If you’re after a tropical getaway, look no further than Hawai‘i. With delicious local dishes like poke bowls on the menu and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it's a true paradise for travellers.
Eat: Like a local
In Hawai‘i, great food can be found on every corner. In fact, some of the most delicious spots are unassuming, family run businesses.
Helena’s Hawai‘ian Food: Set up by Helen Chock in 1946, Helena’s soon became a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike. In 2000, her eatery – which serves up delicious traditional dishes such as kālua pig and Pipikaula-style short ribs – was honoured with the Regional Classic Award from the James Beard Foundation. The restaurant is now run by Helen’s grandson and remains just as unpretentious (and popular!) as it was when it first opened.
Maguro Brothers: Poke bowls have become huge news all over the world, but nothing beats eating the real deal in Hawai‘i. Run by Junichiro Tsuchiya, a former fish market buyer, and his brother, you can expect some of the freshest fish, paired with delicious rice and vegetable garnishes. The juicy salmon belly is a must-try.
Kaaloa's Super J's: Rated the number-one restaurant in Captain Cook on TripAdvisor, the traditional Hawai‘ian food at Kaaloa's Super J's is not to be missed. Run by husband-and-wife duo Janice and John, it serves up some of the best Lau Lau, a slow-cooked pork-belly dish. In fact, it’s so good it often sells out – so get there early!
Drink: Tropical cocktails
Nothing screams holiday quite like a fruity cocktail enjoyed alongside stunning beach views – and luckily Hawai‘i offers both in abundance.
Mai Tai: It’s usually the first drink that comes to mind when you hear Hawai‘i: a potent cocktail made with a base of white rum, topped up with orange curaçao, orgeat syrup and fresh juice, and finished with a float of dark rum.
Where to try it: The Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawai‘ian, which was voted as having the best Mai Tais by readers of Hawai‘i magazine.
Coconut Mojito: A tropical twist on the old favourite that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Rum, mint and lime juice are mixed with coconut cream and liqueur for a super-drinkable cocktail.
Where to try it: With a view of the ocean at Duke’s Barefoot Bar.
Tropical Itch: This cocktail was first mixed by bartender Harry Yee at the Hilton Hawai‘ian Village resort in Waikīkī in 1957. A refreshing mix of rum, bourbon, passion fruit juice, triple sec and bitters, it’s not hard to see why it’s stuck around as a firm favourite.
Where to try it: The Hilton Hawai‘ian Village resort of course. The original and the best.
Stay: In luxury
A break in Hawai‘i is all about relaxation. So why not treat yourself to one of its most opulent hotels or resorts?
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort: Stay on one of the world's best beaches in renovated luxury at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort—a beachfront paradise that underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation last year. Contemporary style complements an eco-sustainable way of life in an unrivalled oceanfront paradise that boasts a wealth of high-end amenities. From the award-winning, 18-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer and set against a backdrop of sprawling coastline views and the serene adults-only infinity pool to the Crossfit studio and blissful Hapuna Spa by Mandara, the choice of ways to spend your days are endless.
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort: Stay directly on iconic Waikīkī Beach at a resort that prides itself on offering nightly Hawai‘ian music and one of the best buffet breakfasts around.
The 'Alohilani Resort: Find a slice of paradise, right in the heart of Waikīkī. Envisioned by the award-winning design firm Rockwell Group, the 'Alohilani Resort is a beautiful space that combines stunning natural views with modern luxury. Relax in a comfortable ocean-view room, enjoy a drink in a private cabana by the Swell Pool and Bar or be wowed by the resort’s very own three-storey Oceanarium, which showcases some of Hawai‘i’s most fascinating sea life.
Its central Waikīkī location means you are close to some of the area’s best shopping and dining options and just a short drive from attractions including the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Iolani Palace.
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa: This first-class resort sits just off the sandy beaches of Waikīkī, an area Hawai‘i’s kings and queens favoured for vacation. Be made to feel like royalty with a relaxing massage in the on-site spa or tantalise your taste buds with a gourmet small-plate dining experience in the new Bourbon Lounge. Waikīkī Beach is just a short stroll from the resort, making it the perfect location for experiencing Hawai‘i’s natural beauty.
Hotel Wailea: Rated the number-one hotel in all of Hawai‘i on TripAdvisor, you can’t go wrong with the gorgeous Hotel Wailea, Maui. The clever design means that all suites face the ocean, setting you up for stunning views during your stay. Meanwhile, The Treehouse offers a romantic secret-dining experience with seven sumptuous courses cooked for you by a private chef. With this adults-only hotel able to offer unique experiences including a beach picnic, cocktail mixology and kiteboarding lessons, there won’t be a dull moment during your stay.
Play: On the beach
The beautiful beaches are one of Hawai‘i’s biggest draws. Sparkling blue seas and colourful sands will make this a holiday you’ll never forget.
Kauna’oa Bay, The Big Island: You’ll have to get in early if you want to enjoy a day at one of Hawai‘i’s most secluded beaches. Public access to Kauna’oa Bay is limited to just 40 parking spots, making this the perfect private paradise. Make the most of the beach’s snorkelling spots or simply sunbathe with a good book – bliss!
Lanikai, O‘ahu: If you want to be able to say you’ve been to one of the world’s best beaches, make sure you head to the picturesque Lanikai. Ranked in the top 50 by FlightNetwork, it offers half a mile of golden sands and a quiet retreat for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Waikīkī.
Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, The Big Island: Hawai‘i’s most famous black-sand beach, this stunning location is a must for nature lovers. Aside from its interesting colour – a result of small fragments of volcano lava – it's a top spot for catching a glimpse of green sea turtles, which regularly come to bask in the sun on this beautiful beach.