$14 Million Hawaiian Estate Hits the Market with Surf and Sightlines

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$14 Million Hawaiian Estate Hits the Market with Surf and Sightlines – February 18, 2022
by Liz Lucking

A slice of paradise is on the market for $13.95 million in the form of an idyllic Hawaiian retreat on Kauai’s South Shore.

Sitting on a private hillside homesite surrounded by lush flora, fruit trees and hand-built stone walls, the custom four-bedroom spread is positioned at the highest point in the exclusive residential resort community of Kukui’ula.

Designed by local architect Ginny Latham and built in 2020, the property’s main house spans 3,140 square feet and blends tradition and contemporary living with a “seamless blend between spacious indoor and outdoor spaces,” according to the listing with the Kukui’ula Realty Group, which brought the home to the market earlier this month.

Reclaimed teak floors and high-beamed ceilings feature across the open-plan home, which at its heart boasts a sizable kitchen “to entertain Hawaiian style,” and the primary and guest suites have custom closets and outdoor showers, the listing said. Throughout the property, sliding pocket doors open the interior up to outside.

With a footprint extending close to an acre, the home’s outdoor amenities are vast. There’s a covered lanai, dining area and sundecks, as well as a gas fire pit, a T-shaped spa and infinity pool, ocean views and a cottage for guests.

The home is being sold by its developer, property records show.

The resort community of Kukui’ula, meanwhile, offers homeowners amenities including a golf course, sandy-bottomed pools and a 18,000-square-foot spa.

Typical prices in the home’s ZIP Code, an area encompassing Koloa and Poipu, have jumped 5.9% over the past year to a median of $900,000, according to data from online property portal Redfin.

Lake Tahoe Meets Hawaii in a Newly Listed Lodge-Like Kauai Home

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Lake Tahoe Meets Hawaii in a Newly Listed Lodge-Like Kauai Home – July 16, 2021
by V.L. Hendrickson

A new Hawaii home with a lodge-meets-beach aesthetic hit the market this week for $13.75 million.

Located in the hills of Kauai’s south shore, the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom residence offers wood detailing throughout, as well as an indoor-outdoor floor plan to take advantage of the Hawaiian climate. Part of an upscale private community, Kukui’ula, it offers views of the mountains, ocean and the Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course.

The home was designed by Kelly & Stone Architects, which has offices in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and the Lake Tahoe region of California. Their mountain influence is on display with the wood ceilings, but the lanai, a covered terrace, and the use of materials such as native lava rock, sawn puka lava and flamed basalt are hallmarks of Hawaiian architecture.

“These materials were used because of their abilities to balance with the surrounding tropical landscape,” said Suzanne Harding, the principal broker at Kukui’ula. “The flamed basalt floors feel deliciously cool and refreshing under bare feet all year round.”

An infinity pool has been raised to allow for swimming with a view, according to the listing. The pool feeds into a stone waterfall adjacent to stairs leading to a small lawn and lounging area.

Other amenities include a detached ohana, or guest house, a chef’s kitchen, a garage with four Tesla batteries, and a primary bedroom suite with dual bathrooms and ocean views.

The community offers a host of amenities, as well, such as the 18-hole golf course, a spa, water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking, a working farm and several dining and shopping options, including a weekly farmer’s market.

Kauai has been a hot destination for second-home buyers since the pandemic began, with buyers from the West Coast flocking to the Garden Island, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Kauai offers a barefoot elegance, down-to-earth charm, simple pleasures and safe harbor,” Ms. Harding said.
The island is also home to celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, who paid $53 million for 600 acres on the island in May.

You Can Harvest Your Own Vegetables, Golf With Ocean Views, and Celebrate Hawaiian History at This Kauai Resort

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You Can Harvest Your Own Vegetables, Golf With Ocean Views, and Celebrate Hawaiian History at This Kauai Resort – July 25, 2021
by Patricia Doherty

From the back of a pickup truck, I watched dust fly as we drove along a narrow road through one of Kauaʻi’s last sugar cane fields and past a long-abandoned mill. It was the early 1980s, my first trip to the island and, after a few days in Honolulu, it was quite a change from Waikiki.

Later, I learned that Kauaʻi’s south shore town of Kōloa was home to the first working sugar mill, introducing commercial sugar cane production to the island in 1835. Laborers from the Philippines, China, Japan, Korea, and Europe came to work in the fields. About 150 years later, Hawaii’s sugar industry, including Kōloa Plantation, came to an end for a variety of factors that included labor costs, competition, and the rise of tourism.

