LETTER FROM OVERSEAS EDITOR

view from chairIn mid-August my mother and I arrived on Maui to celebrate her 65th birthday in the Hawaiian Islands just as Hurricane Felicia had passed, so rainbows, calm ocean and sunny skies greeted us. And the aloha spirit couldn’t have been stronger for this special trip. Oahu, Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai and Molokai all deliver on sea, land and air in settings which are appealing for mother/daughter trips, children, couples and the entire family. Of all the states in the US, Hawaii may be the most versatile playground as a holiday destination. These islands were born of earth, wind and fire millions of years ago but today each cultivates welcoming splendor in its own right.

As of late, Hawaii has received reinvigorated media coverage given the island is President Obama’s birthplace and where he spent his formative years. How fitting that Obama’s philosophy coincides with exactly what the Hawaiian Islands represent – a beautiful blend and coexistence of different cultures, religions, races and lifestyles. But, let’s face it, the press seems more interested in where he surfs than his multicultural Hawaiian heritage. And of course, the Hawaiian islands, especially Oahu’s North Shore, are synonymous with surfing. Speaking of surfing, be sure to check out the CAN’T MISS features in this issue at the openers of each island. Starting with “Can’t Miss the Surf” on Oahu are my editor’s picks of the 6 quintessential experiences on each island.

Rock bottom deals are ubiquitous in the islands right now – some of which are highlighted in Edge DealsHawaiian Specials. So don’t waste any time in booking your next Hawaiian getaway.

Next issue, the last of the year, is a tribute to the City of Angels and the perfect place to enjoy the winter sun in the States – Los Angeles. I spent a week in LA, Santa Monica and Malibu in September and I can confidently say that all the Hollywood hype is warranted.

As this issue goes live, I’ll be flying over the Pacific Ocean to visit friends in Sydney, Broome then Melbourne for a month. Can’t wait to see everyone in Oz.

For now, aloha to the Hawaiian Islands!

Sincerely, Kimberly Rosbe
Editor at Large

EDITORIAL

Waikiki

Time After Time

Anything is possible on Waikiki Beach. Whether you love or hate this classic Honolulu melting pot, you have to appreciate THE SCENE. Locals surfing, cheeseburger stands, pigeons everywhere, packed in lily-white tourists baking in the Oahu sun, mega resorts at the beach’s edge – Waikiki Beach is a sight to behold. Although it certainly doesn’t have the allure it once did, at least you can safely proclaim, “Never know what’s going to happen!” on this legendary strip of sand. I like to call it Hawaii’s version of Vegas.

So although it’s definitely not my taste, when last in Oahu, I had to see for myself what all the Waikiki buzz was about. So we took a seat at the oceanfront lunchtime restaurant of the candy-pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel bang on the beach’s edge. Let’s be honest. We were surrounded by a world of tacky, sweaty, shockingly-dressed American tourists eating the most unhealthy food imaginable sitting on outdated cheap plastic lawn chairs with pigeons pecking away at scraps on the ground. I don’t know about you – but any place that has an abundance of pigeons horrifies me.

Royal Hawaiian HotelSo there we were sitting at the Royal Hawaiian completely stunned and nauseated by our surroundings when a dirty blond-haired and very disheveled woman in a bikini and sarong walked off the beach, went right up to the sad little restaurant band, whispered something in the guitarist’s ear and sat down at the mike. Then she started to sing. “Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick and think of you…” My companion exclaims, “Wow, that girl sounds a lot like Cyndi Lauper.”
I stood up, squinted and sat back down flabbergasted, “That IS Cyndi Lauper.” Slowly the crowd realized the same and a hush fell over the restaurant and nearby beach. She proceeded to belt out one of my all-time favourite songs, “Time After Time.” It was, no doubt, the best acoustic version of the song I’ve ever heard right there amidst all the people and pigeons. I later learned that she was singing a midnight concert that evening on New Years’s Eve in Honolulu to ring in 2008. When she was finished the song, she simply quietly walked back to the beach and her towel on the sand. As I said, you never know what’s going to happen on Waikiki Beach. Thank you, Cyndi, for that little moment of magic and the “suitcase of memories.”

FEATURE

Aloha Hawaiian Islands

OAHU

Surfing

CAN’T MISS THE SURF: The Banzai Pipeline. Sunset Beach. Haleiwa. The names that echo in surfer’s dreams. The beaches of Oahu’s North Shore epitomise the islands’ reputation as the surfing capital of the world, the mecca for fearless seafarers hoping to catch that perfect 30-foot wave. If you don’t have the guts to test your skill on the North Shore, head to Waikiki Beach for a private surfing lesson with the big kahuna himself, Clyde Aikau – the brother of the late surfing legend Eddie Aikau. Hawaiians have been teaching mainlanders to surf in Waikiki for a century – where better to learn?

