Luxury Link's Tour of the Hawaiian Islands
Hawaii. One six-letter, vowel-heavy word conjures up magical images of coral and palm-fringed beaches, soothing tropical tradewinds and – of course – hula girls dancing in grass skirts.
Hawaii is all these things, but with one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems and an incredibly inviting native population, this chain of volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is so much more. Luxury Link features stunning five-star resort properties on all four of the main Hawaiian islands – Kauai, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island – each of which offers unique appeal for vacationers. In fact, the website hawaiigaga.com has a fun quiz that will help you determine which island best suits your travel tastes.
We also hope is tour of exquisite Luxury Link vacation experiences, from the Big Island in the southeast (the “youngest” member of the chain) to Kauai in the northwest inspires you to enjoy Hawaii’s “Spirit of Aloha”…
Hawaii Island Retreat (Big Island)
On the North Kohala coast, the birthplace of the legendary King Kamehameha I, Hawaii Island Retreat is a secluded, eco-friendly property perfectly in-tune with its natural surroundings. Opened in 2010, the resort prides itself on being almost completely self-sustaining, generating all electricity on-site via solar power and sourcing farm-to-table produce from fields nestled amid the verdant 50-acre property.
However, this “green” philosophy does not come at a sacrifice to luxurious touches throughout Hawaii Island Retreat. The nine guestrooms surround a central courtyard and are gracious and refined, with high ceiling and polished hardwood floors, as well as large bathrooms with beautiful finishes and soaking tubs.
“Hawaii Island Retreat is just that, a retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily living and an opportunity to reconnect with nature and with self,” said Jacque Waters, Associate Director. “The generous rooms are free of clocks, internet, and TV, creating a sanctuary of peace in which to completely relax. No power lines, street lights, or city noises of any kind add to the tangible serenity guests find here.”
That sense of calm extends to the resorts activities and amenities. Treat yourself to daily yoga or other wellness classes, while the full-service Hawaiian Spa beckons with private massage bungalows. Daytime temperatures on the North Kohala coast rarely stray from the low-80’s, making a daily dip in the saltwater infinity pool enticing.
Hawaii Island Retreat is a family-owned property by Big Island residents, who encourage guests to get out and explore this incredibly diverse place. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving opportunities abound, and the island is also home to Volcanoes National Park, where you can gaze in awe at active lava flows.
Travaasa Hāna and Lumeria Maui (Maui)
Maui aspires to be all things to all Hawaiian travelers. Its stunning natural beauty is complemented some of the world’s finest resorts, exceptional dining and nightlife options. Among several Luxury Link options on Maui are these two exceptional properties that strive to make your visit truly memorable.
The “Road to Hāna” is a legendary Hawaiian experience; a 52-mile winding drive along Maui’s north coast to this picturesque town at its far eastern tip. At the end of the road overlooking turquoise-blue Kaihalulu Bay, you’ll find a true “pot of gold” in Travaasa Hāna.
This 70-room resort, like Hawaii Island Retreat, takes great care to coexist with its sacred surroundings, and also extends that legendary Hawaiian hospitality to guests.
“The minute you arrive at Travaasa Hāna, you sense that you have been invited into someone’s home. You receive a warm, casual, heartfelt greeting. A graciousness of times gone by,” said senior director Adam Hawthorne. “This is one of the few places where traditional Hawaiian culture has stood still. The people of Hāna love the old Hawaiian ways, the spirit of aloha, and they love passionately the land on which they live.”
Guestrooms embody this warm, inviting and upscale ambiance; each comes equipped with a furnished outdoor lanai perfect for soaking in the magnificent views, while gleaming hardwood floors lead into airy rooms with plush bedding.
Then there are the more than 20 resort activities included with your stay, such as yoga, fitness classes , horseback riding and even ukulele lessons, but the grande dame of on-site amenities is The Spa at Travaasa Hāna, named Hawaii’s best spa by readers of Conde Naste magazine the past two years. Utilizing the abundant plants, minerals and water found in Hāna for its tea blends and natural body and face products and treatments, the spa helps guests restore feelings of balance and wellness to body, mind, spirit and emotion.