Fast forward to my recent visit to the Garden Isle. In the same town as that first sugar plantation, Kukuiʻula, a resort community of more than 1,100 acres, recalls the Kōloa of the past in its architectural design. The historic plantation style is evident throughout the property, particularly in The Clubhouse with its low wide roof, exposed rafters, vertical plank walls, and expansive covered lanai — complete with ceiling fans and rocking chairs. Out back, its vast green lawn reaches to the sea.

We stayed in The Lodge, actually neighborhoods of individual bungalows, cottages, and villas ranging from one to four bedrooms, all with full gourmet kitchens, outdoor garden showers, luxurious bedding, and our favorite feature — the large covered lanai, furnished with comfy chairs and a table for dining al fresco. There we relaxed with our morning coffee, afternoon cocktails, and dinner, consisting of salad, fresh vegetables, and herbs from The Farm.

Guests staying at The Lodge enjoy unlimited access to the resort’s amenities, which made us feel welcome and as special as the homeowners who own stunning multimillion-dollar residences at Kukuiʻula. The Farm is an example. Guests can harvest the kale, lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, fruits, and vegetables for their meals or take advantage of the convenient self-serve stand near the Clubhouse. We enjoyed our visit to the 10-acre farm, where we chatted with the farmer and saw the pristine gardens and nearby lake.

Wellness is a focus of all that happens at Kukuiʻula, from the organic farm to the Hi’ilani Spa with an adults lap pool, steam and sauna, hot and cold plunge pools, and expert treatments. The Signature Water Ritual, a specialty at Kukuiʻula, is a rejuvenating experience that includes the dry sauna, cold shower, wet steam and scrub, and dips in the hot and cold plunge pools. It’s perfect in combination with a fitness class like yoga, barre, pilates, or cross-training. For the keiki (kids), there are saltwater pools, waterfalls, and a waterslide as well as a sand-bottom pool that leads to the beach.

While the pace is relaxed, there’s plenty to do. The 18-hole Tom Weiskopf golf course is a golfer’s dream, and for tennis fans, there are four new Rebound Ace-surfaced courts. The resort’s Huakaʻi Guides can arrange paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling gear, bikes, or a private cruise on Kukui’ula’s 32-foot Yellowfin boat. For shoppers, the nearby Shops at Kukuiʻula offer apparel, gifts, original art, and national brands like Tommy Bahama, Reyn Spooner, Quicksilver, and LuluLemon.

While Kauaʻi has changed since my first visit nearly 40 years ago when there was only one traffic light on the entire island, Kukuiʻula has captured the atmosphere of the past. Kauaʻi’s residents also keep the island’s history alive. Each year the era of sugar plantations is recalled during Kōloa Plantation Days, an annual celebration where visitors learn of the island’s cultural diversity and its past with music, food, rodeos, games, parades, and nature walks. This year’s festivities are planned for July 23-Aug. 1, and activities include a guided walk along the Hapa Trail, once a link between Kōloa and Poʻipū, the island’s popular beach area.

Driving through the property at Kukuiʻula, we noticed several homes under construction and many spectacular homesites available. While owning a residence on Kauaʻi is just a dream for most of us, we felt fortunate to be relaxing on our lanai and enjoying the same view, amenities, and Hawaiian hospitality as Kukuiʻula’s homeowners.

Kukuiʻula: The Story Behind the Name

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The life of this land is preserved in its place-names. Let them be remembered.
– Frederick B. Wichman, Kauaʻi: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories (1998)

“Kukui‘ula”: it’s an enchanting name for a place, and a community. The name would be no less appealing if it were a relatively recent invention, but it becomes even more of a marvel—a pleasure to see, and say, and ponder—when you know its intriguing backstory.

Kukui refers to Hawaii’s incredibly versatile state tree (Aleurites moluc¬cana), which was one of the prized “canoe plants” brought to the Islands by early Polynesian voyagers. The oil-rich nutmeats have many uses, but as the primary English name (candlenut) suggests, kukui nuts and oil were an essential source of light for early Hawaiians—whether in the form of lanterns, torches, or bonfire-beacons that burned all night, every night, to show the way home from the sea. Eventually, the word kukui came to be a virtual synonym for “light.”

As for ‘ula, in this context it simply means “red” or “scarlet”: the color of fire, and flames. Hence, “Kukui‘ula” is often translated as “red light.” But what inspired the place name, originally?

That’s the fascinating part, because Kukui‘ula isn’t just a spectacularly lovely stretch of land fronted by an idyllic white-sand cove. It’s also the antique site of what may well have been one of the world’s earliest proto-lighthouses: an open-air, lava-rock structure that was used exclusively for building signal fires, high atop a scenic bluff on the spot known to Kukui‘ula’s present-day golfers as the 12th hole.

