The husband-and-wife team behind Auckland floristry business Mark Antonia consider Hawaii their home away from home. We asked them for their top picks – and pics – from a recent trip to O‘ahu
Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney of Mark Antonia share their favourite Hawaiian holiday hotspots
Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney share a passion for flowers and furniture and founded their floristry business, Mark Antonia, around four years ago. Another of their mutual loves is Hawaii – they’ve been to the holiday spot 13 times between them, so who better to show us the best places to eat, shop, explore and stay than these two? In this insider’s guide to O‘ahu (the third largest and most populous of the Hawaiian Islands), written by Antonia, you’ll find all the info you need to start planning your very own getaway.
Where to stay
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in the Honolulu neighbourhood of Waikiki is our Hawaiian home – we were some of the first guests to check in when it opened in 2016 and we struck up a long-lasting friendship with the hotel’s fantastic manager, Jordan. The staff here have that laidback, ‘Hawaiian time’ disposition, which makes staying there so comfortable and all the more relaxed – there’s even a help-yourself coffee service to enjoy before your morning dip in the iconic hotel pool (see the pic over the page).
When you check in you’ll be treated to an epic snack selection boasting all sorts of island treats and every room features locally crafted furniture and artwork. The view from the balcony is breathtaking, especially at dusk when the whole sky lights up pink. A huge denim sofa in the lounge makes having friends over for whiskey on ice so easy and breezy.
What to see
If you’re a history buff like me, a visit to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is a must for learning all about Hawaiian and Polynesian history, and there’s even a bit of New Zealand history to discover. As a creative who mostly works with dried flowers, I was instinctively drawn to the dried lei on display. Make sure you also stop by the ‘Iolani Palace; built in 1882 by King Kalakaua, it was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs and is recognised as the spiritual and physical epicentre of multicultural Hawaii.
No doubt beach time will be at the top of your list of things to do and luckily you’ll find that perfect swimming temperature and clear blue water all around the island. If you’re heading to the East Shore, Lanikai Beach in Kailua is well worth the drive as it’s less populated than Waikiki Beach. Sunset
Beach in Haleiwa on the North Shore,