Seek out These Hidden Gems for a Secluded Hawaii Getaway
A relaxing trip to the recently-renovated Queen Kapiolani hotel offers a luxurious experience, including Haku lei workshops, Native Hawaiian guitar, and a grand Sunday brunch starring fresh lillikoi margaritas
In partnership with Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Where to Stay
Queen Kapiolani Hotel, with its pristine blue pool nestled against the priceless backdrop of Diamond Head, is an easy gateway to Oahu adventure. Sparkling like a gem on Waikiki Bay’s east side, the mid-size hotel offers enough seclusion and privacy to avoid the crowds, while allowing guests to walk, drive or Biki bike (via easy rental at the hotel) just a couple minutes to the main strip.
Boasting classic vintage artwork from Hawaii’s Golden Age, Queen Kapiolani recently renovated its 315 rooms, upgraded its grand Sunday Queen Kapiolani Brunch, and introduced an inventive drinks menu at its restaurant DECK showcasing local ingredients like lillikoi, guava, Japanese mint, Hawaiian agricole rum, and coconut-washed bourbon.
What to Do
Stroll along postcard-perfect Waikiki Beach to admire the hula dancers and poi spinners, or take a dip in the warm water, which hovers around 77 degrees in the winter and 82 degrees in the summer.
Island-wide access is easy as saying aloha: Pop onto H1 and cruise to the famous North Shore for Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline, where the Vans Triple Crown brings daring surf pros every year.
If murals to rival Miami’s Wynwood walls are more your speed, head to hip nabe Kaka’ako for a self-guided street art tour of inspiring, imaginative illustrated walls spanning the color spectrum.
If you’ve got time for a beautiful hike, pick your level and go: Diamond Head for an easy ascent with a stunning view, moderate Manoa Falls for a super cool trip through strangler figs and guavas up to a waterfall, or Mau’umae for a 6.6-mile challenge that rewards you with a superbloom of flowers. (Conditions change constantly; always check to make sure the trail you want is open before setting out.)
When you feel like indulging in a true hotel staycation, hit up surf demos, yoga classes, running tours, Haku lei workshops, Paint & Sips, or Hawaiian music at Queen Kap.
What to Eat
Say aloha to the sun with a single-origin Kona pour-over or an iced butterfly pea flower milk tea at Knots Coffee Roasters, Queen Kap‘s coffee shop that transitions into a wine bar in the evening.
Come Sunday, brunch at the hotel’s DECK is a fashionable affair that comes complete with locally-sourced oysters, elegant fine herb omelettes, and pancakes topped with homemade macadamia sauce.
If you’re venturing out, try brand new Mother Bake Shop, which serves up piping-hot breadfruit danishes, sweet pistachio and berry toasts, and fresh sourdough bread, or visit Moke’s Bread & Breakfast for lillikoi pancakes.
For lunch, the just-opened Yung Yee Kee Dim Sum in Ala Moana is the right place for an upscale meeting of favorites like egg tarts, siu mai, char siu bao, and Shanghai pork dumplings, while hip hangout and new classic The Pig & The Lady will woo your entire family with Laotian fried chicken and pho French dip banh mi.
Nightcap Your Evening
If you’re in Kaka’ako for some street art when the sun starts to dip, head to WorkPlay, a clever cocktail and coffee bar that divides its concoctions into “Work” and “Play” sections, shaking up excellent spirits like small-batch, single-variety Kohana rum and Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky. Monday nights feature karaoke if you want to let loose and get a bit silly, and live bands liven up both the acoustic patio and the indoors stage.
If you’re a beer lover and would rather nosh on ghost chili fire pickles and dirty fries with bacon fat, head to BREW’d Craftpub, where you can savor a Char Siu Red Ale brewed with char siu spices from Honolulu’s own Bent Tail Brewing Company.
Later, head to DECK at the Queen Kapiolani for a poolside nightcap of a Napa red, or order room service with a bottle of Cava and just totally unwind in your elegant room at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel for the evening.