Historians believe that around a thousand years ago, and for many centuries there¬after, three such beacons—lama kuhikuhi, in Hawaiian—were lit nightly along the southern coast of Kaua‘i. (A lama is a light, torch, or lamp, while one of the definitions of kuhikuhi is “to point out.” So, a guiding light.)

One beacon overlooked the Kukui‘ula cove, while another was at Kukuiolono—“Light of Lono”—up the road in Kalāheo. The third signal fire is thought to have been located somewhere closer to the shoreline. Even today, it’s easy to imagine how happy and relieved seafarers must have been whenever that trio of prehistoric “lighthouses” came into view, to guide them toward Kaua‘i’s South Shore.

“I felt such a sense of awe, and honor,” says La‘amea Almeida, a local kumu hula who is the official cultural advisor for The Club at Kukui‘ula. She’s describing the profound thrill of a recent visit to the lama kuhikuhi above the 12th hole, where kukui-fueled signal fires blazed every night, once upon a time.

La‘amea is part of a group of preservationists who are dedicated to making sure that remarkable relic is properly—and lovingly—maintained. “We’re stewards of the land, so we always want to respect the site and treat it with much aloha,” she explains. Only hand tools are used to remove inva¬sive plants such as guinea grass and hale koa, and the structural integrity of the lama kuhikuhi’s lava-rock formations is monitored on a regular basis.

Kukui‘ula’s management and staff share the preservationists’ commitment to protecting the historic “lighthouse,” which will surely offer a dramatic reminder of the region’s heritage (and of the source of its charismatic name!) for many generations to come. In the same spirit of beautiful continuity, the Hawaiian-language scholar Samuel H. Elbert’s words ring as true as when they were first published, nearly half a century ago: “Place names are the most reflective part of aloha ‘āina—[they reinforce] love for the land . . . and in many ways are a vital link to the glorious past.”

As for us, here and now, perhaps the next time we find ourselves on Kukui‘ula’s Great Lawn after dark we’ll pause to reflect on the essential precept of aloha ‘āina: love for the land. And then, just for a moment, we might look up and visualize the night sky alight with the warm, rosy glow of a signal fire . . . the reassuring Kukui‘ula that would have told Kauaʻi’s ancient mariners they were safe at last, and close to home.

Historical photos courtesy of Kauaʻi Historical Society.

Photo 1: Kukui nut set ablaze in a basalt bowl.
Photo 2: Outrigger canoe coming ashore.
Photo 3: Lāwaʻi Kai (Allerton Garden), around 1910. To the left is the Puʻu Kilo iʻa or “Fish Watching Rock.” Queen Emma’s cottage is seen to the right.

Come Home to Kukuiʻula

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E komo mai. Nou ka hale.
Welcome. The house is yours.

Make yourself at home at Kukuiʻula, the ultimate family retreat perfectly situated between mauka and makai (mountain and ocean). Here on Kauaʻi’s south shore, where verdant gardens stay green year-round and the ocean’s sweet breath fills the warm air, the love of home comes from an appreciation for ʻāina and ʻohana—land and family—and permeates everything that surrounds you.

Architecture defines a place and a culture, and the homes at Kukuiʻula are a combination of great design, quality materials, and an appreciation of Kauaʻi lifestyle. Our combined architecture and landscape vision is rooted in a thorough understanding of the natural elements integral to Kauaʻi, a celebration of the indoor/outdoor lifestyle that embraces the beauty of nature, respect for the importance of the land, and a special love for our home island and its local culture.

The low-key, relaxed luxury lifestyle at Kukuiʻula gives you the time to appreciate the days of your life. It makes the aloha spirit tangible—something that’s alive that you can seamlessly incorporate into everyday habits: taking that first breath of morning with the land and ocean, gathering with friends and family, making the time to venture out and learn something new, and weaving yourself back into the language of nature to see it with fresh eyes.

Choosing a Kukuiʻula homesite provides an open canvas to discover how your island life will unfold. Waking up to views of ocean and mountains. Wandering from the beach straight to the dining room in your board shorts and T-shirt. Relaxing on the lānai with food and family, making and sharing memories. Is a visit enough when you can make your life here?

Homesites at Kukuiʻula include some of the last Kauaʻi coastline still available for building. There are many ways to incorporate sustainability into Kukuiʻula home designs, which speaks to the importance of malama ʻāina—caring for the land. Here, modern technology and tried-and-true green design attributes are celebrated, creating healthy, efficient and comfortable homes that are durable and low impact.

Three design styles that form Kukuiʻula’s architectural vision breathe as if they’re one with the landscape. Plantation style hails from Hawaiʻi’s mid-19th century industrial agrarian era, reflecting the wisdom of the architects of sugar plantations, who adjusted their designs to the land, culture, and climate of the islands. Pacific Tropical style emerged from indigenous civilizations throughout the islands of Polynesia and the Asia-Pacific region as their response to local climate, available materials, and building technology. Island Contemporary style is an updated form of the mid-century Hawaiian house, inspired by the designs of island post-war modernists.