Surfing

Oahu is home to the state capital of Honolulu and the aloha spirit embodied at world-famous Waikiki Beach. Oahu is the most cosmopolitan and urban of the Hawaiian Islands with a vibrant mix of ethnicities and cultures including Polynesian, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Puerto Rican. The sophisticated dining scene is concentrated in Honolulu but most hotels are clustered on the south shore around Waikiki. Oahu offers more than just a booming metropolis with abundant shopping, entertainment and cuisine. Just miles outside modern centers lie tropical green valleys little changed in thousands of years. Beyond popular and crowded Waikiki and Honolulu, venture ‘over the pali’ to the windward coast around Makapu’u Point to find deserted stretches of beaches, wild surf and a more leisurely way of life. Make your way up to Nu’uanu Pali Lookout for a sweeping view of the quiet windward side of the island.

First adventure of the day? Climb a volcano as the sun rises. Diamond Head Crater, the hulking hollow on the southern end of the Waikiki strand is the smallest volcano on the island rising a mere 760 feet above sea level and a relatively short walk under a mile up a paved trail to a panoramic view of the leeward side of Oahu. Next up, go down under, so to speak, at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve past Maunalua Bay, Hawaii’s most famous spot for snorkeling and enjoy a rainbow playground of reef inhabitants. For lunch, drive out to the North Shore grabbing a picnic at the sandwich shops in the tiny town of Haleiwa and camp out watching the experts catch wave after massive wave. The ride back to Honolulu takes you through pineapple fields between the Ko’olau and Wai’anae mountain ranges to Pearl Harbor. Pause to appreciate history as a US Navy shuttle boat transports visitors to the Arizona Memorial, the famous battleship sunk on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese attack which catapulted America into WWII. Back in Honolulu, tour the Iolani Palace, home to the reigning Hawaiian monarch Queen Lili’uokalani until her dethroning in 1893. Now restored to its original magnificence, it is one of only two royal palaces in the US.

Later that afternoon, nothing beats the excitement of an aerial tour of Oahu with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. I recommend the aptly named ‘Blue Skies’ tour, a 45-minute flight over hidden rain forests, lush valleys, beaches, waterfalls, Waikiki and Pearl Harbor. The perfect way to end a day in Oahu is watching the sunset. Take the glass elevator at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel to its 30th floor Hanohano Room, grab a seat at the bar, and drink in a breathtaking floor-to-ceiling view of Waikiki Beach twinkling in the moonlight. Follow with dinner at Alan Wong’s on King Street.

Oahu Hotels & Resorts: Kahala, Halekulani, Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Waikiki, JW Marriott Ihilani, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach, Hotel Renew (luxury boutique), Turtle Bay Resort (only luxury property on the North Shore)

MAUI

WA view

CAN’T MISS THE DRIVE: The Road to Hana is one of the greatest all-time drives in the world. Beginning at the surfer’s town of Paia, the 52-mile stretch of Maui’s barely two-lane Hana Highway takes you on a stomach-churning winding voyage through the dense jungle over 66 single-lane bridges and countless hairpin turns. Along the way are milepost markers and recommended stops to view waterfalls, mini cascades, eucalyptus groves, gardens and bamboo jungles. At the end, you’ll find the most remote and most heavily native Hawaiian place on Maui, the township of Hana. Continue on, however, for the most spectacular of Hana Highway’s natural landmarks including Wailua Falls, Ohe’o Gulch and the Seven Sacred Pools in Haleakala Naitonal Park.

Maui is my favourite of the Hawaiian islands as it encompasses the best of all worlds – the rawness of two volcanos in the center, modern resort communities on the south and west coasts, beautiful untouched upcountry and, of course, authentic east coast Hana and the road to get there personifying the essence of old Maui. And best of all come December, and truly unique to Maui, all eyes will be on the water for the annual return of an estimated 3,000 humpback whales that make Maui’s warm waters their winter home.

