Waikiki's Newest Sensation
PHOTO: The pool at the new Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Waikiki.
The newly opened art-infused Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club adds a new dimension to Waikiki’s evolving renaissance, and has emerged on the scene as a singularly different boutique hotel exuding a cool vintage personality paired with laid-back neighborhood character. Reminiscent of the fashionable character of Honolulu, nothing about this four-star property is mainstream. And that’s its goal: personalization and uniqueness over the standardization of its big-brand competitors.
The u-shaped hotel, which is tucked away on Lewer Street off Kuhio Avenue, reflects the youthful spirit of the 60s’ beach culture. Its ground-level lobby is designed around the pool, which has quickly become the most photographed in Hawaii thanks to its “Wish You Were Here” mosaic on the bottom. The property’s 112 vintage-inspired one- and two-room bungalows, which can be combined into three-bedroom suites, are appointed with modern amenities.
One of the Surfjack’s most compelling attributes is that it reflects a steadfast commitment to engaging visitors with some of Honolulu’s most creative and wildly talented artists. “The Surfjack’s goal is to give artists, visionaries and authentic Hawaii voices a space to share their work,” says Lynette Eastman, the Surfjack’s general manager. “Many folks from our community had a hand in creating this vision to embody the laid-back spirit of mid-century aloha.”
Aloha textile designs were created for guestroom headboards and restaurant banquettes by designer Tori Richard; handcrafted wallpaper was designed by Honolulu-born Andrew Mau; a living fern installation came from Kakaako’s Paiko, a neighborhood botanical boutique; and the previously mentioned hand-painted lettering at the bottom of the pool was the work of Hawaii-born Matt Tapia.
In May the hotel opened Mahina & Sun’s Restaurant, whose chef is four-time James Beard nominee Ed Kenney, a pioneer of the field-to-fork culinary movement in Hawaii. “It’s blue-jeans and tee-shirts simple yet elevated home cooking with a focus on local, organic produce and sustainable seafood,” says Kenney.
The Surfjack also has welcomed Ali McMahon and Parker Moosman, founders of the Olive & Oliver Boutique and in-house coffee bar. The husband and wife team handpick each item for their boutique, searching out inspiration from Waikiki’s iconic surf culture. “We asked Ali and Parker if they’d like to open a shop in Waikiki – they have a great connection to the community – and they embraced the vision and agreed,” says Eastman. “Being associated with people like Parker and Ali, who are so credible, helps us create something really special for our guests and to stand out from big-name brand competitors."
The focal point of the property is the Swim Club, the venue to enjoy live music, story sessions, fi lm screenings, craft cocktails and Ed Kenney’s delicious cuisine. “We want people to come to Mahina & Sun’s even if it’s just to have some pupu or a cup of Surfjack’s special coffee blend, to casually enjoy the restaurant, which is integrated into the pool space,” says Eastman.
She notes that the ongoing creation of the Surfjack is unquestionably a team eff ort. “The Surfjack is the result of our hardworking team and our collaborators who have allowed us to tell a new story in Hawaii. True Hawaiian hospitality is about treating our guests as if they were part of our ohana (family) and the Surfjack does exactly that,” says Eastman. “We’re not a luxury hotel where you have to get dressed up and be formal – this is a place to come and relax in your slippers and board shorts. Guests can expect to enjoy special, curated experiences here, which they cannot find at any other property.”
Thanks to the continued evolution of the Waikiki experience – as evidenced in the new Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club – this Honolulu beachfront neighborhood remains as vibrant and exciting as ever. Leaders like Eastman bring an enduring dedication and passion to their work, and continually raise the bar on how we collectively share the Hawaii experience from the inside out.
For more information, talk to your trusted local travel professional, visit surfjack.com/hotel or call 855-945-4082.
WHO TO BOOK – AND WHY
The Surfjack is a perfect fit for younger travelers - or those young at heart - who are eager to immerse themselves in the local lifestyle and seek social environments that are rich in sensory experiences.
The hotel hosts monthly events, including parties with well-known local and national DJs, film screenings, and get-togethers with local and visiting artists, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, architects, professors and chefs. The property will also soon unveil an Artist in Residence program.
Ongoing experiences that are open to the public include Pacific Vibrations (weekly live music of rotating musicians, played at the Swim Club) and Mahina Lounge (weekly live music of rotating musicians, played on Mahina & Sun's lanai).
The hotel can arrange an eclectic array of experiences for guests, from surf lessons with a local surf culture historian provided by Clips Hawaii, to a neighborhood tour of Honolulu’s architecture.
More by Stacey Barbara Martin
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A version of this article appears in print in the July 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.
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