The Artistic New Kid on the Block: Surfjack Hotel Opens on Waikiki Beach
PHOTO: Matthew Tapia is a local self-taught lettering and graphic artist who hand-painted the “Wish You Were Here” illustration at the bottom of the pool. (Photo courtesy of Surfjack Hotel)
Located on the South Shore of the Honolulu beachfront neighborhood is the famous Waikiki Beach, arguably Hawaii’s most famous Riviera scene, where cruise ships breezily sail into and where celebrities have long since gotten a gorgeous tan or several.
Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club opened its doors in this neighborhood late March, and has been making waves as the artistic new kid on the block, with its signature tiled “Wish You Were Here” Pool and unmistakable retro style. This is the sort of place that Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) in “Mad Men” would have felt at home in.
READ MORE: The Perfect 48 Hours In Oahu
While retro has always been in style, it seems, there are details that Surfjack pays attention to that really help you get into the vibe of Hawaii, without being too cliched. The design-driven hotel, which aims to capture the laid-back vibe of a mid-century aloha spirit has custom wallpapers as well as mirrors, and an artistic nook almost everywhere.
To bring the outdoors indoors, there is a mural inspired by the flow of water, custom lamps, and even a wooden wave mural created with a husband-and-wife theme. The hotel itself is housed in a 1960s-era building, and since we all live in an age where “local is king,” there is locally sourced reclaimed wood, and aloha fabrics by the designer Tori Richard.
If you’re thinking a vibe that is a mix of the modern “Blue Crush” (there are world-class surfing conditions a few blocks away) and the classic “Waikiki Wedding” — a movie that came out in 1934 — you are not far off.
Add to the mix a good dining scene, with chef Ed Kenney (who has three other restaurants in the Kaimuki area) debuting his first restaurant in the Waikiki area called Mahina & Sun’s, which was designed by The Vanguard Theory, a boutique design studio that has also designed Turtle Bay resort and Disney’s Aulani spa.
And last but not least, let’s talk about where people actually stay. The 112 rooms spread across 10 floors were inspired by the surf bungalows of Oahu’s North Shore, and designed by Studio Collective. So think: a bespoke coffee table with ceramic tiles, a media console with decorative inlays, and everything else that gives you a real sense of place, from Koa carvings, dream-catchers and vintage Hawaiian postcards framed in glass.
That’s a lot of style value for rooms that start at $199.
If that were not “island” enough for you, enjoy (within reason) long showers, which have soothing natural cobblestone surfaces and have a massage-like quality.
Rooms come in all shapes and sizes, from one-room bungalows to many bedroom suites. Rates from $199-$800.
More by Charu Suri
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