A Passion for Passion

Headed for Hawaii? Check out the Halekulani


I’ve just come home from Hawaii with an addiction. I’m hooked on passion.

Our stay was at the historic Halekulani(“a house befitting Heaven”) Hotel smack in the middle of Waikiki, just steps to the balmy water, as only a Pacific coast-raised girl can appreciate. The whole resort is infused with passion. The staff is passionate about the kind of service its predominantly Japanese clientele expect, called kikubiri, which means anticipating and proactively fulfilling one’s every need.

Guests have such a passion for the 100-year-old hotel that some of them, when they die, have their ashes brought to Waikiki, paddled out via outrigger canoe and scattered in the ocean in front of the hotel. Guest have included such luminaries as Clark Gable and Ernest Hemingway, and legend has it that the writer and creator of the Charlie Chan stories, Earl DerrBiggers, got the idea while sitting in the hotel’s café. His 1925 novel The House Without a Key is set in Honolulu, and mentions the hotel.This hotel is so steeped in history that there are hour-long tours led twice a week by the resident historian, Hi’inani.

There is a passion at the Halekulani for food; all three restaurants on the property  – House with a Key, Le Mer and Orchids — are renown in Honolulu.  And there’s definitely an obsession with luxury; embodied by Spahalekulani’s new partnership with JK7, an ultra-natural, uber-luxe skin care line founded by Jurgen Klein, M.D., formerly of Dr. Hauschka and Jurlique. The spa’s new 90-minute Euphoria facial uses the JK7 exclusively, and is a wonder of smells and sensations.

But the passion I became most addicted to is lilikoi, the sweet and tangy Hawaiian passion fruit. Most specifically, the HalekulaniLilikoi Daiquiri, served poolside. Turns out, it’s a healthy addiction, as fresh passion fruit is high in antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamin C, as well as a great source of potassium, iron and fiber.  The syrup is used around the world as a topping for desserts (including malasadas and cheesecake), and as a mixer for cocktails. Lilikoi is not easy to find on the Mainland — most grow in backyards here and in Hawaii – but there’s a site called Aunty Lilikoi that carries syrup and juice.  My first shipment will be here in a week….

Mahalo and aloha from Los Angeles!

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