The beaches, the water, the Aloha Spirit… It’s hard to go wrong with a honeymoon in Hawaii. Romance is everywhere you turn.
For most American travelers, honeymoons in Hawaii offer the maximum possible exposure to the exotic without requiring a passport, foreign currency or mastery of a foreign language. The islands are relaxed — just what you need after the physical and emotional rush of a wedding — and the culture welcoming. Honeymoons here take many forms, from cruises to cottage rentals to resorts large and small.
Beginning with one of the larger ones, the 1,240-room Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island makes the case for signing up to vacation at an amenity-filled resort. The 66-acre Kohala Coast retreat within the larger 1,350-acre Waikoloa Beach Resort offers a dolphin swim facility, an ocean-fed snorkeling lagoon, three swimming pools, a spa, nine restaurants and bars, a tennis complex and access to two golf courses and an 18-hole putting green. Special honeymoon attractions include a special welcome greeting spelled out in coral rocks along the freeway (a Big Island tradition), and a private dinner at Buddha Point, the best sunset spot on the grounds.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu offers loads of diversions as well as atmospheric rooms to slip away to, often including private lanais and outdoor showers. Among the seven pools, there’s one reserved strictly for adults, as well as another ocean-fed lagoon where you can feed the manta rays or snorkel with the raccoon fish. On-site activities offer adventures such as outrigger canoeing, snorkeling with an underwater scooter, and stand-up paddle boarding with no commute. Romance packages include wine, special turndown service, breakfast in bed and the choice of a couples spa treatment, cooking class, dinner for two or a portrait photography session.
On Kauai, the Ko`a Kea Hotel & Resort offers a quiet, intimate retreat with just 121 rooms on Poipu Beach — tops among swimmers and snorkelers on the rugged island. Constructed atop the former footprint of the Poipu Beach Hotel (ruined in a 1992 hurricane), the resort is the closest you can get to the beach. While not adults-only, the property lacks kids programs and tends to draw couples as a result. Guests will find rooms with dual shower heads and lanais, a five-treatment-room spa using native ingredients like coconut and kukui oils, and a restaurant with a pop-up sushi bar on five nights a week. Romance packages include a rental car for exploring the island.
For a splurge-worthy immersion into the island, enlist the services of Pure Kauai, a private concierge service that includes planning accommodations, transfers and activities like private guided hikes, surf lessons, bespoke picnics and hard-to-get restaurant reservations. Lodgings tend to be private villas and beachfront homes, often with pools, where the staff will arrange for private cooking classes, yoga and pilates sessions and spa treatment.
On the out-of-the-way island of Lanai, the Four Seasons Resort Hawaii, Lanai at Manele Bay makes a great honeymoon base, offering access to the entire island, including the sister resort Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Lodge at Koele in the cool uplands of the island, where you can go and cuddle over hot toddies by the fire just for the novelty of it. The concierge will arrange a two-hour sunset sail on the coast where spinner dolphins are known to cavort, and a scent specialist will help you blend your own fragrance from some 200 natural and island-grown botanicals. Guests have access to two golf courses, six restaurants including the new Nobu Lanai from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and private cooking classes.
On Maui, the all-suite Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui offers a good combination of spacious rooms and ample amenities in a never-have-to-leave location. Accommodations range from one-bedroom suites with separate living areas to two-story villas with kitchens, barbecue grills and plunge pools, steps from the beach. The new Willow Stream Spa features three couples treatment suites as well as outdoor spa cabanas. Special services include dinner in a candlelit poolside cabana or an oceanfront tiki-torch-lit dinner at sunset, and a custom message built into the beach by a sand sculptor.
Up the coast on popular Kaanapali Beach, the 806-room Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa offers an array of unique and romantic features, including stargazing sessions on the rooftop scopes that are powerful enough to see the rings of Saturn, a sensuous spa named after Marilyn Monroe, and African penguins in the lobby. Guests can learn the hula or make a floral lei, when not snorkeling the West Maui coast or basking by the waterfall-fed pool. The resort’s honeymoon package includes a lanai room, daily breakfast, a culinary class with the chef, two-for-one tickets to the stargazing tour and the on-property luau and a rental car.
On the opposite end of the island, Travaasa Hana sits at the end of the famous Road to Hana, a wild and popular 50-mile ride of sharp curves and stunning scenery, marked by a series of waterfalls and fantastic forests. Originally opened in 1946 and updated in 2011, the 70-room resort offers charming, throw-back style. The best rooms are the cottages with plantation-style ceilings and terraces overlooking the water, some with hot tubs. On-property activities include stand-up paddle boarding, horseback riding and outrigger canoe paddling. Guests can learn to cook, learn the hula, take a yoga class or get a spa treatment using botanicals from the island flower, the Lokelani rose.
On Oahu, Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore offers the right balance of getaway location and on-site amenities to satisfy both parties. Book one of the beach cottages or ocean villas for unparalleled privacy and views over the coral-backed beach. From there it’s a short stroll to the scalloped swimming beach, the pools, hiking trails and surf schools. The 860-acre property also offers golf and tennis facilities. Honeymoon packages include sparkling wine and chocolates on arrival, a couples massage in an oceanfront cabana, a professional photo shoot at sunset, a bath drawn in the room, private dinner for two, horseback riding for two and a dining credit.