humpbackMaui should be divided into five days. Start your Maui time along the beach and resort-lined South Coast at your pick of the swanky, carefully manicured resorts in Ma’alaea, Kihei, Wailea or Makena each fronting gentle waters ideal for swimming. One of the coolest features of this area is the seaside footpath that connects the resorts and shops oceanside along Wailea. Drag yourself away from all this decadence for the 15 minute drive south to Makena Beach, otherwise known as the rock star of Maui’s golden strands. Take a snorkeling excursion to Molokini Crater, a marine conservation district only three miles off Makena. On Sundays, the clothing-optional side of Makena erupts into a Hawaiian party scene complete with fire dancers and drummers. While on this section of the island, begin Day Two as the sun rises over sprawling Haleakala volcano. If conditions are right, a natural phenomenon known as the Spectre of the Brocken can be seen when the sun shines through misting clouds to create a circular rainbow over the denser clouds in the crater below. If you are standing between the setting sun and the clouds, you’ll see your shadow appear in the center of the rainbow. For the adventurous, bike down from the volcano’s 10,000 foot summit. On the slopes below Haleakala are the grassy ranchlands and flower farms of upcountry Maui where a simpler way of life is a state of mind. Makawao, Kula, Keokea and Ulupalakua are all home to Maui’s oldest ranches where paniolo (cowboys) still ride the range. At Piiholo Ranch take a horseback ride through this peaceful countryside and learn about their traditions.

Day Three set out on the Road to Hana (described above.) The road is narrow, winding and will consume an entire day of driving and sightseeing. Also be prepared for road repair tie-ups. We had to wait over an hour while men tied to a cliff attempted to secure fallen rocks from a mud slide the night before. Rest your weary head at the beautiful Hotel Hana-Maui, a peaceful local run property of rustic sea cottages overlooking the rough east coast surf. The hotel is staffed almost exclusively by former plantation employees and their descendants. Their Friday night buffet luau is danced by a local family who have shared their performance at Hotel Hana for generations.

Day Four and Five dedicate getting to and exploring the west side of Maui. On the way you’ll spy Maui’s other volcanic mountain, Kahalawai, as well as Iao Valley. In their shadow along the coast is historic Lahaina’s town, shops and wharf and the famous resorts of Kahana, Ka’anapali, Napili and Kapalua where lava headlands extend into the sea sheltering beach-lined crescent coves. My personal choice is the Kapalua Oceanfront Gold Villas in the Ritz-Carlton compound within Kapalua at the northwest end of the island. The best beach is Omeloa Bay and a magical place to watch the sunset with cocktails is The Point in front of Merriman’s restaurant right over the ocean.

Maui hotels: Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Hotel Hana-Maui, Fairmont Kea Lani, Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Kapalua Villas, Hyatt Regency Maui, Grand Wailea Resort, Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Sheraton Maui Ka’anapali, Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort, Napili Kai Beach Club, Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, Destination Resorts Hawaii (vacation rentals)

HAWAII – THE BIG ISLAND

WA viewCAN’T MISS THE DANCE: Certainly the most widely recognised symbol of The Aloha State, the hula represents hundreds of years of Hawaiian history and culture. A set of carefully constructed movements which are more than just a beautiful dance, the hula is a vehicle for storytelling, a form of worship, and a way of life. The dances recount tales of gods, love stories, prayers, great chiefs and islanders’ voyages. Lacking a written language Hawaiians used the hula to record their history. But the dance was not to be taken lightly – one small misstep and the hula could rewrite history, a mistake punishable by death. Today, the most prestigious hula competition, Merrie Monarch Festival, is held at the Big Island’s sacred site called Pu’uhonua o Honaunau where visitors can watch the magic unfold.

lavaPolynesian legend claims the volcano goddess Pele gave birth to the Islands of Aloha. The Big Island of Hawaii, folklore says, is her latest and greatest creation. So grand indeed, that the best way to glimpse the Big Island is in small pieces. The island’s lush and rainy east side has Hilo, volcanic soil and serious humidity where flower farms are big business – Akatsuka Orchid Gardens and Green Point Nursuries are both a botanists’ wonderland. The island’s sumptuous playground lies on the sun-baked western Kohala Coast showcasing mega-resorts, ocean views and excellent dining. In between the two coasts and along the circumference, the soul of the Big Island is revealed.

Larger than twice the size of the other islands combined, The Big Island exerts its dominance under the watchful eye of two majestic mountains – one for stargazing and one for pyromania. Massive Mauna Kea in the center of the island is known for its colony of world-class observatories and some of the planet’s biggest telescopes. There devote an evening to studying the night sky alongside professional astronomers. (Tip – bring warm clothing. If Mauna Kea’s nickname “white mountain” is any guide, the 13,796-foot snowcapped summit is literally freezing.) Descend from the heavens into Pele’s fiery caldera, Kilauea – Volcanos National Park’s centerpiece and most popular attraction. Kilauea Caldera is the world’s most active volcano. First erupting in 1983, it has been belching red liquid fire and spewing glowing lava down its 4,000-foot slope to the Pacific continuously ever since. Crater Rim Drive skirts the edge of Halema’uma’u Crater, said to be Pele’s home. Follow Chain of Craters Road through the park’s moonscape to the sea, stopping for a picnic lunch on the 90-foot cliffs overlooking the spectacular Holei Sea Arch. Leave the park as you found it so as not to offend Pele’s fierce temper and be cursed eternally with her luckless love life.