Coming home to Kukuiʻula may be the beginning of a new life or the result of a lifelong dream. It’s where you feel interwoven with nature and where you can relax and talk story under the starry skies that led Hawaiʻi’s ancestors here on voyaging canoes. Your island life awaits among the lush landscape and gentle trade winds. Welcome home.

Hiʻilani Spa: Embraced by the Arms of Heaven

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The calming beauty of Kauaʻi makes it easy to slow down, relax, and remember all the things that make you smile. Here, nature and healing are considered interchangeable. It may start with the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean, or perhaps the rustle of the trade winds in the trees, or even the simplicity of sitting still and hearing the gentle call of the native nēnē as the birds settle for the evening.

Over generations, Hawaiian ancestors have passed down the belief that optimum health is the outcome of living in harmony with nature, and this island’s curative climate, therapeutic water, and aloha spirit help restore balance in the lives of locals and visitors alike. That balance is an essential part of our wellness program at Kukuiʻula.

Approach the lava rock walls of the extensive wellness complex through lush meditation gardens, which help to clear away outside distractions. Botanicals grown here—like ʻolena (turmeric), ʻawapuhi (ginger), and lemongrass—are essential to treatments and tonics, with fresh-pressed juices served poolside at the secluded adult lap pool and available in the spa boutique.

Treatments at Hiʻilani Spa, from massage to acupuncture and aesthetician services, are experiences created for complete mind and body rejuvenation and relaxation. Whether your preferred massage is traditional Hawaiian healing Lomi Lomi, deep-tissue Shiatsu, therapeutic reflexology, or even a personalized combination of techniques to focus on your body’s specific needs, there is enough variety of options to improve circulation and flexibility, as well as ease muscle tension.

Start anew with a cleanse and detoxification program or be your own alchemist and learn to create your personal body medicine to attain that essential life balance with nature. Nurturing skincare, from facials to body treatments, both invigorate and replenish your skin. Spa facilities also include private lounges and locker rooms with outdoor showers, steam and sauna rooms, and hot and cold plunge pools.

You can feel the elements at Hiʻilani Spa, with the occasional breeze, sturdy lava rock walls, the warmth of the sun, and abundance of water. Begin or end your spa experience with our signature Wet Ritual, which focuses on highly effective therapies featuring filtered water in a variety of forms: cool, warm, liquid, mist, steam. Each step of the ritual incorporates our holistic expertise and attention to detail, and the progression will leave you feeling immeasurably renewed.

Pair that renewal with your fitness goals at the Hiʻilani Fitness facility, with classes including yoga, barre, BOSU, pilates, qi gong, cross-training, and strength training. Class options blend invigorating immersion with focused balance and connect wellness programs across personal experiences and skillsets. Work out using our state-of-the-art equipment or enjoy the fresh island air through the open doors of the movement studio—fitness here is just one ingredient in your overall wellness lifestyle.

It’s easy to live pono at Kukuiʻula, making good choices about your complete wellness while feeling connected to nature and its essential role in restoring health and balance in life, giving you many more reasons to smile.

Aloha Mai ~ Welcome Back

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Kukui’ula To Reopen As Travel Resumes In Kauai – October 15, 2020
Carrie Coolidge – Contributor

Kukui’ula, the exclusive club and resort community on the south shore of Kauai, is welcoming back members and guests now that Hawaii Governor David Ige has approved Trans-Pacific travel to resume throughout the state. Starting on October 15, a new pre-travel testing program will allow visitors to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine if they have a negative NAAT COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight arrival.

“We are ready to welcome back members and guests to their island home on the South Shore of Kauai,” says Richard Albrecht, president of Kukui’ula. “We will continue to provide the ultimate family retreat while offering a safe and enjoyable experience utilizing the luxury of our 1,010-acre property, unforgettable adventures, breathtaking beaches, and an abundance of private resort amenities to help guests unwind, rejuvenate and explore our outdoor playground.”

The state of Hawaii has set up agreements with CVS PharmacyKaiser Permanente and others for the pre-testing program. This process will complement the state’s enhanced contact tracing, temperature monitoring, and traveler health interview screening procedures put in place when inter-island travel was opened in June. Travelers unable to complete the testing protocols will still be required to quarantine. Masks and social distancing requirements are still in place in Hawaii.

