By now many of you have heard the pretty amazing news: on September 1, the state of Hawaii will be open for Canadians to visit without quarantine as long as they have a valid Covid test done within 72 hours of departure. There are a few provisos€”chief among them is that on return to Canada you will still be subject to our 14 day quarantine rules (but at least you’ll be in your own house). Also, both Westjet and Air Canada will not be flying direct until a few days into September. And then there’s always the overarching concern about travel at all (but consider that the state of Hawaii has been a shining light for the US, recording only 26 COVID deaths so far).

So with all that in mind, if you’re keen to go, here are four spots I personally visited in the last two years that are absolutely on the top of the hospitality game€”and I’d wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. I’m so passionate about these spots that you should feel free to email€”€”if you’re thinking of going and have any questions.


Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort

I’ve thought long and hard before typing the following sentence: I think this new resort on Lanai might be the greatest hotel in the world. For me it was, at least. It’s a complete re-imagining of what a getaway is courtesy of the health-focussed billionaire/Lanai owner Larry Ellison. They’ve gathered wellness experts for all corners of the globe: a goal-setting guru who worked with the Navy Seals, a meditation expert who was formerly an exec at Microsoft, fitness, nutritional and movement professionals who are all at the top of their game and have been recruited to not only make Sensei the pinnacle of a wellness destination, but to develop a paradigm for the hospitality industry that will see personal well-being be given greater priority moving forward. Plus, lest you think this was some sort of Germanic torture chamber, there’s an onsite Nobu to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and a stunning yet tranquil setting. The only run is that pre-COVID, it was very, very expensive. But a recent search shows that as they transition back to normal there are some deals as low $650 a night. I know that sounds high, but trust me, it’s not given what this resort offers. We haven’t run the full review of this place because COVID happened, but stay tuned for the full story in the coming months.


Westin Nanea Ocean Villas

I feel like I could easily develop an algorithm for determining a perfect place to stay: one part newness, one part management team, one part relative value. You got all of those and you’re going to have a amazing vacation. And it’s this formula that, for me, makes this four-year-old Ka’anapali spot one of the great places to stay in Maui right now. The rooms are modern and huge (they’re really more like high-end condos than standard hotel rooms) and the service is off-the-charts for a resort that checks in at a reasonable rack rate (you can find around $400 USD if you search, and you can easily fit four in that room).


Pukea Ranch

One of the great wonders about the Big Island is discovering that, in addition to the amazing beaches, soaring mountains and active volcanoes, there exists a vibrant ranching culture with a long history (the Parker Ranch is one of the oldest€”1847€”and largest€”130,000 acres€”ranches in all the US). Pukea is a slice of the Parker Ranch that was sold off and today there are three beautifully restored houses that you can rent out and get a taste of old Hawaii, while still having views of the Pacific. As they move back up and running they’re some pretty great deals€”cabins from $325 of so. A memorable spot.

Food Editor

Waimea Plantation Cottages, A Coast Hotel

It ranks as one of the oddest coincidences that this fantastically quaint period lodging in Kauai is now owned by a BC Hotel chain. But allow me to offer that it’s far and away the coolest Coast hotel I’ve stayed at. For starters, the old agricultural town of Waimea may only be 30 minutes or so west of tiny Poipu but it feels like a century away, right down to it’s 1930’s movie theatre. And there’s some serious truth in advertising going on here€”these really are restored plantation cottages and they’re so quirky, the sprawling property so expansive, the black sand beach so empty that’s you’ll overlook the idiosyncrasies like low key service and unique furnishings. Plus you’re really close to Waimea Canyon€”one of the world’s great hiking areas€”and also close to the near abandoned beach at Polihale in the far west. Oh, and they’re as low as $200 a night.