Craving quintessential Hawaiian landscape? Look no farther than the Waipi’o Valley at the northernmost point of the island. Requiring a drive to the end of Highway 240, you’ll discover a narrow valley with gushing waterfalls, terraced taro fields and a mile-long black sand beach. Nearby to the east along Hawaii Belt Road is the most famous of the Big Island’s waterfalls, and conveniently, easily accessed. Akaka Falls tumbles 420 feet from the cliffs above. This area is also rich in history and mythology, best told via horseback with the experienced guides from Waipi’o Na’alapa Stables.

The Kohala Coast is likely where you’ll be spending your evenings, so during the day it is easy to explore the west coast. In the Kona district, Kailua Bay is where the Ironman triathletes begin their heroic race every October. Nearby is Kahalu’u Beach Park – rise early and you’ll be rewarded with a sea turtle sighting. To the south on Highway 11 make your way to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, a compound of three heiaus dating back to the 16th century and the best-preserved temple of refuge in the islands. Hail to the effigies of temple gods, witness a hula contest and soak up the Aloha spirit. Dinner is best spent oceanside at sunset – I recommend either the Mauna Lani Ocean Grill or the Four Seasons casually elegant Pahu l’a right on the beach.

Big Island Hotels: Four Seasons Hualalai, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Fairmont Orchid, Kona Village Resort, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Sheraton Keauhou Resort & Spa, Hilton Waikoloa Village

Smaller lodgings: Waianuhea Inn, Hilo Honu Inn, Aahtheviews, Waimea Gardens, Outrigger Fairway Villas, Shipman House

KAUAI

CAN’T MISS THE VIEW: Perhaps nothing represents the Hawaiian Islands’ natural power better than the view from the air of the Napali Coast. Fifteen impenetrable miles of coastline along Kauai’s northwest shore showcasing vertical seamounts falling into a necklace of white surf spray hugging black sand beaches below. The eleven-mile hike to The Cliffs is grueling, so best see the view from a helicopter. Jurassic Park here we come!

The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai has a promise of paradise to uphold. Aptly named the Garden Isle, Kauai is a feast of green tropical forests, golden sand beaches and cascading waterfalls with endless outdoor activities to tackle. The landscapes of Kauai are so unspoiled and authentic they have served as locations for more than 60 movies and television shows over the years. The natural beauty here is truly one-of-a-kind. So get outside and enjoy.

Hike Waimea Canyon in Koke’e State Park with its 40 miles of foot or horseback trails and see why its twisting rock formations inspired Mark Twain to call it the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific.’ Don’t miss Wailua Falls in the morning when rainbows undoubtedly will appear as sunlight paints the 80-foot waterfall into molten silver. Cruise the Fern Grotto, a natural fern-filled amphitheater, while being serenaded by Hawaiian musicians. Photograph Spouting Horn, a lava tube which forces spumes of surf 50 feet into the air at high tide. Sail along the dramatic Napali Coast (described above) with Caption Andy’s Sailing to see humpback whales, spinner dolphins and endangered turtles while being awestruck by the 914-meter oceanfront green-covered cliffs. Then take in a final vista from the historic lighthouse on the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge which protects such rare seabirds as the red-footed booby, the Laysan albatross and the nene, the Hawaiian state bird.

monk sealsIf you are very lucky, you might encounter one of Kauai’s 30 monk seals, the most endangered species on earth. If you are so blessed with this glorious sight, please keep a respectful distance of 100 feet or more and never use a flash.

The primary resort areas of Kauai are Princeville to the north, the Wailua coconut coast in the east and Po’ipu on the south coast. In general the north coast beaches are preferable for swimming in summer and surfing in winter and the south beaches reverse this rule. Nevertheless, many of Kauai’s beaches are dangerous with powerful undertows and fluctuating currents. Always inquire before swimming but usually the most popular safe beaches are Po’ipu, Hanalei Pier, Ha’ena and Kalapaki at Lihu’e.

