I always find a beachy answer to an urban dilemma. If I am working in Milan, I make sure to stop in Capri; if it’s Hong Kong, I go to Phuket. So after toiling in Los Angeles this November, I made my regular pit stop in Hawaii. My grandparents used to stay at the Kahala in Honolulu (kahalaresort.com) for a week every February so I grew up vacationing here. Now I stay at the Halekulani (halekulani.com). After arriving I immediately head out for some late-night shopping. The high-end stores don’t close until 11 p.m. and some others stay open all night. I indulge my orange addiction with some tangerine-colored flip-flops at Hermès. Then I hit shops like Bailey’s (alohashirts.com) and Avanti (avantishirts.com) for vintage Hawaiian shirts and fabrics (bonus: at Avanti there is a picture of Sharon Stone in Michael Kors, circa 1985, on the wall) and I never miss ABC, the Duane Reade of Hawaii, for tropically themed sundries. It’s like Trader Vic’s.
The next day I am on Waikiki Beach, which is great for wacky people-watching. Have lunch back at the hotel at Orchids and at night meet friends at Hula’s (hulas.com), a classic gay bar where they play vintage runway show videos, including mine! The next day we visit Shangri La, Doris Duke’s place (shangrilahawaii.org). Here is a gal who understood the idea of the mix: Middle Eastern tiles, Islamic art, and tropical glamour! Back to the hotel for a sunset mai tai at the House Without a Key bar and then dinner at La Mer. The next morning we take a helicopter to the Big Island. I am always jonesing for a good shopping excursion, but at the King’s Pond at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (fourseasons.com) I’m happy to just snorkel among the stingrays. That, for me, is a major accomplishment.