One of Hawaii’s most iconic and popular restaurants is open once again after an extensive revitalization and expansion. The newly reopened venue in Waikiki, Halekulani’s House Without A Key, pays tribute to the golden age of travel.
“House Without A Key’s meticulous renovations will ensure and preserve our iconic traditions and relevance as we embark upon our second century of providing gracious hospitality, continuing to deliver legendary experiences for all who walk through our doors,” said Peter Shaindlin, Chief Operating Officer of Halekulani Corporation. “Halekulani Corporation and our ownership, Mitsui Fudosan, are committed to sustaining Halekulani’s unmatched standards of excellence, as well as its distinguished and world-renowned reputation, for decades to come.”
House Without A Key
Halekulani’s House Without A Key has long been celebrated as a premier oceanfront destination for live Hawaiian entertainment, traditional hula performances, and sunset cocktails. The indoor/outdoor restaurant has been completely transformed to complement the sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean, Diamond Head, and the hotel’s 135-year-old Kiawe Tree, while paying homage to Hawaii’s golden age of travel.
Nod To Famous Novelists
The revitalization includes a new, dramatic entry experience which will include a rare, first edition of the 1925 novel House Without A Key by Earl Derr Biggers, the first of the Charlie Chan mysteries. In honor of the acclaimed 20th-century novelist, House Without A Key will feature a new shaded outdoor bar named “Earl’s.”
It also offers a nod to the legendary Ernest Hemingway. The novelist honeymooned at Halekulani in 1940 with acclaimed journalist Marsha Gellhorn. Hemingway preferred a specific table near the ocean with a spectacular and direct view of Diamond Head. That table will now be distinguished as “Table 97” and will only be available with a reservation. House Without A Key will also introduce Hemingway’s favorite tropical cocktail to the menu: the classic daiquiri.
A Re-Imagined Menu
Halekulani’s executive chef, Christian Testa, and House Without A Key’s chef, Jarrin Otake, will oversee a completely renewed menu. It will feature new dishes such as the House Without A Key Laulau, a deconstructed version of traditional laulau with the flavors of pork and butterfish, served on a bed of coconut-stewed luau leaves and a side of fresh local poi. Additional menu items, both made using the new brick oven, include char siu–coconut baby back ribs with a hoisin and Chinese five spice honey glaze, and the Flat Bread “Skizza” Country Comfort, a fresh take on the classic Margherita pizza, island style.
Newly conceived cocktails joining the hotel’s signature Mai Tai include the Yellow Umbrella, with fresh lilikoi juice, coconut matcha syrup, tequila, and Mezcal; Coconut Cake Martini, an ode to Halekulani’s world-famous coconut cake; and Sweet Persea, a spirit-free avocado-based cocktail.
Enhancements include a state-of-the-art exhibition-style glass kitchen and a custom Marra Forni brick oven created in Italy exclusively for Halekulani.
To enhance Hawaii’s spectacular ocean views and sunsets, contemporary furnishings include new large-scale lounge furniture and a custom Charles Loomis Branch Sculpture designed using the hotel’s iconic Kiawe Tree. There is new landscaping with indigenous and local Hawaiian species including the King Kalakaua spider lily and extremely rare Dwarf Rainbow Plumeria.
The original Halekulani began in 1907 as a residential hotel with just a beachfront home and five bungalows. In 1917 it was bought, expanded, established as a stylish resort, and given the name the local originally bestowed on it, Halekulani. In the 1930s, the original home was replaced with a plantation-mansion-styled main building with a high-pitched roof. It was purchased by what is now the Honolulu-based Halekulani Corporation. The hotel was closed and rebuilt as the existing 453-room property.
It’s regularly considered to be the finest hotel in Honolulu, and a destination for honeymoons in Hawaii. It’s received more than 500 awards.
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