Aloha Hawaii

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

Nadia - - CONTENTS -

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,

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