Kauai’s resorts: St. Regis Princeville, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kahuna Valley Retreat, Kiahuna Plantation & The Beach Bungalows, Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club

Rentals and smaller properties: Pure Kauai (lavish private house rentals on the North Shore), Hideaway Cove Villas, Waimea Plantation Cottages, Kauai Country Inn, Aloha Sunrise and Aloha Sunset Cottages, Hanalei Colony Resort, Rosewood Kauai Vacation Rentals

LANAI

lanai
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

CAN’T MISS THE GAME: Sightings of whales from the cliff top fairways built on lava outcroppings – now this is the way to play golf. Lanai is known by pro-golfers around the world for its two unsurpassed championship golf courses. Both rightfully define the word awesome. The first is accessed near the Four Seasons Malele Bay and designed by none other than the king of golf himself Jack Nicklaus. The Challenge skirts the ocean for 18 dramatic holes taking your breath away at every pause. Try your best to make that tee shot over each gorge but plan to lose a few balls in the process – the Pacific Ocean is your water hazard. If you are still able to swing a club after a round, head upcountry to The Experience designed by Australian legend Greg Norman. Drastically different than its sister down below, Norman’s course is surrounded by lush green and wooded slopes with manicured bunkers and much cooler temperatures. Absorb in wonder its signature hole Number 17, teeing off from a 250-foot elevated fairway. Even I, golf neophyte, appreciated how my ball hung in the air over the 17th before disappearing forever into the lake below.


Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

Flying into Lanai and landing in the middle of a large volcanic crater known as Palawai Basin, you’ll wonder if you have been recruited to an episode of Lost (incidentally the TV series was shot in the Hawaiian Islands). Arriving you’ll find merely one tiny town, Lanai City, a virtual time machine to the island’s pineapple plantation heritage, two deluxe properties and lots of wide open spaces renowned for deserted pristine beaches, mountainous terrain and dense pine forests. Until 1990, Lanai was essentially a pineapple plantation until Four Seasons came to town. Overnight the rural island suddenly attracted a jet set clientele desperately seeking serenity and solitude. The two Four Seasons resorts are quite different and occupy contrasting geographies of the island. Manele Bay rests on the southern tip of the island beachside and The Lodge at Koele is in green upcountry, where I stayed on Lanai. In town, there are only three other lodging options: Hotel Lanai, a 1920s country inn with 11 rooms in town; Hale Moe, a Lanai native’s modest but immaculate 3 bedroom, 3 bath home to rent; or Hale O Lanai, another humble vacation home for rent three minutes walk from Lanai City’s main street.

For recreation amongst all this solitude, rent a 4WD and explore the island. First stop the lunar landscapes of Keahikawelo, otherwise known as the Gardens of the Gods. Try to visit during the early morning or late evening when the sun’s rays illuminate red and purple hues on the landscape. Drive to Kaiolohia Bay and hike down to Shipwreck Beach for some of the island’s best and most interesting beachcombing – the rusting hull of a World War II ship sits offshore. One of the most spectacular vantage points in all of Hawaii, Lana’ihale, is from the top of an eight-mile trek on the Munro Trail. Reaching the summit on a clear day you can see five other Hawaiian islands. Last Lanai must do is snorkeling in the protected Hulopo’e Beach Park then back to your luxurious digs at the Four Seasons for dinner.

MOLOKAI

CANT MISS THE RIDE: More than a century ago, the Belgian priest Father Damien took a pilgrimage to the Kalaupapa settlement to minister to the lepers banished to Molokai’s isolated peninsula. In the mid 1860’s, Kalaupapa became a place of exile for those afflicted with Hansen’s Disease. Today, embark upon the Molokai Mule Ride for the 26-mile switchback trail cut into the cliffs that segregate this peninsula from the rest of Molokai.

Molokai

Considered the most authentically Hawaiian chain, Molokai is the only island with a complete absence of big resorts, fancy shops and the company of tourists. Molokai has, in fact, escaped commercialism’s foothold on the other islands and old Hawaii charmingly prevails here. Roads are few, two-lane and generally empty. The native islanders with a population of a mere 6,500 people don’t have an appetite for modern conveniences and prefer to practice tradition. Experience a trip back in time on this unpopulated 38-mile long backwater to discover empty beaches, serenity and the Hawaii of yore amidst lush, untamed outdoor beauty.

My advice? Bring film. Molokai possesses awesome natural wonders such as the 60-plus rock wall fishponds that line the island’s South Shore and the unspoiled wilderness of the Kamakou Preserve. Along the North Coast, the world’s tallest sea cliffs plunge over 3,000 feet into the crashing surf below. The eastern half of the island is a jumble of mountains up to Kamakou Point forming a conglomeration of dense vegetation, exotic flowers, green canyons and abundant waterfalls. Arrange a hike in Halawa Valley, a steep lush jungle with 250-foot Moa’ula Falls at its head. Western Molokai boasts the best beaches in the state which are virtually empty. Papohaku Beach Park is the best one with three miles of yellow sand. Also not to be missed is the ancient temple site of Ili’ili’opae Heiau. Travelers wary of urban resorts will find respite, relaxation and recreation on Molokai before returning reluctantly to the 21st century.

