The Art of Living

At the Halekulani, a life lived to its fullest is a work of art

By: By Kenneth Shapiro

The Details


Pricing for the Premier Suites at Halekulani:
Royal Suite: $7,000, sold as a two-bedroom only
Vera Wang Suite: $7,000, sold as a two-bedroom or $5,500 for the one-bedroom primary suite
Orchid Suite: $7,000, sold as a one-bedroom only
Commission: 10 percent

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Click here for videos of the Halekulani Suites.

Most high-end hotels are lucky to have one grand presidential suite, albeit uncomfortably formal with outdated decor. Why should clients willing to pay top dollar for a unique vacation experience be forced to settle for a one-suite-fits-all mentality?


The bed in the Vera Wang Suite // © 2009 Halekulani

At the Halekulani, on Waikiki Beach, they don’t have to. This beloved upscale Hawaiian property is blessed with three luxurious “presidential” suites and has created a program that not only differentiates each suite and matches each to personality types, but also features complimentary amenities to enhance the overall experience.

Called The Premier Suites at Halekulani, the new collection of lifestyle suites promotes the idea that the Halekulani’s best suites are more than just hotel rooms, they’re part of a lifestyle. For example, every guest that books one of these suites gets the personal attention of a butler during their stay. Throughout my recent visit, Francis, my butler, secured restaurant reservations, provided a cooler of drinks and snacks when I went for a drive, set up breakfast on the lanai and reserved the perfect chaise by the pool.

One of the most unique aspects of The Premier Suites at Halekulani is the Art in Motion feature where suite guests get the use of the hotel’s specialty automobiles, including a Mazzarati Gran Tourismo and a Bentley convertible. Take it from me, nothing beats driving along the coast in a Mazzarati or pulling up on the North Shore for shave ice in a Bentley.

Of course, all guests in these suites benefit from the factors that have made the Halekulani one of the top hotels in the islands, including incredible service, Diamond Head views and a location right off Waikiki Beach.

The key to these Premier Suites is in understanding the distinctive accommodations — as well as your clients’ tastes — to match the experience to the client.

Vera Wang Suite
Several years ago, the ever-innovative Halekulani turned over one of its best suites to world-famous designer Vera Wang and asked her to decorate it however she wanted.

The one-bedroom Vera Wang Suite (with the option of a second bedroom next door) is located on the middle floor of a three-floor wing on one end of the property. Like all of the suites, it is accessible only by a special elevator.

Wang controlled all aspects of the suite’s design and the result is at once stylish and homey. Beautiful artwork and collectables are everywhere, including an eclectic combination of coffee-table books. It seems like every easy chair comes with its own throw blanket and stack of books — making for a cozy spot to curl up and spend an afternoon reading. There are fresh flowers and fragrant candles throughout the suite, along with Vera Wang products such as fragrance, skin care and stationery. Wang even chose the movies available for viewing in the suite (an assortment of classic romance films).

The suite features a huge dining table, built-in bar, television sitting area, living room with comfy sofas, guest bathroom, bedroom and a main bathroom. In particular, the bathroom was large and luxurious, the oversized tub boasting a view of Diamond Head and the ocean. Guests can ask for a signature in-suite aromatherapy bath treatment, carefully and meticulously executed by the butler.

The Ideal Guest: The Vera Wang suite is perfect for fans of Wang or clients that care about art and design and appreciate the subtle touches that go into designing a cozy home away from home.

Keep In Mind: There is no kitchen in this suite.

Royal Suite
The decor of the Royal Suite can be described as classic Hawaii, feeling a bit more traditional and mature than the other suites. It has a small kitchen (with a juicer and a cappuccino machine), television sitting area, four-person dining-room table, living room with a huge coffee table surrounded by sectional couches, grand piano, guest bathroom, bedroom, walk-in closet and a main bathroom.

The Royal is sold as a two-bedroom suite with a guestroom next door that is ideal for a nanny, for instance.

The biggest benefits to this suite are the amazing views and the light, making you feel as if you were hovering over the ocean below. One evening, I watched as a sea turtle swam slowly along the shoreline, just feet away from people out for an evening stroll.

The suite takes advantage of its position on the top floor with a fantastic wraparound lanai, perfect for dining al fresco or private sunbathing. When all the shuttered, sliding doors are open, the cool ocean breezes blow throughout the suite. A private oasis so close to the ocean on Waikiki Beach is simply not an experience that can be had at other resorts in the area.

The Ideal Guest: The Royal Suite is probably best suited to slightly older clients who don’t care about the latest trends and are looking to have a classic Hawaiian experience.

Keep In Mind: The more wide-open layout of the suite — along with the grand piano — made this room feel like the best choice for entertaining. Also, the smaller bathroom and tub rule out an aromatherapy bath treatment.

Orchid Suite
The Orchid Suite, the third in the Premier Suites at Halekulani, is the most modern and high-tech of the suites, yet its color scheme and contemporary decor, make it warm and inviting as well.

The Orchid has a full, open kitchen, a living room, an outdoor daybed area, a guest bathroom, a bedroom and a huge bathroom. The bathroom, in particular, is beyond state-of-the-art. Featuring the TOTO Neorest Luxury Bath Collection, it comes with automatic faucets, a steam shower, a deep Jacuzzi tub with a television monitor embedded in the wall above it and a stainless-steel, cold-plunge therapy tub. It’s perfect for an in-suite spa treatment (single or couples), which is another experience exclusively available to the Premier Suites. In particular, I highly recommend the White Algae Body Cocoon treatment, which is designed specifically for the Orchid Suite experience.

The Orchid also features its own screening room, with a large flat-screen television, a Steinway sound system and a huge sectional sofa that runs the length of the room. It’s the perfect venue for chilling out and watching the latest DVD.

In addition, because it’s on the first floor, instead of a lanai, the Orchid actually has its own private grass yard — making it the only private backyard in a Waikiki resort. The yard is tucked away behind a hedge and is completely private even though it is literally steps away from the beach. Finally, the Orchid’s full, modern kitchen allows guests to be treated to an in-suite meal prepared by the Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg or one of the property’s other chefs. The chef speaks to guests ahead of time to find out their likes and dislikes and then prepares a customized meal and wine pairing just for them. Chef Garg’s creation was one of the highlights of my visit.

The Ideal Guest: The Orchid Suite is perfect for clients that are tech savvy, into health and wellness and appreciate modern design.

Keep In Mind: Because the Orchid is on the first floor, the ocean views are not as substantial as the other suites. There are still ocean views, however, and you can see Diamond Head from the bed.