In early September I was invited to the “Hot & Hip Honolulu” press trip on Oahu, which included tickets to the 2nd Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. It wasn’t my first visit to the islands, but it was definitely the most interesting by far.
In the past, my Hawaii visits consisted mostly of lazy beach-time with my nephews, or Mai Tai sunsets with Peter. This time around I got to spend five days not only tasting the best of Oahu’s cuisine, but also experiencing the beautiful art and culture of the island. I didn’t even KNOW Honolulu had an art museum!
Since I have so many photos to share, I’ve decided to write several blog posts about the tour. This first post includes photos of my island arrival, food porn from the welcome party, and a day exploring Honolulu’s lively art scene. Please check back soon for much more!
Checking into the Waikiki Parc Hotel. PARADISE. I didn’t want to leave the room!
Room 1503, Waikiki Parc Hotel.
I didn’t eat on the plane, so was thrilled to see a plate of fruit & cheese in my hotel room. Thanks again Rebecca, Darlene, Nathan and Kelley!
Waikiki Park’s poolside gym. NEEDED it!
Of course I brought “Travel Maxie”. He makes me miss Maxie just a little bit less when I’m away from home.
View of Diamond Head from Rum Fire, Sheraton Waikiki. A beautiful first evening meeting event hosts and fellow writer/photographers.
At Rum Fire, Grilled Kona Lobster w Anchovy & Marrow Butter from Azure Chef de Cuisine Jon Matsubara.
At Rum Fire, Twice Cooked Australian Wagyu, Mung Bean Puree, Hamakua Tomato, Waipoli Fern Shoot Salad by Kai Market’s Chef Darren Demaya.
At Rum Fire, Hamakua Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Roast Baby Beets by Sheraton Waikiki’s Executive Chef Daniel Delbrel.
At Rum Fire, Hawaii Food & Wine Festival co-founder Chef Roy Yamaguchi greets the crowd.
Spicy Rim Cocktail!
Party time! With the fabulous Lee Anne Wong at Rum Fire.
Day two began with Spam Fried Rice at Waikiki Parc’s Breakfast Buffet (made me so happy!)
We started the morning with a private tour of philanthropist and heiress Doris Duke’s beachfront home. The 14,000 square foot estate was built in 1937 and is officially called “Shangri La, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts”. For nearly 60 years, Duke collected artifacts for Shangri La, ultimately forming a collection of about 2,500 objects, the majority of which were made in the Islamic world. Read Doris Duke’s biography here. (Above, our guide Carol Khewhok standing in the entry courtyard).
Shangri La has a remarkable collection of Islamic art and is considered one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes. I loved this tile entry into the garden. We weren’t allowed to photograph the interior so I’ve added links below.
Looking into the living room through the spectacular, glass WALL elevator which was installed in 1938. Yes, it still works!
Ocean-front garden seating. I stood there fantasizing about throwing the perfect cocktail party! The living room is behind the tree at right.
View of the ocean and Diamond Head from living room.
Pool (with view of Diamond Head) and Playhouse, which served as Doris Duke’s guesthouse. The Playhouse was modeled on the Chihil Sutun, a royal pavilion built in 1647 in Isfahan, Iran. It consists of three rooms: two guest bedrooms and a large living room with a small kitchenette.
Photos of the interior are available on the official website. You can tour the entire property here.
Some of my favorite rooms:
The Syrian Room is Doris Duke’s interpretation of the qa’a (Arabic: hall), a reception room found in Syrian homes of the late Ottoman period (in Syria: 1516-1918).
The Damascus Room is a highlight of the Islamic art collection assembled by Doris Duke and one of two Syrian interiors preserved at Shangri La. Its acquisition dates to September 1953, when she placed an order for “1 Old Damascus Room made of old painted panels of wood” with Asfar & Sarkis, an antiquities firm based in both Damascus and Beirut.