Wind down an active-yet-relaxing day by sampling the Hawaiian-fusion cuisine at Travaasa Hāna’s Ka'uiki restaurant, then gaze upon the stars from your lanai knowing you have soaked up all this magical place has to offer.
Further west, along Maui’s mountainous north coast is another luxurious resort that focuses on relaxation, rejuvenation and reflection for its valued guests. Centered around a lush, calming courtyard, the 26 plantation-style rooms of Lumeria Maui blend the best of modern luxury and traditional Hawaiian "aloha". Each feature relaxed outdoor seating area, while uniquely stylish river-rock showers create a serene atmosphere in each bathroom.
“These showers are truly out-of-this world,” exclaimed Lumeria Maui owner Xorin Balbes. “Our Serta mattresses are the highest quality mattresses, and our sheets, by Mascioni, are beautiful white 300 thread count. The furniture and furnishings, a mixture of Indonesian, Japanese and plantation-style, is unique in each guest room. Antique furniture, artwork and furnishings from all over the world elevate common areas to a level of elegance and mastery of design that is truly inspiring and elevating to the mind.”
This is very much a place to unplug, unwind and re-focus on one’s self. Included in your Luxury Link vacation experience are daily light organic breakfasts, yoga classes (one per day), sunrise meditation each morning and scheduled horticulture classes. The resort boasts an on-site organic garden, with fresh produce incorporated into menus at its Harvest Café.
However, no trip to Hawaii is complete without a dip in the warm, blue Pacific, teeming with coral and sea life, and Lumeria Maui sits adjacent to some perfect stretches of white-sand beach. Also nearby is Haleakela National Park, home to a deep volcanic crater that rewards visitors to the top with a striking panoramic view of the entire island.
Soaking Maui in from 10,000 feet above sea level, or experiencing a Zen moment in Lumeria Maui’s meditation garden, you’ll return from your Hawaiian holiday in a much calmer place than when you left.
The Royal Hawaiian (Oahu)
Oahu is known as “The Gathering Place” and serves as the introduction to Hawaii for many first-time visitors. The Royal Hawaiian – in its iconic flamingo pink hue – welcomes you to the capital, Honolulu with open arms and an unforgettable experience. Nestled along famous Waikiki Beach, this resort offers guests both a beautiful oasis to revitalize and relax and a base to explore all Oahu has to offer such as Diamond Head crater and the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
Opened in 1927, The Royal Hawaiian is the epitome of classic Hawaiian luxury with 528 rooms and suites. Its most recent renovation came in 2010, with the reopening of the Royal Beach Tower. Mere steps away, guests can bask in luxurious and private beach chaise lounge chairs on Waikiki Beach, with umbrellas set to help keep you cool. At the end of the day, the same spot is the place to soak up a legendary Hawaiian sunset with that special someone.
On-site amenities include the Abhasa Spa, recently ranked 4th in the country in the prestigious Spas of America top-100. Azure is The Royal Hawaiian’s fine-dining restaurant, specializing in locally-caught seafood.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (Kauai)
A contrast to the excitement of Waikiki, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa offers you to a more secluded and quiet Hawaiian experience on the southern coast of “The Garden Isle”. The resort itself encapsulates the romantic Kauai experience most guests are seeking. Rooms offer a private lanai with views of waves washing upon the shore. For the active set, kayaking in the adjacent lagoon offers a fun experience for couples or families to enjoy together. The Anara Spa offers professional massages along with different treatments, and these services are included with your Luxury Link vacation experience along with access to the resort’s private concierge service and evening cocktails.
Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and boasts breathtaking views of mountains and beaches heavily accented in lush greens. Perhaps the best views come from Waimea Canyon State Park, or “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” which has awed visitors or generations. Kauai offers an amazing opportunity for your romantic getaway, with beautiful scenery, seclusion, and even a private beach if you look hard enough.