Halekulani Celebrates 100 Years and Counting

Halekulani Celebrates 100 Years and Counting

Waikiki's longtime luxury hotel honors the old while ushering in the new By: Marty Wentzel
<p>Halekulani is kicking off its centennial celebration with offerings of limited-edition cognac and bourbon. // © 2017 Halekulani</p><p>Feature image...

Halekulani is kicking off its centennial celebration with offerings of limited-edition cognac and bourbon. // © 2017 Halekulani

Feature image (above): Halekulani has enjoyed a prime oceanfront location since it opened in 1917. // © 2017 Halekulani

The Details

In 1917, Halekulani made its debut as a collection of seaside guest bungalows beneath swaying coconut trees. A century later, the Oahu hotel still draws a well-heeled clientele with its upscale accommodations and amenities.

Timed with its centennial, Halekulani is planning a series of special events and offerings, according to Ulrich Krauer, the hotel’s general manager. 

For starters, it just introduced its Legacy Collection of Spirits, which was developed exclusively for the hotel. The first release — a limited-edition cognac, Digne du Paradis — is available at the property while supplies last. The second spirit is a hand-selected barrel of bourbon, which guests can order neat or in a 1930s-era historical cocktail dubbed “The Halekulani.” 

In the coming months, travel agents and clients can expect additional initiatives and events in celebration of Halekulani’s past 100 years. At the same time, the resort promises to deliver distinctive, ongoing amenities that make it relevant for modern and future travelers, Krauer says.

“We continually evolve our guest experience by creating programs that incorporate the hotel’s authentic, traditional values,” Krauer said. 

For instance, in 2015, the property launched its Living Well program. Each month, SpaHalekulani’s in-house lifestyle coach provides different motivational tools designed to create lasting change. Recent gatherings focused on boosting energy and cooking creatively without recipes.

This year, the hotel started the SpaHalekulani Master Series, which brings wellness experts to the property to offer unique perspectives on health. Each session is accompanied by limited-run treatments. In September, for example, SpaHalekulani featured acclaimed Japanese facial reflexologist Mariko Hiyama, whose hands-on work helps balance the body and mind.

Long known for its commitment to fine entertainment, Halekulani regularly presents outstanding musicians. In November, it welcomed famed jazz trumpeter Eddie Henderson for two nights of performances in Lewers Lounge.

For travelers who want to indulge in the local culture off-property, Halekulani’s For You, Everything package gives clients free access to various arts and cultural experiences around Honolulu. Among the options are the Honolulu Museum of Art, Bishop Museum, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Doris Duke’s Shangri La estate. 

In addition, the hotel serves as the official sponsor of the annual Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, considered the top epicurean event in the region.

“We always look at new guest programs under the strict lens of whether they are true to the DNA of our rich history and our core values,” Krauer said. “We are focused on creating new experiences that enhance the offbeat personality of the hotel.”

One thing that hasn’t changed over time is Halekulani’s high level of service, Krauer adds, which is notable in an era when many hotels are becoming less personalized. Some of its employees have been with the property for 30 years or more.

“For many travelers, Halekulani’s remarkable staff is a primary reason that the hotel has become a staple as a home away from home,”  Krauer said. “The children who grew up vacationing at Halekulani are now bringing their own children here.” 

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