For some, Waikiki brings to mind towering coastal hotels, Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii and tourist-trap kitsch.
But the new Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, co-owned by California native Sean Williams and set a few blocks from renowned Waikiki Beach in a 1960s Modernist building, is challenging that list, emphasizing all things design-forward and establishing itself as a culinary destination. Honolulu’s The Vanguard Theory shaped the “midcentury Aloha” look of the property’s public spaces, while Santa Monica-based design firm Studio Collective is behind the 112 bungalows, replete with work from local artists and private lanais. Perhaps the biggest lure is acclaimed Oahu-born chef and restaurateur Ed Kenney’s in-house, field-to-fork open-air venture, Mahina & Sun’s. Here, diners indulge in insanely fresh fare including house special Mahina’s Family Feast: a whole pink snapper with sides including Kualoa Ranch oysters and fried boiled peanuts. Of course, paradise isn’t paradise without a craft cocktail: Try the Haleiwa Harbor, a twist on a piña colada starring rum, coconut milk, lemongrass and lime. surfjack.com.
Edited by Jenny Murray.
Written by Melissa Goldstein.
PHOTO: John Hook.