Molokai is reached via small aircraft on inter-island flights, or by ferry from Lahaina, Maui (departing 7:15 am returning 6 pm daily, Lahaina Cruise Company). The channel connecting Maui and Molokai is renowned for its extremely rough crossing, so expect a roller coaster ride. Once on the island a rental car is a must. Accommodations on the island are limited to one hotel, various small inns, bed and breakfasts, condos and private house rentals the most of which are clustered in west Molokai and along the South Shore.

Molokai lodgings: My pick is Paniolo Hale condominiums on the northwestern tip which are set amid mature trees, have ocean views and wraparound oak floor verandas. Other options are Pu’u O Hoku Ranch, Dunbar Beachfront Cottages, Wavecrest and Ke Noni Kai condos.

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Best Hawaiian Luaus

  1. Old Lahaina Luau – Sold out weeks in advance, this Maui classic on Front Street begins as the sun sets over the wharf. Visitors gather around an imu as the pig is removed as well as learn traditional hula dances and chanting.1251 Front Street, Lahaina, Maui
  2. Gathering of the Kings – Combining the Big Island’s culinary treats with a spectacular Polynesian production every Tuesday and Saturday, this luau retells the story of the settlement of the Pacific.
    The Fairmont Orchid, Kohala Coast, Big Island
  3. Paradise Cove Luau – It doesn’t get any closer to authentic hula at the tranquil opening of each performance at Paradise Cove. Then the fun starts. Audiences get to participate in makahiki games like spear throwing and dart sliding to work up an appetite. Their Shower of Flowers is a dream-like highlight. Watch skilled climbers ascend into the trees over a white sand beach then spread a floral cascade.
    Alii Nui Dr., Kapolei, Oahu
  4. Wailele Polynesian Luau – The show at the Westin Maui’s Aloha Pavilion boasts a spell-binding fire knife dance elaborately choreographed by a former Samoan knife dancing champion. Dinner is family-style and Mai Tai drinks are free-flowing.
    Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Maui
  5. Waikiki Starlight Luau – Rooftop at the Hilton on Oahu at Waikiki Beach, this moonlit luau you can dine and dance the night away. You’ll be greeted by live music and a lei then the games begin. Pineapple toss, coconut carving, tattoo station, hula lessons then dinner buffet.
    Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, Oahu
hula

EDGE PHOTO COMPETITION

jackie pataki

Edge Around the World

Congratulations to Jackie Pataki who is the winner of the October Edge Around the World Photo Competition. This photo of Jackie and Rob Pataki and Viv and Rubin Muller was taken at the entrance to Machu Picchu representing their triumphant journey along the Inca Trail in Peru.

For our well-traveled clients, keep your entries coming. Next issue coming out beginning of December, our favourite client’s photo will be chosen and featured in GETAWAY and receive a gorgeous travel prize. For consideration for the December issue, entries must be received by November 10th. (details below)

Simply shoot and win! Executive Edge Travel & Events continues its all-client worldwide competition with exciting bi-monthly travel prizes. Everyone can participate and has a chance to win. Only three simple steps to enter:

  1. Book your trip with Executive Edge Travel.
  2. Take a photo in a fantastic unique location of you or your family which clearly displays the Executive Edge white travel wallet or other Edge promotional material. The better the background, the more spectacular the setting, the more likely you will be chosen.
  3. Email your photo, name and location to our Office Manager Athina Morfis at athinam@executiveedge.com.au

EDGE TRAVEL

Oman Travel Diary
by Yvonne Verstandig

oman

“When you see the parachute filled with air directly above your head, take a few steps and jump off the mountain!” These were the words of the Bulgarian paraglider whose hands I was about to place my life into. What a way to enter a resort! I don’t think any other resort offers paragliding as one of their arrival options. But this is not just any other resort. Welcome to Six Senses Zighy Bay. A magical retreat nestled in an isolated cove on the Musandam Peninsula on the northern tip of Oman. Accessible from the Dubai International Airport by a two-hour 4WD transfer through the Arabian desert, past camels and desert goats and the occasional Bedouin village, we enter Zighy Bay via a steep mountain ascent.

