and delightful diversions, honeymooning in this spirited, over-the-top romantic archipelago is all you dreamed of and more. Especially when you know where to find the best of everything the Islands have to offer:
Best Beaches—The sugar coated sands of Kailua on the eastern shore of Oahu. “Airport” (which the locals named to protect their secret), Maui’s top swimming-snorkeling-sunning beach, snuggled along a sandy quarter-mile strip next to Kaanapali Resort. Lanai’s Hulopoe Beach where you can lose yourselves in a tranquil cove while watching pods of dolphins play in the surf. Any one of the contiguous tiny beaches on Kauai’s sunny southern shore at Poipu-Baby-Brenneke where gentle waves and soft sand sedate the senses. Hapuna Beach at the Hapuna Prince Hotel with its soft sands and crystal clear waters. Hamoa Beach at Hana Maui, “the most perfect crescent beach” according to author James Michener—reachable by a breathtakingly beautiful 2-½ hour drive to Hana Maui.
Most Romantic Dining— Snuggled up in a thatch-roofed hut perched over a lush lagoon lush with colorful fish at Tidepools Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. The yummy Hawaiian seafood menu is as magical as the setting. Add a bottle of wine and bubbly and that’s amore. (www.grandhyattkauai.com), 808-742-1234, 800-55-HYATT).
A romantic repast lovingly created by ace Island chef Gerard Reversade, at Gerard’s in the charming turn-of-the-century Plantation Inn in Maui. Choose a cozy table inside the intimate dimly lit dining room or outside under starry skies on an adorable patio set with white wicker tables and chairs. Your taste buds will tingle with every bite of dishes like Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms in a puff pastry, roast pork, filet mignon or fresh Island fish prepared to perfection and ooh la la, a chocolate mousse filled with profiteroles. 174 LaHainaluna Rd., LaHaina, Maui. 877-661-8939, (www.gerardsmaui.com).
Dreamlike fantasy feasts served at a Kauai beach of your choice catered by Heavenly Creations (www.havenlycreations.org, 877-828-1700). You’ll feel like you just stepped of the set of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous while your personal attendant pours the wine, and serves an aphrodisiacal spread like pineapple shrimp kabobs, grilled fish or chicken with Macadamia nut sauce, filet mignon, Macadamia nut baked Brie, chocolate decadence and other savory dishes.
Best Snorkeling—Head over to Black Rock at the end of Kaanapali Beach where colorful tropical fish swim straight up to your mask and nibble bread from your hands. On Maui go to Laperouse Bay; on the Big Island nothing beats Mauna Kea and Hapuna beaches’ crystal clear, lava-encrusted waters. Waikiki’s best snorkeling spot, San Souci Beach, across from Kapiolani Park, also known as “dig me” beach for the bikini-clad eye candy is also favored for the clear water and great view of nearby Diamond Head.
Best Shopping–Shop ‘til you drop at Ala Moana, Oahu’s prettiest and most illustrious mall. You have a choice of 200 shops and pricey boutiques like Chanel, Juicy Couture, Dkny, Escada etc., along with plenty of places to fuel up with everything from sushi to hot dogs. (ww.alamona.com). Pound the pavement along Maui’s famous Front Street. The place to go for funky stuff and souvenirs, this century-old street teems with adorable boutiques, jewelry shops, art galleries and souvenir shops (www.visitlahaina.com). For higher priced goods browse (that may be all you can do at those prices) The Shops at Wailea (Fendi, Gucci et al). But there’s also a Gap and Banana Republic and even an ABC Store for tighter budgets. (www.shopsatwailea.com).
Best Mai Tai—Enjoy Hawaii’s national cocktail under a towering Kiawe tree at the Halekulani Hotel’s enchanting House Without a Key seaside terrace fanned by balmy breezes and entertained by gentle hula dancers swaying to the rhythms of live musicians. The murderous Mai Tai is so potent you’re guaranteed to see that green flash as the sun hits the sea. Just one of these potent potables is guaranteed to motivate your mojos. To try it at home mix 1/3 Orgeat syrup; 1/3 orange Curacao; ½ rock candy syrup; ¾ Amber rum, ¾ dark rum; 1 ¼ lemon juice, ½ oz of lemon heart and ½ oz of Bacardi 151 (float). (www.Halekulani.com), (808-923-2311).
Best Spas – Captivating, cozy, sensuously swank, the honeymoon-friendly, outrageously romantic Honua Spa at the Hotel Hana-Maui raises the bar for discerning couples who prefer solitude and personalized service. Tucked away in a lush, tropical paradise at the end of Hana Highway on the eastern coast of Maui the stylized sanctuary offers native treatments using spiritual local plants, minerals and waters that arouse the senses to new heights. (www.hotelhanamaui.com), 808-270-5290 or (email:email@example.com).
