Erena Takekawa is a native of Oahu and has been with Halekulani since 1987. One of our long-serving Concierges, Erena is a proud member of Les Clefs-d’Or, the renowned and exclusive International Association of Hotel Concierges.
What makes Honolulu special to you?
I love Honolulu, because it has a little bit of everything. We have great restaurants, the best shopping, cultural and historical venues – all within a 5-mile radius.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Honolulu?
I love our local craft fairs and open markets. We have an abundance of great, local designers and crafts people on the island. And with the growing popularity of our markets, it’s easier than ever to obtain fresh produce and locally prepared foods.
Which are your favorite local Honolulu restaurants?
There are so many great restaurants in Honolulu. I love Alan Wong’s. His restaurants are a real celebration of local cuisine. Chef Chai just opened a second restaurant in Waikiki. They have delicious, regionally inspired food. In Kailua, about a 30-minute drive from Halekulani, is Baci Bistro. It’s a charming restaurant serving fresh Italian food and great desserts. Also on that side of the island, in Kaneohe is Haleiwa Joes at Haiku Gardens. It’s a casual restaurant with great, fresh seafood specials, prime rib and massive mai tais.
What would be your perfect day in Honolulu?
Recently, I had a perfect mother’s day weekend. We were up early and rented a stand up paddle board, and paddled into the waves at Waikiki. Then we had a champagne brunch at Hula Grill. After brunch we headed out to the only marine preserve in Waikiki to snorkel. After a little nap we went to Ruth’s Chris for dinner.
The next day we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast buffet at House Without a Key. We later took a tradewind sail aboard the MaiTai Catamaran. It was such a beautiful way to see Waikiki. We even saw dolphins! The day was spent lounging by the pool and swimming in the ocean. We enjoyed Japanese food from Doraku at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center for an early dinner.
I know that’s two days, but both were really perfect.
If you’re looking for great food in beautiful, serene setting, then try Haleiwa Joes at Haiku Gardens. Its casual ambiance makes it a popular spot for locals and visitors, and their Sunday brunch is an island favorite.
The freshness of the food at Baci Bistro turns diners into regulars. The sauces bring out the flavors of the meal, and the fresh ravioli at this Italian restaurant is made daily. Located in Kailua, people make the half-hour trip for the tiramisu alone.
Doraku means “The road to happiness” and the restaurant lives up to its name. Walking distance from Halekulani, it’s a great place for a casual drink with friends, while enjoying inventive sushi, fusion-inspired meals and an extensive selection of sake and cocktails.