The biggest travel news this week is that at long last, as of October 15, Hawaii has lifted its quarantine restrictions. The state is now requiring that visitors have a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival. In addition, Maui and Kauai are asking for voluntary secondary testing for visitors while the Big Island of Hawaii requires secondary rapid screening upon arrival. Visit this link to see details on Hawaii’s Safe Travel FAQ.
While it’s too soon to say how successful this will approach be, visitors have already started arriving and those with an eye to a winter retreat are looking at villa rentals. Exotic Estates, a company that has one of the finest selections of island properties that I’ve come across, has a range of luxury properties on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island that seem ideal for social distancing. All of them benefit from being designed for the kind of indoor/outdoor living that defines a Hawaiian holiday home.
These are spacious properties that are long on privacy, with great views, private pools and often, easy beach access. Most feature multiple alfresco lanai areas designed to maximize privacy. Expect high end furnishings and sleek décor. With multiple bedrooms and living areas, they work well for large families, extended families or a protective “bubble” of friends. All of them would be ideal for long term stays, especially as travelers seek to get away from urban centers and opt to home-school their kids from afar. Cancelation policies are generous but do differ between properties. Here are three outstanding villas to give you wanderlust.
Honu Pani, Hawaii
There are those who love the Big Island of Hawaii for its wildness and expansiveness and I count myself among them. Honu Pani matches that sense of big country. It’s essentially a compound, but one that happens to be located on the ground of Mauna Lani resort, one of the leading luxury enclaves on the island. I first stayed at the resort more than three decades ago and then, as now, it remains the gold standard on the island. Honu Pani sits on more than an acre of oceanfront property, with lava stone walls, koi ponds and lush plantings as well as that staggering Pacific Ocean view, with turtles swimming just offshore. Offered as both a four-bedroom and a five-bedroom villa, it can accommodate up to 10 guests in decadent comfort. Sliding glass doors on the ocean-side of the home open to connect with the covered lanai area overlooking the heated infinity-edge pool and Jacuzzi. There is a built in barbecue and tiki torches to illuminate the outdoor dining area, as well as gated access to the beach path that runs along the ocean beyond the home. Other amenities include a theater room and access to the private Pauoa Beach Club. The biggest luxury of all, I think, is all that space to enjoy the best views on the Big Island.
Turtle Cove, Maui
Maui is always a good idea, and Turtle Cove lies on Napili Bay in West Maui and offers southwest views of the Pacific and the outer islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i. It is pretty much the perfect perch for witnessing the annual Humpback Whale migration between December and May.There are three bedrooms with king beds and en-suite baths. There is also a companion suite with an office, and a total of five bathrooms. Napili Bay is a personal favorite, an intimate beach that’s perfect for turtle watching, hence the villa’s well-earned name.
Dali Hale, Kauai
With its dramatic mountains, Kauai is stunningly beautiful. A suitable bolt hole to ponder that beauty is Dali Hale, a gated, ocean-view villa. The 6,000-square-foot Dali Hale villa has seven luxurious bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and one half bathroom. The villa overlooks Secret Beach, which is a five minute stroll away. There is a private pool, a hot tub and outdoor showers, as well as a private tennis court. The home’s covered lanai extends around the exterior, so that it resembles a vintage island plantation. Expect a state-of-the-art kitchen, as well as a media room. That said, with Kauai at your doorstep, nature, not virtual reality, will likely triumph.