Aloha from Kendall, J5Travel's Client Care Manager and Hawaii Specialist, on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. It has been a while since a Hawaii post, so let me refresh your memory. Hawaii is comprised of five main islands – Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, and Lanai – all completely unique. I have to admit, it has been longer than I care to say since I have been to Oahu, specifically the state’s capital of Honolulu and the busy Waikiki Beach. The purpose of this trip has been to catch up on how much the island has changed along with visits to some of our favorite Virtuoso-preferred properties.
Traveling to Oahu was the same as it has been for the past year to Hawaii – get a negative Covid test from a preferred partner 72 hours before your transpacific flight, upload it to your Safe Travels portal, and fill out an online health questionnaire via the Safe Travels portal 24 hours prior to your flight. If this is done correctly, all is smooth.
Oahu is quite a change from my last visit to Maui in December, but that is what makes Hawaii extra special – the fact that all islands are different and each one holds its own culture and experiences. As the world is navigating this unique stage, especially in travel, I encourage everyone to enter it with a sense of "’imi loa," which means "exploration driven by a sense of wonder" in Hawaiian. As long as we keep that sense of wonder, we have the desire to travel and see the world. J5Travel is here to encourage ‘imi loa in our clients, always. – Kendall
Now, the real reason I am here! Oahu does have many Virtuoso-preferred properties and I have been lucky enough to see most of them firsthand. This week’s top five covers the best of Virtuoso-preferred Properties on Oahu.
Oahu's Top 5 Hotels
1. The Kahala Hotel & Resort
If your ideal vacation is to be close to the action, but far enough away to feel like you are in a private oasis, this is your place. This luxury property is located just a short 15 minutes outside of Waikiki – but quite honestly feels like it is further with the added privacy. Everyone from presidents to high-profile celebrities have stayed here, and continue to stay here time after time – given their unforgettable service and privacy, it comes at no surprise. Between hidden doorways, secluded beaches, incredibly spacious rooms, and dolphin lagoons, this property is truly one of a kind.
2. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel & Resort
You’ve probably seen it before; the "Pink Palace of the Pacific." Honolulu’s first resort – and what truly put this beautiful destination on the map. There is so much history to this resort I could go on for days. It could be the fact that the famous "Mai Tai" was invented here, or the fact that the "Shirley Temple" was also first crafted here in an effort to cater to the frequent visitor herself at a young age. Although it is situated in the heart of Waikiki (above), this property feels like it is in the middle of a lush garden set back from the city. I got to experience their luau as well (yes, that's me in the photo), which gave a great history of not only Oahu, but also the hotel itself.
3. Halekulani (above)
The Halekulani, while currently undergoing renovations, still remains one of the best resorts in Honolulu. From humble beginnings over a century ago, Halekulani grew into a sophisticated destination for discerning guests and has remained the standard of service excellence and gracious Hawaiian hospitality. Spacious guest rooms and suites allow for an unforgettable experience. They are set to open back up to guests later this fall of 2021.
4. Four Seasons Resort at Ko Olina (above and below)
About 30 minutes west of Honolulu lies the beautiful Four Seasons Resort at Ko Olina. On Oahu’s sunny western coast – wild and rugged, the five-star Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina balances a classic Hawaiian style with one-of-a-kind luxury. Chic and light-filled with vast ocean views, the accommodations provide a personal sanctuary in this all-encompassing Hawaiian luxury beach resort. They offer many different kinds of beach and water activities all accessible directly from the resort’s beach. Play tennis and golf, then relax in the spa – the well-known Four Seasons service does not lack here.
5. Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach (above and below)
Located at the gateway to Waikiki Beach and adjacent to the world-class shops of Luxury Row, this location provides a private, exclusive experience set back from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The rooms and suites at the Ritz blend the amenities of a residence with the services of a luxury resort. Available with up to four bedrooms, accommodations feature ocean views, balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, gourmet kitchens, living spaces and bathrooms with deep soaking tubs. Resort amenities include a full-service spa, fitness center, Waikiki’s two highest infinity pools and five extraordinary dining experiences. The perfect option for families or larger groups!
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