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If you’re after a tropical getaway, look no further than Hawaii. 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.  

Hawaiian poke bowl

Image credit: Maguro Brothers

Eat: Like a local 

In Hawaii, great food can be found on every corner. In fact, some of the most delicious spots are unassuming, family run businesses.  

Helena’s Hawaiian 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 Kalua 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 Hawaii. 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 Hawaiian 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! 

Hawaiian Mai Tai Cocktail

Drink: Tropical cocktails  

Nothing screams holiday quite like a fruity cocktail enjoyed alongside stunning beach views – and luckily Hawaii offers both in abundance.  

Mai Tai: It’s usually the first drink that comes to mind when you hear Hawaii: 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 Hawaiian, which was voted as having the best Mai Tais by readers of Hawaii 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 Hawaiian Village resort in Waikiki 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 Hawaiian Village resort of course. The original and the best.  

 

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort Hawaii

Stay: In luxury 

A break in Hawaii is all about relaxation. So why not treat yourself to one of its most opulent hotels or resorts?

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort: Stay directly on iconic Waikiki Beach at a resort that prides itself on offering nightly Hawaiian music and one of the best buffet breakfasts around. Treat yourself to a Club room upgrade here and you’ll also benefit from nightly free-flow drinks at the luxe Voyager 47 Club Lounge.

The ‘Alohilani Resort: Find a slice of paradise, right in the heart of Waikiki. 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 Hawaii’s most fascinating sea life.

Its central Waikiki 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 Waikiki, an area Hawaii’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. Waikiki Beach is just a short stroll from the resort, making it the perfect location for experiencing Hawaii’s natural beauty.  

Hotel Wailea: Rated the number-one hotel in all of Hawaii 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.  

Hawaii Best Black Sand Beach

Play: On the beach 

The beautiful beaches are one of Hawaii’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 Hawaii’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, Oahu: 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 Waikiki.  

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, The Big Island: Hawaii’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.  

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