One of Hawaii’s most famous and popular restaurants is back open after a major revitalization and expansion. The newly opened Waikiki venue, Halekulani’s House Without A Key, pays homage to the golden age of travel.
“House Without A Key’s meticulous renovations will ensure and preserve our iconic traditions and relevance as we begin our second century of providing gracious hospitality and continue to deliver legendary experiences for all who walk through our doors,” said Peter Shaindlin, Chief Operating Officer Officer of Halekulani Corporation. “Halekulani Corporation and our owner, Mitsui Fudosan, are committed to maintaining Halekulani’s unmatched standards of excellence and distinguished and world-renowned reputation for decades to come.”
house without a key
Halekulani’s House Without A Key has long been hailed as a premier oceanfront destination for live Hawaiian entertainment, traditional hula performances and sunset cocktails. The indoor/outdoor restaurant has been completely redesigned to complement the hotel’s expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, Diamond Head and the 135-year-old Kiawe tree, while paying homage to Hawaii’s golden age of travel.
Allusion to famous novelists
The revival includes a new, dramatic introductory experience that will feature a rare 1925 first edition novel house without a key by Earl Derr Biggers, the first of the Charlie Chan mysteries. In honor of the celebrated 20th Century writer, House Without A Key will feature a new shaded outdoor bar called Earl’s.
It also offers a nod to the legendary Ernest Hemingway. The novelist honeymooned in Halekulani in 1940 with celebrated journalist Marsha Gellhorn. Hemingway preferred a specific table near the ocean with a spectacular and direct view of Diamond Head. This table is now identified as “Table 97” and is available by reservation only. House Without A Key will also be adding Hemingway’s favorite tropical cocktail to the menu: the classic daiquiri.
A redesigned menu
Halekulani Executive Chef Christian Testa and House Without A Key Executive Chef Jarrin Otake will provide a completely renewed menu. It will feature new dishes like the House Without A Key Laulau, a deconstructed version of the traditional laulau with the flavors of pork and butterfish, served on a bed of coconut-braised luau leaves and a side of fresh local poi. Other dishes on the menu, both cooked in the new stone oven, include Char Siu coconut baby back ribs with a hoisin and Chinese five-spice honey glaze, and the ‘Skizza’ Country Comfort flat bread, a fresh twist on the classic Margherita pizza island style.
Newly conceived cocktails that complement 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 non-alcoholic avocado cocktail.
Enhancements include a state-of-the-art, exhibition-style glass kitchen and a custom Marra Forni stone oven made in Italy exclusively for Halekulani.
To enhance the spectacular views of the ocean and Hawaiian sunsets, the contemporary decor includes new large-scale lounge furniture and a custom Charles Loomis branch sculpture, designed using the hotel’s iconic Kiawe tree. There is new landscaping featuring native and local Hawaiian species including the King Kalakaua Spider Lily and the extremely rare Dwarf Rainbow Plumeria.
The original Halekulani began as a residential hotel in 1907 with just one beach house and five bungalows. In 1917 it was purchased, expanded, furnished as a stylish resort and given the name the locals originally gave it, Halekulani. In the 1930’s the original house was replaced by a main building in the style of a plantation villa with a high roof. It was purchased by what is now Honolulu-based Halekulani Corporation. The hotel was closed and rebuilt as an existing 453-room property.
It’s consistently voted the best hotel in Honolulu and a honeymoon destination in Hawaii. It has received more than 500 awards.
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