Beach + Island

Last-Minute Escapes: Beach Vacations

For the Swimmer: Waikiki and the North Shore, Oahu

Waikiki Beach isn’t exactly a hidden gem, but its classic hotel palace, the Halekulani (pictured), has just had a major overhaul: Rooms are brighter and whiter, and the spa and restaurant have been reborn (808-923-2311; doubles from $465). Devote a day or two to spending time in the water and people-watching along the bustling strand. Then drive to the North Shore, where the beaches are backed by hills so green that they look almost Irish. In summer, the sea is calm and flat—great for long, leisurely swims (it’s so rough in winter that only experienced surfers venture in). All that exercise will make you hungry: For lunch, try Sakai of Hawaii, opening in July at the DFS Waikiki shopping center; it’s the first café outside Japan for Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai, famed for such French-inspired creations as pâté-filled choux and plum granitas (330 Royal Hawaiian Ave.; phone and prices unavailable at press time).

Photograph courtesy Halekulani Hotel

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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