Halekulani's heavenly renovation

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WAIKIKI, Hawaii -- The road to heaven should not be easy.

So it makes sense that on a recent weekend getaway, my husband and I had to navigate this city's garish Lewers Street before arriving at Halekulani, which in Hawaiian means "house befitting heaven."

Guests at the Oahu property are welcomed with a plate of papaya and Halekulani chocolates. These aren't candies bought at Long's Drug Store. They're made in the hotel's bakery -- one of many reasons why this five-star hotel is such a popular venue for wedding receptions.

Beyond service, a recently completed $20 million renovation left Halekulani with a new spa, the latest technology and fresh room interiors. The 456 guest rooms were brightened with white and off-white carpeting, love seats and bedspreads. Most rooms overlook a mosaic pool and one of the finest stretches of Waikiki Beach.

I found the bathroom impressive, with its granite countertops, deep soaking tub and separate glassed-in shower with thermostatic controls.

A bath, and then mai tais and snacks, seemed in order. Room service soon delivered jumbo shrimp and colorful drinks.

We took our bounty outside on the spacious lanai, where we could see the jagged peak of Diamond Head.

But so much attention to service and decoration doesn't mean Halekulani has skimmed over modern necessities.

The property also features complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access, room lights that work from a bedside control panel and a clock that changes time zones with the press of a button.

A renovated hospitality suite equipped with computers enables guests to check their e-mail while enjoying Danishes and croissants.

It's niceties like these that distinguish Halekulani from the rest of the properties on Waikiki.

Room key: Halekulani
Address:
2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu 96815-1988
Phone: (800) 367-2343
Web: www.halekulani.com
Rates: Range from $325 per night for a garden room to $520 for a Diamond Head oceanfront. Junior ocean suites start at $750 per night, and two-bedroom Diamond Head suites start at $1,725. Inquire about the Royal Suite and the Presidential Suite, each 3,120 square feet and with a private elevator and butler service.
Amenities: Functions space totals 8,500 square feet. The ballroom holds 350 for banquets and 600 for receptions. The hotel also has its own flower shop and a staff of six decorators, so wedding parties get only the freshest foliage.
Noteworthy: The mosaic pool was created with more than 1 million imported glass tiles.
Not worthy: Located in a congested part of Waikiki.

To contact reporter Katherine Nichols, send e-mail to [email protected].

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