An Exclusive Club and Resort Community

Situated on the site of a former sugar plantation on the South Shore of Kauai, Kukui’ula, a 1,010-acre exclusive club and resort community, is the only club on the island that offers both residential real estate and a lodging component. The property was developed by Kukui’ula Development Company, an affiliate of A&B Properties, a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, one of Hawaii’s largest private landowners. The club is so exclusive only members of the club (who are required to own property) and a limited number of guests who rent one of the Clubhouse bungalows have access to its impressive array of luxurious facilities.

A Safe Haven For All Ages

A family-friendly club where all ages are welcome, Kukui’ula offers a cashless experience, so there’s no need to worry about carrying a wallet or having cash on hand for tips, including when you drop off your car with the valet or when you have a spa treatment or eat at one of its restaurants (click here to see Forbes’ “Nirvana In Hawaii: Kukui’ula On Kauai”).

With homes, guest accommodations and activities spread out across the vast property and the wide-open space of the island beyond, Kukui’ula is a safe haven for exploration, restoration and relaxation, both for a short visit or as a home-away-from-home.

Kukui’ula offers everything a person who is looking to buy or build a home or simply vacation on the island could ask for. A pristine property, it is well-managed and has plenty of world-class amenities, from a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course to a full-service spa and multiple dining options. The golf course, pools, tennis courts and pickle ball courts are open on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The Club at Kukui’ula

The Club at Kukui’ula has resumed operations from Tuesday-Sunday and activities such as outdoor fitness classes, sunset sailing excursions, take home “meal-kit,” recipes and ingredients to create Club favorite dishes at home and more. ‘Umeke Kitchen + Bar is currently open at a limited capacity for dining and pool service. To ensure a pleasant and safe experience, seating is adjusted to allow six feet between tables as well as heightened sanitation and mask wearing among all staff.

Now more than ever, travelers are valuing the outdoors and Kukui’ua’s expansiveness and naturally social distanced environment allows members and guests to experience the best of Kauai in a safe setting. As Kauai enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine, there’s never a shortage of things to do. The club offers saltwater pool for adults and a sand-bottom saltwater pool for families complete with waterfalls, and whirlpools. There is also a beach volleyball court, two tennis courts, a Bocce Ball court and a pickle ball court and mountain bikes available (including electric mountain bikes).

An outfitter, called Huaka’i Guides & Outfitters Shop located at the Clubhouse, can book all types of outdoor adventures, from canoe sailing excursions with a picnic lunch to a hiking tour along the Kalalua Trail.

The Upcountry Organic Farm

Another amenity that sets Kukui’ula apart from most other developments is Kukui’ula’s 10-acre upcountry organic farm. The farm grows a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers—all available on a complimentary basis for members and guests of the property. Simply drive, walk, hike or bike to the farm and collect what you need, from tropical fruits such as pineapple, banana, passion fruit, papaya, lilikoi and mango as well as tropical flowers, a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. If you are in a hurry, just go to the clubhouse where a refrigerator is stocked daily with complimentary produce from the farm. “The farm is an important part of the club,” says Albrecht. “It informs the food and the menu of our restaurants. It informs everything we do in terms of being a grounded place.”

The Lodge at Kukui’ula

The Lodge at Kukui’ula, which is managed by Destination Residences Hawaii, offers accommodations with expansive, full-service kitchens, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, private outdoor lanais and spacious living areas. All units have private access and do not require the use of public elevators or hallways.

The resort has implemented enhanced cleaning and safety standards guided by the Hyatt Care & Cleanliness Commitment to ensure a healthy and safe stay. The team is sensitive to the ever-changing situation and will be extending a flexible booking policy and no fees or penalties for altering a reservation. Those coming to Kukui’ula unable to complete the current testing protocols will be required to quarantine in a reduced ‘Resort Bubble’ area at the property. The ‘Bubble’ will allow for movement beyond a guest’s room in a limited space with restrictions on activities.

Real Estate Opportunities

Kukui’ula features spectacular homesites, ranging in size from one-third to three acres, and multi-bedroom-built product located on and near the desirable Kaua’i coastline. Designed by such renowned architects as Shay Zak, Olson Kundig and Bing Hu, the collection of stunning homes is on hillside slopes and ocean overlooks. Club Cottages, Bungalows and Villas provide unique opportunities to experience all Kukui’ula has to offer as they are located steps away from the Clubhouse.

Click on this link for more information on real estate or membership opportunities at Kukui’ula.

