STAY at the Modern Honolulu, at last a luxury boutique hotel that combines Hawaii’s mainland style and natural splendour with sleek and sophisticated design, cleverly avoiding any island kitsch! Located at the west end of Waikiki it sits on the marina close enough to experience what’s left of Waikiki’s golden beach history yet far enough away from the crowds to feel that you are living more local. We really liked the music both live local acts and recorded groove giving soul to the pool lounge and lagoon-side beach club. Add a very hip nightclub frequented by music celebs, a secret door from a study that leads to a bar and the new Ravish restaurant and you have a very modern Hawaii. The secret is to keep up to date with local events and advice from the hotel concierge, who artfully guide guests around local music, art and food scenes, along with the best footy seats at the Hawaiian Bowl!
EAT and support the local food movement and spend a morning at the local Farmers Market. Both locals and travellers are up and about early to experience this market-cum food festival, where local Hawaiian fresh produce sits next to pop-up booths from some of Hawaii’s best restaurants and food establishments. Our favourite Chef Andrew Le’s, ‘Pig and The Lady’, serve up playful and eclectic food inspired from his Vietnamese heritage but with a Pacific edge. ‘Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always’, this best describes a new Hawaiian food revolution, and noted local chef Ed Kenney’s soulful food, experienced at his Honolulu restaurant Town
[or perhaps if you are invited over to the Obamas’ for lunch, Ed’s the first lady’s chef in Hawaii!]
. Feeling like a locally crafted beer head to the Pint & Jigger, it serves over 21 craft beers and great smoke pork sliders!
VISIT the revitalised China Town to immerse yourself in Chinese history and their migration to Hawaii. Located in the historic downtown area this is definitely a melting pot of cultures, as can be seen in the architectural structures, galleries and boutiques. At the Oahu Market, fish sellers displaying their eels, crabs and fresh fish sit along-side exotic and tropical fruit stalls. Then, there are the pork vendors with their char siu and ducks, but if you are a noodle lover, visit the Yat Tung Chow Noodle Factory. For lunch or dinner don’t miss Lucky Belly, a ‘chef-inspired’ ramen restaurant and bar on Hotel Street. Head down to the Kaka’ako district of Honolulu to explore the unique street art and if you are in town during February don’t miss the annual ‘Hawaii Pow Wow Festival’ which has grown into a global network of artists and gallery shows, lecture series, schools for art and music, mural projects, concerts, and live art installations across the globe.
HIGHLIGHTS. The Pig & The Lady, 83 N. King St., Honolulu, HI 96817, 808-585-8255 www.thepigandthelady.com, Farmers Markets – Blaisdell on Wednesdays, Kailua on Thursdays, and KCC on Saturday mornings, Lucky Belly, 50 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, 808-531-1888 www.luckybelly.com, Pint & Jigger, 1936 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826, 808-744-9593, Town www.townkaimuki.com.