For BRIDES, by Michele Bigley.
Discover the perfect Hawaiian island (or two) for your honeymoon.
Whether you want to eat your way through Waikiki’s hottest restaurants or get your zen on at a wellness retreat on Maui, there’s a Hawaiian island for every type of honeymooner. How do you know which one’s right for you? First, assess what kind of traveler you are: Are you active and adventurous? Laid-back and chilled? Into culture and local experiences? Rest assured, there’s something for everyone.
Here, we break down which island is best for each type of honeymooner — and you don’t have to choose just one. To get the best of both worlds on your Hawaii honeymoon, pair two islands with vastly different landscapes, like urban Oahu and nature-filled Hawaii (a.k.a. the Big Island) or arid Lanai and tropical Kauai. Another tip: consider traveling during shoulder season, fall and spring, when flights to Hawaii from the West Coast can be as low as $400 (as opposed to $700 in high season). No matter how or when you arrive, don’t pack too much into your itinerary; even on a 10-day trip, visiting more than two islands on your Hawaii honeymoon means you’ll miss out on Hawaii’s favorite pastime… relaxing. But the good news is you can always book a return for the one-year anniversary to check out more this island paradise has to offer.
Lanai… For Beach Bums
Perched atop the white-sand crescent of Hulopo’e Bay, with five restaurants — including outposts of the always-buzzy Nobu and Malibu Farm — and an adults-only pool surrounded by palms and plumeria, Larry Ellison’s luxe Four Seasons Resort Lanai (doubles from $1,075) delivers a blissful post-nuptial escape. Camp out on lounge chairs fronting the impossibly blue sea, mango popsicle in hand, as you watch humpback whales migrate north. When it’s time to cool off, grab a mask to snorkel with rainbow-hued reef triggerfish (that’s humuhumunukunukuapua’a in Hawaiian), then take a sunset stroll along the water to view Sweetheart Rock, the place where ancient Hawaii’s Romeo and Juliet pledged their eternal love. Kissed by a touch too much sun? Book the spa’s Ki Pola Ti Leaf Body Wrap; your body will be lathered in lavender and aloe and wrapped in fresh ti leaves for super hydration. Cap the night with a chef ‘s dinner of chilled lemongrass soup, seared onaga (red snapper) in shrimp butter, Wagyu beef topped with sour cherries, and your choice of vino in a private cabana facing the sea. Then dig your toes into the sand under a blanket of stars, with the perfect soundtrack of gentle crashing waves.
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Expert tip: If Lanai is on your itinerary, depart from Maui. Expeditions Ferry takes passengers on a scenic hour-long boat ride that’s less expensive than an inter-island flight — and you might spot spinner-dolphins on the way.
Maui… For the Wellness-Obsessed
Want to start each morning with an oceanfront yoga class? Learn how to meditate? Cook healthy meals? Head to health-centric Maui, where you can craft your own blend of locally sourced kava-kava or plumeria oil for your couples massage at Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort (doubles from $407) before a sunset sushi dinner at MORIMOTO. If you’re here on a Saturday, book a stand-up-paddle-board Pilates and yoga class with local studio Body In Balance to see if you can master stability on the open waters. Or cool off in the highlands with a late-afternoon hike around the dormant volcano, Haleakala; have your camera ready for one of the planet’s best sunsets. To get your zen on even more, spend a few nights in the jungles of Hana at Travaasa Hana, Maui (doubles from $450), which has no TV or electronics in rooms or cottages (don’t worry, there’s still Wi-Fi) but offers guided meditation, daily yoga, and healthy dishes, like freshly caughtono fish atop locally grown ulu (Hawaiian breadfruit).
Oahu… For Culture Buffs
From craft-cocktail bars and designer-aloha-wear shops to haute hotels and hip galleries, Oahu is having a major moment. To place yourself in the heart of it all, post up in Waikiki at the trendy Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club 8 (doubles from $237), where you can cuddle up with room service from star chef Ed Kenney’s Mahina & Sun’s. (Try his elevated take on classic pa’i’ai, pounded taro root.) Spend afternoons perusing the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House and popping into boutiques in downtown Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center — a surprisingly chic outdoor shopping mall — before dinner of to-die-for miso-honey-glazed butterfish at MW Restaurant and a matcha-old-fashioned nightcap at Bar Leather Apron. (Book a reservation well in advance.) In the morning, recharge on the quiet North Shore beaches to snap pics of the world’s best surfers, or check into the splashy new Four Seasons Resort Oahu At Ko Olina (doubles from $695), set in the same spot Hawaiian royalty used to escape to.
See the rest of Your Ultimate Hawaiian Honeymoon Guide, including our picks for foodies and adventure seekers, on Brides.com
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