Makahiki at Kukui`ula

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In Hawaii, the appearance of the Makali`i {the Pleiades} in the eastern sky marks the Hawaiian New Year and the start of the Makahiki Season. Beginning in late October and lasting through early March, in ancient Hawaii Makahiki was a time of peace, when farmers concluded their final harvests and the rains of the Hoʻoilo season would begin to fall, nourishing the lands for the upcoming planting season. During this season war was kapu or forbidden, and instead, craftsmen spent their time honing their skills in their given trades, and warriors engaged in games and sports that sharpened their mind and strengthened their bodies. Special ceremonies were observed such as offerings to the god Lono {the god of fertility and peace}, and to the chiefs. Celebrations of mahalo {thanks} for a bountiful year included feasting and dancing, often compared to the American tradition of Thanksgiving.

Today, we honor the tradition of Makahiki at Kukui`ula beginning with a special Lonoikamakahiki Ceremony on November 27th at the Kukui`ula Beach Park. A moving and inspiring experience, our Members, Guests and Staff will gather by the ocean to pay homage to Lono with traditional offerings and Hawaiian chants. On December 22nd we’ll host our 2nd annual Makahiki Festival with a full day of traditional Hawaiian games for the whole family. Start the day with Konane, Hawaiian Checkers and coffee in the Clubhouse, followed by an Outrigger Canoe Race, Ulu Maika {rock bowling}, Ihe {spear throwing}, Hukihuki {tug-o-war}, and much more. The celebration will culminate in the best way possible, amongst friends, with a sunset dinner overlooking spouting horn.

The Brown Family’s Permanent Vacation

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For a family who takes fun and spending quality time together seriously, Kirk and Ashley Brown and their three adorable boys (soon to be four!) have found their perfect place here at Kukui`ula.  Inspired by the “magic” of this place, the sunny weather and the central location on the island, soon after discovering Kukui`ula in early 2018, Kirk and Ashley decided to pack up their busy lives in Portland to make Kaua`i their full-time home.

Every member of the Brown family takes full advantage of what Kukui`ula has to offer, engaging in club activities such as golf and tennis, to swimming in the pools, taking classes at the fitness center, fishing up at the Farm, and so much more.  The community’s laid-back, island lifestyle was a big draw for them. Kirk notes that “At Kukui`ula, there is no competition… people are more relaxed and there is a sense of happiness and excitement all the time.  You can be yourself and not play a part wearing a suit and tie. I love the casual vibe.”

Their quality of life is their priority, and for them, that goes beyond the abundant lifestyle Kukui`ula offers.  They’ve found a fantastic school for their kids, and a community of people on Kaua`i that is genuinely kind, generous, and brimming with a true sense of aloha.  Perhaps most importantly, they’ve found this to be a place that is safe, where their kids can run and explore freely, gain independence and have an appreciation for the relationships they build with nature and the people they meet.  Kirk adds that he believes “one of the most common misconceptions about Kaua`i is the quality of health care that can be found here.”  After a freak golf accident earlier this year that required major surgery and extensive rehab, Kirk says he’s experienced world-class doctors, medical technology and facilities that have him on the mend, and hopefully back on the golf course soon.

The next few years here at Kukui`ula will be extra exciting as the dream home they’re designing with Bing Hu becomes a reality, they open a business in Koloa Town, and their family continues to grow and thrive.  We feel fortunate to have the Brown family as part of our Kukui`ula `ohana.  Their warmth, kindness and vivacious, adventurous spirits are the essence and expression of what makes Kukui`ula the ultimate family retreat.

Kukui`ula: The Ultimate Family Retreat

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Trick question: How many different places would a family need to visit in order to play tennis, golf, croquet, pickleball, bocce, checkers, and snooker; learn surfing, stand-up paddling, archery, and Hawaiian-style fishing; pick (and eat) fresh fruits and veggies at a magical upcountry farm; go hiking, biking, and sailing—and then cap off their recreation with a memorable farm-to-table meal amid exquisite surroundings? 

Easy answer: Just one . . . if that place is Kukui‘ula. 

Some aspects of Kukui‘ula’s exceptional charm are apparent the moment you walk up the front steps: the perfect beauty of the setting; the airy, art-filled interiors; the dazzling vistas of pools and lawns and ocean beyond. Others come into focus more gradually, with every day yielding new delights to enjoy, and explore. 

One of those timed-release perks is The Club’s outstanding slate of recreations, offering innumerable opportunities for fun, fitness, skill-building, and adventure. Along with all the other facets of the property’s unique appeal, these activities make Kukui‘ula an ideal place—or destination—for families of every shape and size. (An unusual perk, rarely seen in private clubs, gives lodge guests who are renting any of the nearby Club Cottages, Bungalows, or Villas access to Kukui‘ula’s remarkable facilities and services, as well.) 

The Huaka‘i Outfitters—Kukui‘ula’s impressive recreational department—is in a perpetual state of expansion and evolution, constantly adding new features and making innovative tweaks to existing programs.  