Bliss out at the knock down gorgeous Spa at Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island with a romantic side-by-side Lomilomi massage in an open air thatched roof hut. (www.fourseasons.com/hualalai.com), (888-340-5662). Or at the Four Seasons’ fab facility in Maui with rapturous, mood-enhancement Hawaiiana treatments like a Wai Aulia—a floating massage performed on a cocoon bed, guaranteed to motivate your mojos. (http://www.fourseasons.com/maui), 808-874-8000 or 800-332-3442.
The Spa Moana at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort And Spa, another pamper pleaser indulges couples with opulent body treatments that combine coffee, sugar, honey, seaweed, lavender, macadamia and kukui nut oils. Massage lessons are available in case you’d like to do each other. http://www.Maui.hyatt.com (808-661-1234, ext. 4500; (800-55-HYATT).
Best Pool—Aesthetically attractive, the oval-shaped Ryo Urano-designed mosaic pool at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki–the most romantic man made swimming hole in the Islands with its colorful Hawaiian orchid, comprised of more than a million tiny tiles, painted on the bottom. The ocean side pool is so inviting that couples often spend countless hours just sitting on the side of the pool, arms tightly wrapped around each other or holding each other in the water. (www.halekulani.com)
Best Culinary Treat— Shave Ice rules as the statewide delicacy. And get this, one of the best can be found at W&F Washerette in Kahului, Maui (125 S. Wakea Avenue, 808- 877-0353). Order the pineapple, cherry or rainbow spiced with a scoop of Azuki beans and/or ice cream on the bottom of the cone. Yummy. Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore is another local favorite serving scrumptious flavors such as mango, papaya and lemonade.
Best Rooms with a View—Any ocean front room or suite at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, especially those on the private Club Floor–where on a clear day you can catch glimpses of the uninhabited island of Kahoolawe, the lush West Maui mountain range curved gracefully out into the sea and even ti8ny Molokini, Molokai and Lanai. (808-874-8000 or 800-332-3442, http://www.fourseasons.com/maui).
Waterfront rooms at pretty Hapuna Prince with spectacular views of the Big Island’s rugged Kohala coastline and the sea. (800-882-6060) All beachfront accommodations at the Halekulani Hotel where visions of Diamond Head dancing off the blue Pacific are so magical you’ll never want to leave your lanai. (800-367-2343, http://www.halekulani.com).
Entertainment— Feel the fireworks for real at an Aloha Friday’s King Jubilee celebration at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Showtime begins at sunset with a Village Guard Precision Rifle Drill followed by a poolside jubilee show and after an hour or so fabulous fireworks illuminate the star-filled Hawaiian sky. 800-HILTONS. (www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com).
Best Adventures—The Molokai Mule Ride, a thrilling jaunt down a spectacular, truly breathtaking 2,000-foot high sea cliff to Kalaupapa –a flat, volcanic, tongue-like peninsula where Father Damien’s former leper colony once stood. You will ride side by side along a 2.9 mile trail over 26-switchbacks past magnificent scenery while a guide mesmerizes you with legendary tales of the heroic Belgium Priest who devoted himself to his colony of outcasts. 800-567-7550, http://www.muleride.com.
Snowboarding (yes you read this correctly) over pu’us (volcanic cones) on magical Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Two mile runs with 2500’ to 4500’ of vertical, coupled with a 360-degree panoramic view of Mauna Kea’s moonscape, the Pacific Ocean and Maui’s Haleakala. Polish off your snowboarding excursion with a dip in the warm surf at one of the many beaches below. (www.skihawaii.com, 808-885-4188), ask for Christopher Langan.
Most Hawaii-Romantic Means of Transportation—Snuggled up in comfy seat in First Class on Hawaiian Airlines where you feel the Ho’onanea (welcoming, pleasure) the minute you step on the plane. Feast on Hawaiian Menus, created by top Island chefs like Beverly Gannon, that might begin with crab stuffed jumbo prawns and follow with grilled Maui onion salad, bacon wrapped turkey filet, sesame crusted scallops, or rack of lamb-born and end with a white chocolate cranberry cheesecake. Yum. Relax dreamily while flight attendants pamper you with champagne, wine or other adult beverages. What’s more your baggage if the first off the plane and you have privileges at the airlines Premium Club waiting lounge. 800-367-5320, www.hawaiianair.com.