This resort is like nothing I’ve seen before in all my travels. It resembles a traditional Omani village with villas that look like Omani dwellings, even with a small summer house located outside of the villa at the front of each block. I awake at 6:30 am. I was fighting sleep as something stirred in me….I was drawn to our summer house, to sit on the cushions on the floor with the smaller window open to the sea. It was so peaceful as I quietly sat in absolute solitude watching the sun rise over the ocean. The sky was still dark as the night was being pushed away by the early hours of the day and the sun was slowly creeping over the horizon. The rugged mountains that sit as the backdrop behind the resort were taking on the red hues of the sun as it was pulling dawn in. Another perfect day in paradise.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay offers its guests a peaceful haven in rustic luxury. The resort is one of the masterpieces of Eva and Sonu Shivdasani. Located in a secluded fishing village Eva designed a resort with 82 pool villas where you have complete privacy to enjoy the luxuries of your villa with access to your own private butler. Some of the experiences that need to be witnessed first hand, that is besides the paraglide arrival, is yoga on the rooftop of the gym as the sun is setting, a guided trek up one of the mountains through an ancient village and then down into “smuggler’s cove” where a speed boat awaits to whisk you off along the rugged coastline, 4WD and wadi adventures. If adventure is not your thing then just relax and enjoy your villa and the turquoise water of the Musandam Peninsula. Finishing off your day with a very special dinner at “Dining on the Edge” – a truly incredible outdoor dining experience. This restaurant is located at the top of one of the Zighy mountains at 293 metres high offering organic world cuisine overlooking the resort and this secluded fishing village.

What an introduction to Oman. I didn’t want to leave but what lay ahead was something that totally took me by surprise. From Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa at Zighy Bay we flew to Muscat, the capital city of Oman. The sultanamat of Oman is still a bit of a mystery…a country that has so much to offer the avid traveller who is interested in a true travel experience and one that is not yet overrun by tourists. How refreshing! The capital city, Muscat, is a unique and beautiful city. Regulations prohibit buildings higher than six stories high, so each area resembles a Greek island village with its whitewashed low-rise structures with a hint of Morocco in architectural design. The dramatic scenery is varied with a coast that looks like Hawaii, or in one area, I could have sworn we were kayaking through the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. The city not only offers a stunning backdrop with its varied landscape but also offers its visitors museums, souqs, mosques, forts, frankincense, the fabled Armouage perfume and a coastline perfect for scuba or snorkeling.

From the coast to the rugged mountains then onto the wild wadis where thrill seakers can absail down or trek for hours through the sandstone cliffs admiring the natural pools of turquoise water, a true oasis! Sand dunes are abundant for sand duning, sand boarding, camel safaris or an overnight Bedouin experience (or for those with a bigger budget, try the luxury tented camping desert experience.)

oman

Beyond Muscat is Nizwa, Oman’s former capital city. This is a must visit with any itinerary to Oman set around spending Friday in Nizwa. To experience the Nizwa market is one thing, but to be there on a Friday is taking on a whole new perspective. Friday is the day for the goat and cattle market. Shepherds come from all the nearby mountain villages to sell and buy their cattle. I was awestruck standing amongst hundreds of Omani men of all ages, from young kids to old grey-bearded men with walking sticks and missing teeth dressed in their local “dishdashers” and head gear. The Bedouin women also came along to make purchases in their colourful dress. Some wore the protective head gear which was a interesting sight watching them being pulled along by their recent cattle purchase.

Beyond Muscat, Nizwa, the wild wadis and the magnificent sand dunes, Oman still offers more…from turtle reserves to canyons and then heading further south, just a plane trip away is Salalah…another enchanting city to visit while exploring this unique and undiscovered land.

Kuala Lumpur Travel Diary
by Sonia Ware

Our vacation started with a relaxing family holiday over Easter school holidays to Cherating Beach Club Med and ended with a racy shopping and eating extravaganza on our Kuala Lumpur stopover on the return. We stayed at Traders Hotel (a Shangri-La property) on a recommendation from a close family friend and we couldn’t have asked for anything better. Great location with a view of Petronas Towers just like on all the postcards and the huge city centre park at our door step ideal for people watching whilst the kids played. The intoxicating views from the ultra-mod Sky Bar, recently touted by Vogue as the hottest place to drink, were well worth the hype. The hotel even offered a buggy ride to KLCC which my son loved. Finally, we were right next door to Aquaria KLCC home to the famous “Dr. Fish” who eat off all the dead skin of your feet! Lucky we are in Malaysia and not Brazil!

Despite its endless attributes, yes, we did leave the hotel. The food in KL really is fantastic. You can choose anything from cheap hawker-style laska to Madam Kwans (chain style eatery BUT with the all time best sambal) to Delicious Cafè close to the hotel. Delicious Cafè may have been our favourite dining experience in KL. Amazing modern decor and tantalizing mains followed by desserts that live up to the name of the restaurant. Even the espresso martini was extra good. The staff were all very friendly and extremely accommodating helping babysit our children while the adults had another martini to the backdrop of a live jazz singer.