This dynamic reflects the entire Club’s never-ending pursuit of excellence, and also mirrors the personality of its vibrant, visionary, dedicated Ho‘okipa (“hospitality”) Ambassador, Mariko Strickland Lum. A collegiate soccer star turned competitive stand-up paddler, Mariko approaches what she describes as her dream job with a dedication that’s thoughtful, creative, and energetic. “My goal is to create opportunities for growth, social enrichment, and life-changing moments,” she explains, adding that a primary aim is for activities to be both authentic to the culture on Kaua‘i, and optimally suited to the Kukui‘ula community. On the topic of family recreation, Mariko waxes reflective: “Growing up in Hawai‘i, you embrace the concept that family always comes first,” muses the Kaua‘i native. “I love that our members and guests are constantly inquiring about fun activities to do as a family. Kukui‘ula—and the entire island of Kaua‘i—is a perfect playground for families to enjoy the outdoors together.”

It would take a book-sized brochure to chronicle every detail of Kukui‘ula’s family-friendly activities—not to mention the myriad attractions for kids of all ages, singles, couples or pairs, and other types of groups, as well. Thus, what follows is only  a small sampling of the amazingly vast and varied possibilities. These can be roughly classified as either fantastic year-round features; special events; seasonal programs; or spontaneous, independent recreational options that we’ll call “anytime adventures.”



Week after week, all year round, the Club’s calendars and bulletins are jam-packed with intriguing activities that encourage full or partial family participation. And if the normal time slot doesn’t work, some can even be tailored to suit individual schedules. 

  • Sunday Fun Days offer something for everyone: a sporting activity in the morning (for example, fishing at the lake, stand-up paddling at the harbor, or lawn games such as cornhole, chippo, and croquet); an artistic craft of the day; root-beer floats (which draw raves and nostalgic exclamations like “Wow, I haven’t had one of these since I was a kid!”); and, as the finale, a grilled alfresco dinner down by the Makai Pool.
  • Sunset Harvest: On many Thursdays, members and lodge guests are invited up to the beautiful, bountiful Farm to enjoy water sports on the nearby lake, followed by feasting on grilled, just-picked veggies to the mellow strains of Hawaiian music.  
  • Golf: Families of all ages, from low-handicap grandparents to precocious toddlers wielding miniature putters, are welcome to play together at Kukui‘ula’s stunning world-class course, and there’s a tempting assortment of tutorials and events on offer, as well.
  • Racket Sports: Animated sessions of pickleball (an ultra-popular hybrid of tennis,  badminton, and ping pong) and beach tennis, open to families, happen on most Thursdays, in addition to the tennis tutorials for youths and adults scheduled throughout the week.
  • Weekly Beach Days: Every Wednesday there’s a full agenda of lively water-and-beach activities down at the scenic harbor, but if another time works better, custom beach days at the harbor, at nearby Kalapaki Beach, or at Anini Beach on the North Shore (the sparkling site of the longest, widest fringing reef in the Islands) are easily arranged.
  • There are scheduled walks and hikes, paddling excursions, and sailing-canoe outings—either on the exhilarating ocean or, for a slightly tamer experience (suitable even for toddlers), on the calm, pretty lake up at The Farm. Surf sessions, with professional instruction and all equipment provided, are available via private bookings.
  • Cutting-edge fitness classes (including yoga) throughout every week offer parents and kids over 16 the chance to share a great workout and perhaps a bit of bonding, as well.
  • The Spa—that lovely, restorative hideaway—is open to teens accompanied by an adult.



  • Makahiki Festival: This joyful celebration of the Hawaiian New Year (and of Hawaiiana in general) was inspired by an ancient cultural tradition that’s kept alive at many schools in the Islands and now, with typical panache, at Kukui‘ula, too. The one-day commemoration features games to challenge both mental and physical skillsets— Hawaiian-style checkers, rock bowling, standing-chicken fight, spear-throwing, tug-o-war—along with a laid-back poolside lunch, and live Hawaiian music along the way. 

  • Summer Slam: A Fourth-of-July lollapalooza for members, guests, and staff, with active diversions ranging from the contemplative (hatha yoga) to the sporty (flag football and other wildly competitive lawn games). There’s also a cooling slip’n’slide station, a DJ’ed lunch beside the jewel-like Makai Pool, and a doubles-pickleball tournament, with excitement and prizes galore.
  • Kukui‘ula Guardians of the Sea (Kukui‘ula Kia‘i o Ke Kai): This inspirational, comprehensive three-day lifeguard program, created in partnership with the Kaua`i Lifeguard Association, was recently expanded to include families. The pleasurably informative sessions promote fitness while teaching valuable lessons about safety, teamwork, and environmental awareness. The program benefits a good cause, too:    100% of the proceeds from course fees are donated to the Kaua`i Lifeguard Association.
  • Pop-Up Festivities: An eclectic slate of seasonal events, such as the Lunar New Year’s lion-dance displays, invite spectating or mild participation, while others—like picking summer plums or making December holiday wreaths, both in the misty-mountain wonderland of Koke‘e—are literally hands-on . . . and hands-full at the end, as well!
  • Summer Matsuri: A midsummer highlight, this Japanese-themed festivity features taiko drumming, bon dancing, food trucks, and cross-cultural fun for everyone.
  • The Living Well Guru Series: Transformational four-day programs, each featuring a captivating new theme and a stellar guest instructor who might be a master chef, a renowned yoga practitioner, or a celebrated fitness trainer.


