“Aha Aina” is a new luau at the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki. // © 2009 Starwood Hotels and Resorts Hawaii
When Oahu calls, couples listen. Happily, the visitor destination is continuing to come up with new things to do by day and night, courting the romance market as never before.
Among the recent offerings awaiting clients is Kandoo Island, an innovative watersports and entertainment complex anchored off the beach fronting the Sheraton Waikiki. Couples can make splashy memories while taking part in Jet Ski adventures, parasailing, snorkeling, diving and sailing courtesy of this exciting new attraction.
The Contemporary Museum has started offering clients the chance to enjoy a romantic alfresco lunch on its scenic grounds, set on a hillside above Honolulu. The museum’s restaurant, called the Contemporary Cafe, prepares two picnic baskets with gourmet sandwiches or salads, dessert bars and beverages for two.
Kualoa Ranch’s new Legends and Legacy Tour leads couples through the foothills to the base of the majestic Kualoa cliffs, as guides share legends and lore of the area. While visiting the attraction, couples can also take part in ancient hula lessons, a new offering providing fun insight into the Hawaiian culture.
On Oahu’s North Shore, a 5.2-acre private property called the Sullivan Estate has opened the JK7 Spa. There, couples can indulge in spa treatments and enjoy fresh foods prepared with organic ingredients at its OlaLoa Health Gourmet Cafe. Clients have the place to themselves and access to all of the estate’s amenities, including a saltwater swimming pool, a 12-person Jacuzzi, a yoga and meditation room, a sauna and workout facilities.
Also on Oahu’s North Shore, Waimea Valley — a lushly romantic destination with gardens, history, culture and waterfalls — has introduced monthly nighttime walking tours, a great suggestion for couples. Conducted by Hawaii historian and master storyteller Lopaka Kapanui, the Whispering Walls of Waimea tour presents tales of the high priests who once lived in the valley, the special pohaku (stones) that reside in the area, the healing power of the valley’s plant life and additional legends and lore.
Meanwhile, romantic new restaurants are providing couples with a taste of the islands. Coinciding with the Royal Hawaiian’s renovation were the openings of two new restaurants: Azure, offering sophisticated dinner service and specializing in fresh island seafood; and Surf Lanai, serving casual breakfast and lunch by the Royal’s pool. The Royal also has a new luau called “Aha Aina,” Waikiki’s only oceanfront dinner show. Held every Monday night on the Ocean Lawn with a backdrop of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, the luau begins with time-honored activities such as kapa-making (creating cloth made of pounded bark) and poi-pounding. The evening continues with a tropical feast and a dramatic performance of hula and song.
At the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, the new Kana Ka Pila Grille draws couples poolside for lunch and dinner fare. Its specialty is live nightly entertainment by renowned Hawaii musicians and up-and-coming artists.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Tropics Bar and Grill recently completed an expansive renovation and reopened with a contemporary island design. The Hilton also lures clients to its new Waikiki Starlight Luau, which takes place on the rooftop of the Mid-Pacific Conference Center. Couples can join in on the cultural activities, savor an island-style dinner and watch a fashion show and live celebration of traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian and Samoan dance.
It’s all proof positive that romance is alive and well on Oahu.