No alien land in all the world has any deep, strong charm for me, but Hawaii, no other land could so longingly and beseechingly haunt my sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as Hawaii has done. Other things leave me, but it abides.
Hawaii is a pristine wonderland. This breathtaking place, bejeweled by white-sand beaches, tropical rainforests, lava-flowing volcanoes, scenic waterfalls and snowcapped mountains, is a picturesque heaven.
Initially, people were drawn to Hawaii to witness the rare, untouched beauty of its islands. However, as Hawaii’s fame spread and tourists started to arrive in flocks, certain aspects of modern civilization began to seep through the seams of Aloha-land. Today, the colossal hotels, multi million dollar mansions and high end malls nestled amidst the breathtaking oceanfront prove that although paradise may not have been lost, a great deal of it has been purchased.
Fortunately, one can take in a fair amount of Eden while shopping for more than coconut shells and floral necklaces. Indeed, Hawaii is one of the most beautiful locales to stock up on the latest monogram LV bags, tropical print Gucci bikinis and candy colored Chanel accessories. Here, one can haunt for an impossible to find le Dix bag by Balenciaga against the backdrop of lush scenery. Furthermore, time-outs from extensive credit card swiping can be filled with romantic strolls along the beach, leisurely lunches at outdoor cafés and much needed cocktail breaks.
In Hawaii, the shopping experience is a treasure hunt of endless possibilities. Selections unavailable to discerning fashionistas in shopping centrals like NYC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, can be found in stores on Oahu and Maui. The significant number of Japanese tourists and their willingness to spend big bucks on big names gives fashion labels major incentives to set up shop (quite literally) in these locations. According to a strikingly fashionable Tokyo resident I spoke with at the Hermes store in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, prices are approximately 10% cheaper in the United States compared to Japan. My interviewee, dressed in a breezy silk Pucci dress, offered, “Japanese people love to shop—especially the women.” In short, you might often find yourself being elbowed out of the way when reaching for a fashion find, but there is not doubt about it: Oahu is a true shopper’s dream come true.
If the frenzied pace of Oahu is a little much, the blissful serenity of Maui might be just right for you. Maui is far less developed and positively more tranquil than its neighbor. In Maui, one is greeted by the endless blue of the ocean, the verdant green of the bamboo forests and the hospitality of the locals; as opposed to herds of people sprawled out over the coastline or crowded into boutiques. The resorts are astoundingly opulent, complete with world class spas, 1000 thread count sheets, L’Occitane bath products and fleets of accommodating personnel. Incidentally, the Shops in Maui, a large retail complex, housing brands like Gucci, Fendi, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton, is a mere walking distance from the Four Seasons and Grand Wailea resorts.
In addition to surfing, sun tanning, swimming, scuba diving, and hula dancing, Hawaii’s international visitors want to enjoy every luxury known to mankind. It is common for a vacationer to dip in the azure waters, surf the frothy waves, do yoga, go sight seeing…. and still find time to shop in a single day! Once here, one need not compromise any desire. Thus, if you are an incurable shopaholic with a penchant for beautiful landscapes, relaxation, pampering and sipping Piña Coladas, Hawaii is your destination.
EDITOR'S PICKS FROM HAWAII
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
2210 Kalakaua Avenue, A500, Honolulu, HI 96815
P (808) 922-0588 FX (808) 922-0961
The Shops in Wailea
3750 Wailea Alanui, Wailea, Maui, HI 96753
P (808) 891-6770 FX (808) 891-6772