THE FAB FOUR HONOLULU HIGH­LIGHTS

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SUSAN KURO­SAWA

WAIKIKI BEACH SER­VICES: Here’s the thing. Waikiki Beach is fun but it’s crowded and un­less you’re stay­ing beach­side and can ac­cess your ho­tel’s ded­i­cated guest area, you will have no shade or seat­ing. Waikiki Beach Ser­vices of­fers um­brella, chair and surf­board rentals and the ser­vices of a Beach­boy Valet for one-on-one in­struc­tion and wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties such as Stand Up Pad­dling and body board­ing. But the best fun is an Outrig­ger Ca­noe Surf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, rid­ing the waves with a mus­cu­lar cap­tain in a dou­ble-rig­ger ca­noe of the sort once re­served for use by Hawai­ian roy­alty. An in­jured wrist pre­vents me from set­ting forth but my travel com­pan­ions whoop with de­light as they pad­dle the waves for half an hour. Waikiki Beach Ser­vices has a desk on the beach by the Royal Hawai­ian Ho­tel; ca­noes can be char­tered for groups of six or sign up solo or with a friend on the day. More: waikik­ibeach­ser­vices.com.

SHANGRI-LA: Heiress, so­cialite and phi­lan­thropist Doris Duke’s for­mer home, built be­tween 1936-38 and now run by the Honolulu Mu­seum of Art as a cen­tre of Is­lamic arts and cul­ture, is an oa­sis that’s ex­tra­or­di­nary not just for the em­bod­ied sense of wealth and priv­i­lege but its cargo of Mid­dle East­ern and north­ern In­dian art. Duke, who died in 1993, was a col­lec­tor of trea­sures from coun­tries such as Morocco, Syria, In­dia and Iran and her col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture, tex­tiles and dec­o­ra­tive pieces is spread across or­na­mented rooms, columned breeze­ways and gar­dens laid out in Mughal style. Green roof tiles were com­mis­sioned in Ra­bat, Morocco, by Duke in 1937; walls are white­washed, high ceil­ings pro­vide cool­ing ven­ti­la­tion, the front door was made in Egypt, circa 1900. Es­corted tours take place Wed­nes­days to Satur­days and last about 90 min­utes, start­ing at the Honolulu Mu­seum of Art, where a film about the house’s history is shown. In­te­rior pho­tog­ra­phy is for­bid­den but there are great views of Di­a­mond Head from the emer­ald lawns. More: shangri­la­hawaii.org.

ROYAL HAWAI­IAN HO­TEL’S ROYAL GROVE: Known as the Pink Palace, this rose-painted 1920s ho­tel needs no ex­tended in­tro­duc­tion. But be­yond its bars, breezy restau­rants and sea­side out­look, take a turn of its lush gar­dens. It’s there you’ll come across a bronze statue of Princess Ber­nice Pauahi Bishop (1831-1884), a great phi­lan­thropist and ed­u­ca­tor. The grand-daugh­ter of Kame­hameha I, the ruler who united the Hawai­ian is­lands in 1810, upon her death the princess was the largest landowner in Hawaii and left her es­tate to found the Kame­hameha Schools for chil­dren of Hawai­ian her­itage. Her hus­band, Charles Reed Bishop, an Amer­i­can businessman, en­sured her wishes were ful­filled and fur­ther en­dowed the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. Gar­den­ers gar­land her statue, and that of the lit­tle girl seated by her knee, with fresh flow­ers daily, and the Kame­hameha Schools con­tinue to flour­ish, award­ing more than $US14 mil­lion in schol­ar­ships to about 2300 col­lege stu­dents last year. More: royal-hawai­ian.com.

MOANA SURFRIDER: Al­most as fa­mous as its Royal Hawai­ian sta­ble­mate (just one block away), Moana Surfrider sits on Kalakaua Av­enue, Honolulu’s main shop­ping strip. There are rock­ers on the columned front porch and an im­pos­ing porte-cochere while up, up and away soars a tower block of gue­strooms and suites. But on a more ap­proach­able scale, cross the lobby, to­wards the beach, and take an old-style af­ter­noon tea on the ve­randa or head at sun­set to the Vin­tage 1901 lounge for wines, cock­tails and ta­passtyle snacks. If it’s of­fered dur­ing your stay, do a guided his­toric tour of the core build­ing’s lovely cor­ri­dors, lined with archival pho­tog­ra­phy and framed news­pa­per clip­pings of fa­mous guests. Now a Westin ho­tel, part of the Star­wood be­he­moth, the orig­i­nal property, just known as The Moana, opened in 1901 as Honolulu’s first re­sort, fea­tur­ing 75 gue­strooms equipped with lux­u­ries such as tele­phones and bath­rooms, and in a style known, a tri­fle amus­ingly, as Hawai­ian Gothic. It has been on the US Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places since 1972. More: moana-surfrider.com.

From left, Moana Surfrider; Shangri-La; Waikiki Beach Ser­vices; statue of Princess Ber­nice Pauahi Bishop

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