Originally published in Robb Report
Growing from a collection of beachside bungalows in 1917 to an elegant, VIP-favorite resort set on a prime stretch of Waikiki Beach, Halekulani has helped define luxury in Honolulu for decades. For 30 of those years, the ownership of the resort has also overseen the Waikiki Parc Hotel across the street, a more modest offering that lived in the shadow of its famous sister. Now, following a year-long, multi-million-dollar renovation, that property has been transformed into Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani—a boutique-style spot fueled by the luxury expertise of the Halekulani brand.
Officially opened on October 25, Halepuna Waikiki fills what the ownership saw as void in the Honolulu hotel landscape. With all the “recent and ongoing hotel renovations and redevelopment (in the city), it was an optimal time for the Halekulani brand to introduce the first and newest luxury boutique concept to Waikiki,” says Julie Arigo, General Manager of the Halepuna. “By including ‘Halekulani’ in the Halepuna Waikiki name, our owners made a commitment to ensure that the new hotel would (be deserving) of the reputation.”
As such, guests familiar with the Halekulani can expect the same high-end touches here. Designed by noted New York City-based firm Champalimaud Design, Halepuna (which translates to “house of welcoming waters”) greets you with an airy, light-filled lobby featuring a contemporary art collection commissioned exclusively for the property. The 284 rooms are awash in neutral colors, wood tones and high-tech touches like Toto Washlets, as well as soaring windows framing spectacular ocean views; many also have balconies, while the four suites have enough space to accommodate in-room spa treatments. Keen attention to detail is reflected throughout; guests will appreciate the speedy elevators, for example, which are a rarity in Waikiki.
The hotel’s serene focal point is the expansive 8th floor “urban escape,” home to a 72-foot infinity-edge pool, hot tub, cabanas, a bar, and a garden with a unique reflexology path—all backed by panoramic views. Nearby is spacious fitness center that includes a generously-sized lanai, while the street-level features Halekulani Bakery and Restaurant, an all-day dining hub specializing in housemade artisan baked goods and sweets (there’s even a chocolate-making viewing window) and dishes crafted with locally-sourced ingredients. Most importantly, all spaces are attended to by a staff that gets the new philosophy. As Arigo notes, approximately 85 percent of the staff of the former Waikiki Parc Hotel were trained on the Halekulani service standards during the closure, and have now returned to showcase those elevated skills here.