The next morning we were up bright and early for (a run around the park – NOT ) the hotel’s fabulous breakfast then off to shop. Since my last shopping jaunt 4 years ago in KL, a new even bigger, brighter and glitzier area has appeared on the block called The Pavilion. OH YES what a great place to shop it out! I mean really I don’t know of any other shopping plaza where you can buy a laska then buy a Jag (no, not the old time Australian clothes brand) or a Bentley at that?! I think that should just about sum up KL.The only question I have is when can I go again?

EDGE GOLD LIST

5 Worldwide Hikes
Commentary by Heike Schwarz

1 – Nakasendo Way, JAPAN

This wasn’t strenuous walking so we were able to focus more on the cultural aspects of Japan and its Ryokans. Trekking through beautiful countryside combined with sampling fine regional cuisine and daily stays in awesome Ryokans where I felt truly immersed into daily Japanese life.

Walk Japan’s official description: The Nakasendo Way tour by Walk Japan.com provides clients with a fascinating insight into the world of feudal Japan, the samurai and village life today. Hikers start in the ancient capital of Kyoto and gently make their way through rural Japan and the central mountains to Tokyo. They follow some of the most enjoyable and best-preserved parts of the old highway. En route clients stay in beautiful old inns, enjoy fine regional cuisine and share life with the Japanese, some of the most polite and friendliest people in the world. Walk Japan rates this as a Level 2 walk which is suitable for anyone who is an occasional hiker and can walk three to four hours in comfort.

2 – Andes Adventure, S. AMERICA

After savouring the historical and cultural highlights of Cusco with its small cobblestone streets, eateries and the wonders of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, we commenced our trek. The stunning trails were very quiet and we never saw another soul except a few villagers whom we exchanged salt and gifts with. We were spoiled with extraordinary views of the Cordillera Blanca and fabulous food prepared by our very own cook.

World Expeditions’ official description: The soaring peaks of the Andes and the cultural legacies of the Incas are two of Peru’s most compelling attractions. World Expeditions reveals both and much more on this amazing two-week adventure. Hikers explore the wilderness following trails to 5,000 metres in the Cordillera Vilcabamba and establish camps beneath the 6,220 metre Mount Salcantay. This stunning trail is much quieter than the busier Inca Trail and is highly regarded by past trekkers. On the final day hikers join the classic Inca Trail for the dramatic view of Machu Picchu from the ‘Sun Gate’. Rather than rushing back to Cusco, many spend a night in Aguas Calientes for a well deserved soak in the hot springs before heading back to Machu Picchu at the best time of day, as the sun is rising.

3 – Larapinta Trail, AUSTRALIA

The Outback at its BEST. We slept in swags around a campfire yet were spoiled by coffee in bed! Food prepared on the open fire was fantastic which makes bonding with your fellow trekkers even easier. The walking on remote trials in the Australian landscape wasn’t as difficult as it was hot. Still the experience was extraordinary.

Epicurious Travel’s official description : The Larapinta trail weaves through the spectacular backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to one of the highest peaks in Australia’s Red Centre, Mt Sonder. It covers a variety of terrains from exposed ridge lines with exhilarating views to lush sheltered gorges, dry river valleys and secluded waterholes. Camp sites are in stunning locations with fine dining and swags under the stars.

4 – Druk Path, BHUTAN

High altitude trekking across remote passes between alpine mountains and semitropical forest with stunning views of snowcapped peaks and Bhutanese culture present everywhere. The trek itself was not too difficult but still challenging as it was 4,000 metres high and altitude sickness did befall some of us. As luck would have it, we were blessed by a resident monk and his pupils in a very small old monastery along the way. They chanted prayers and played on their old instruments inspiring us to continue on to the end.

Official description: The Druk Path trek is a short, relatively easy trek from Paro to Thimphu or the other way round (Thimpu to Paro). In clear weather the views of the Himalayas are breathtaking. The Druk Path goes as high as 13,000 feet past fresh water lakes abundant with trout. Flowering rhododendron and high altitude wild flowers make this a colourful trail in the spring.

5 – Annapurna Sanctuary, NEPAL

The trail took us through fascinating traditional villages of Nepal’s ethnic communities of the Gurung, Magar, and Thakali who greeted us very warmly. We encountered outstanding snowcapped mountain views of the Annapurna and Dhulagiri’s ranges and stopped at two hot springs along the way where we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery while bathing.

Official description: The combination of pretty villages and farmland set against the panorama of high peaks beyond makes this one of the most picturesque of treks. After exploring the inner sanctuary the group follows high ridges to Ghorepani. A predawn start for the walk up to Poon Hill is rewarded by inspirational views of Dhaulagiri and the Annapurnas.