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A guest post from Kendra Thornton, travel expert and mom.

What do you remember about your visit to Honolulu? Is it the surfing lessons you took? Perhaps it is that day you went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and found out why you need to reapply sunscreen. Or maybe, like me, you enjoyed just hanging loose, taking in the scenery lounging by the crystal clear pool with a Mai Tai or two.

I think it is was all due to the exceptional experience I had at the Halekulani Hotel. Everyone knows that Waikiki is covered in hotels. There are many to choose from — some more expensive, some historic, and some relative bargains. Halekulani means, “house befitting heaven,” and it is true. I hope heaven is a lot like the Halekulani.

The main building of the hotel was a home built in 1883. Recently the hotel has undergone a breathtaking renovation that preserved the integrity of the historic portions of the building while adding modern elegance throughout, including each guest room. Truly, this is a heavenly resort.

But the interior of the hotel cannot compare with the exterior. The white sands and warm, clear waters of Waikiki beckon as does the stunning Halekulani pool which is a work of art — a tile mosaic creates an orchid beneath the heated waters. And every evening you can sit back and enjoy an authentic Hawaiian hula performance, not the usual luau fare featuring Samoan fire dancers and tourists attempting Tahitian hula. If you are looking for a genuine, relaxing, Hawaiian vacation, the Halekulani is the place to be.

From the pool or even the hotel room, I could also see gorgeous views of Diamond Head. Without a doubt watching the sun set over Diamond Head while sipping on a Mai Tai is something to remember. Maybe that is why I asked for the Halekulani Mai Tai recipe.

Halekulani Mai Tai

  • 1/3 ounce orgeat syrup
  • 1/3 ounce orange curacao
  • 1/3 ounce rock candy syrup
  • 3/4 ounce Bacardi Gold rum
  • 3/4 ounce Bacardi 151 rum
  • 1 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce Bacardi Select
  • various garnishes, including lime, sugar cane, mint leaves, and orchids

• Build cocktail over crushed ice, and float with Bacardi Select rum.
• Garnish with lime wheel, sugar cane stick, mint leaf, and Vanda orchid.

There you have it – your very own Mai Tai treat straight from the Islands. What I found out that what you’re eating is just as important as where you rest your head at night in Honolulu. Some of my best travels I have done are shared over a fabulous meal with wonderful people. Enjoy!

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