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The iconic hotel Halekulani (house befitting heaven) sits on a natural curve of Waikiki beach and offers an incomparable view of Diamond Head from the rooms and restaurants. A four diamond award-winning property; discerning travelers from all over the world come here to relax, soak up the sun, listen to Hawaiian music and enjoy the hula dancer at sunset, and of course to dine.
It is a beautiful dream to stay here but what if your lodging budget just won’t allow it? Well you can certainly enjoy a “five star meal” at the Halekulani. Enjoy a view of the ocean by having lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Orchids. President Obama selected Orchids for his final meal while visiting Hawaii recently and many islanders come for birthdays and special occasions. Because your vacation in Hawaii is a special occasion you should too.
Reserve a table al fresco on the lanai where the coconut palms frame views of the beach just steps from the manicured lawn. Come early to walk the lovely grounds and appreciate the architecture of one of the original buildings that now houses Orchids. As soon as you are settled in, order one of the famous Halekulani Mai Tais and then take a look at the menu.
Chef has inventive preparations using local ingredients prepared in unusual ways. Of course there are a few items that long-time guests and locals won’t let him replace like the tender steamed Onaga or the ethereal coconut cake.
If you want the inside scoop on these favorites, ask your waiter or look closely at your menu; “gf “ for guest favorite is listed after some menu items. The wine list is well curated and there are some by-the-glass options that are stellar too. Try the wines from Kenzo Estate Winery in Napa offered at Orchids Halekulani exclusively.
Service is relaxed but attentive. Enjoy a leisurely repast but save room for dessert. Two standouts are the afore mentioned Coconut Cake and the Lilikoi & Chocolate Bar with Macadamia Nut Powder, Coconut Ice Cream.
Top off your meal with the best cup of French press 100% Kona coffee you have ever had. Now you know why President Obama came here: relaxed service, beautiful fresh Pacific Rim Cuisine, fabulous desserts and the timeless beauty of Waikiki right on the ocean. Aloha to you Diamond Head. Mahalo to you, too Orchids at Halekulani!
Michelle Winner has been traveling the world since the age of two. Being born in the island paradise of Hawaii only increased her wanderlust. Writing luxury for over 15 years, she is on her fourth career as a writer and social media brand consultant and interestingly enough each of those (commercial interior designer for hospitality, air hostess, and personal luxury shopper) prepared her with an impeccable eye for design and a discerning appreciation for true personalized service.
Michelle is part of our professional travel writers and has written and edited, for many of the top tier publications including Conde Naste Digital, Islands Magazine, NYTimes Food, Saveur (photography), AFAR.com and Honestcooking.
Kurt Winner is an avid traveler and writer who enjoys exploring different cultures through food, wine and photography. He is also very active in social media and branding for domestic and international corporations. Currently living in Oregon, you’ll find him exploring world class Pinot Noir, micro brews and the food culture that the state has to offer. His website is www.culinarytraveler.com and his photography can be found at www.culinarytraveler.smugmug.com
Michelle Winner, CulinaryTraveler.com | February 1, 2016
All photos courtesy of Kurt Winner, CulinaryTraveler.com