The Dining Room/Lanai originally had a Hawaiian theme, but in 1960’s Doris Duke completely remodeled the room adding a large mosaic tile panel, Egyptian cloth panels and an Ottoman-style fireplace.
View of Shangri La from the ocean.
NOTE: If you’re planning to be in New York before mid-February, the Museum of Arts and Design is presenting “Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art” through February 17th, 2013.
I learned so much about Islamic art, tiles and textiles during just this one visit. If you love history, art or architecture, a visit to Shangri La is a MUST.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Exhibitions featuring Tattoos and Boardshorts? Only in Hawaii!
About “Tattoo Honolulu” (from the website)
Tattooing is art. After decades of being viewed as a mark of the marginal, tattoos have gone mainstream and are winning over the art establishment—including the Honolulu Museum of Art. The lines between ink on skin and paint on canvas or pencil on paper have been blurred with tattoo artists reaching the skill level of other artists. Now the Honolulu Museum of Art breaks new ground with an exhibition focusing on Hawai‘i’s high quality of tattoo art—and how it sprouted from the islands’ mix of cultures rich with tattoo traditions.
The museum is in the unique position to draw upon its world-class collection to place contemporary tattooing within an art historical context. By linking the past—through works such as 19th-century prints by Jacques Arago depicting tattooed Hawaiians—with the present, the museum hopes to expand cultural awareness not only about the art of the tattoo, but also the rich cultural traditions it is based on.
“Chinese Dragon on Megan Wong” by Billy Whitney. Photographed by Shuzo Uemoto. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art. Did you spot Hello Kitty?
“Full Back on Anthony Alameda” Tattoo by Lucky Olelo. Photographed by Shuzo Uemoto. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Tattoo designs by Joe Leiber. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Part of the Tattoo Gun collection. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Lucky Olelo, one of the talented tattoo artists joined us for lunch at the Museum of Art Cafe.
About “Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit” (from the website)
Hawai‘i’s unofficial uniform is the boardshort—a perfect fit for the birthplace of surfing. Boardshorts in Hawai‘i were initially created as custom-made surf trunks by tailors at popular venues such as the H. Miura Store in Hale‘iwa, Take’s in Waikīkī, or M. Nii’s in Mākaha during the 1950s. These early boardshorts were first designed for fit and comfort, maximized for the ultimate wave-riding experience. Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit, chronicles the fascinating evolution of a single, simple garment that today is a symbol of extreme sports and a counterculture lifestyle.
Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
I would have bought ten pairs of these SPAM shorts! Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Note: Both the Tattoo and Boardshorts exhibits run through January 13, 2013.
A few favorites from the 19th Century Collection.
Kamehameha III (left) and Nahi’ena’ena (Sister of Kamehameha III). Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Whistler’s Arrangement in Black, No. 5 (Lady Meux). Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Below from the Asian Art Collection:
Seated Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Guanyin). 11th century Chinese Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) Shanxi province. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
For scale. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. I LOVE tiny bottles.
Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Snuff Bottles close-up. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.
Shibata Zeshin, traveler’s writing case with landscape and plovers. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art. Many thanks to Museum Director, Stephan F. Jost and Deputy Director, Allison Wong.Please visit the museum website for current and upcoming exhibitions.
More photos from Honolulu’s Art Scene
All photos from Oahu 2012
Waikiki Parc Hotel
Roy Yamaguchi (follow him on twitter)
Shangri La / More about Carol Khewhok
Honolulu Museum of Art
This trip was generously provided by the Oahu Visitor’s Bureau / Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau. Many thanks to Rebecca Pang (Account Supervisor, Travel & Tourism, McNeil Wilson Communications), Nathan Kam, Stephanie Killion, Darlene Morikawa, Lindsay Chambers and their staff members!
Current and upcoming Hawaii events:
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (Hawaii, the Big Island) – Nov. 3-11, 2012 – http://www.konacoffeefest.com/
Wailea Wine & Food Festival (Maui) – Dec. 6-9, 2012 – http://waileawineandfoodfestival.com/