During traditional vacation periods (spring, summer, end-of-year) Kukui‘ula offers the stimulating chance to spend several hours a day having fun while learning new—and potentially life-changing—skills. Family participation is invited, in varying degrees.

  • Kamali‘i Programs: These voyages of discovery boast an assemblage of exciting (and painlessly educational) activities for children ages 5 to 17. There are full-day and evening sessions, all overflowing with irresistible activities: movie nights, golf and racket-sport clinics, lawn games, surfing, archery, hula lessons, stargazing, glow golf: the scintillating list goes on and on. And while these programs are designed primarily for kids, adult relatives are welcome to tag along and even join in on certain events. 
  • Sublime Expeditions: Whale-watching in the wild is just one of the thrilling seasonal adventures that can be custom-booked on the sleek 32’ Mahealani charter boat. Other unforgettable half- or full-day options include dolphin-spotting, snorkeling, exploring sea caves, fishing, salt-water crabbing, and simply reveling in the astonishingly vivid beauty of Kaua‘i’s dramatic coastline. And for a quick aperitif of natural wonder, there’s a two-hour sunset cruise, too!



“Here at Kukui‘ula, we have a chance to be as active or as relaxed as we each want, every day,” says Jinee Tao, mother of two and a founding member of The Club. “It’s so easy to put together memorable family adventures, but we can also just do our own thing. I like that—the independence, the flexibility, and the balance.”   

Flexibility and balance, indeed: this open, relaxed approach to living well forms a key element of Kukui‘ula’s distinctive ambience, and character. And while all the organized pastimes are delightful, sometimes a spur-of-the-moment activity can be a better fit for circumstances, or mood. This sets up another form of family fun: heading off in pursuit of individual diversions, then getting together to talk story afterward. (And for days when kids just want to hang out with other kids, or adults want to sneak away to the Spa, Kukui‘ula offers a beguiling selection of supervised kids-only programming.)

The first stop for impromptu amusements is often the Huaka‘i Outfitters equipment room, which is fully stocked with state-of-the-art supplies and overseen by friendly, helpful staff members. This enchanting space might be mistaken for the set of a childhood-fantasy movie, with its marvelous collection of fishing poles, kayaks, cruiser and mountain bikes (“very popular!”), boards and paddles for surfing and SUP (stand-up paddling), gear for lawn games, and every conceivable type of racket or ball, including bocce (for matches on the nifty little court behind the Makai Bar)—among dozens of other top-quality tools for recreation and enjoyment. 

Tucked away in the heart of the sprawling Plantation House, Huaka‘i Outfitters’ very existence may come as a revelation to some. “I was talking to a family who wanted to do a beach day and they didn’t realize we had all this equipment for them to use,” Mariko Strickland Lum recalls. “They were going to buy everything, but we set them up with snorkel gear, coolers, chairs, and umbrellas, free of charge. They were stoked!”

The beaches are a major draw, of course, but an equally beloved “anytime outing” is a short jaunt to the wondrous upcountry Farm. There, visitors can get a first-hand look at the colorful, picturesque “farm” component of Kukui‘ula’s superb farm-to-fork dining, and even pluck tropical flowers, exotic fruits, and ripe tomatoes still warm from the vine. For more active recreation, the pastoral lake nearby is teeming with catchable fish—and with water-sports possibilities (sailing, rowing, paddling, SUP) as well. 

Last but emphatically not least, one of The Club’s most enticing sanctuaries is  an idyllic space that truly puts the “treat” in “retreat.” In the fully appointed Games Room—complete with breezy verandahs—that adjoins the Plantation House’s elegant lobby, members and guests can play all the best table games (including Scrabble® on a fascinating limited-edition board); read, write, and chat; or just bliss out in casual comfort, lulled by the timeless green-and-blue view of land, sea, and sky. Bonus perks: tasty snacks and beverages (hot or cold) are available at all hours, and every afternoon around teatime, freshly baked cookies are delivered direct from the ‘Umeke Kitchen. As a warm peanut-butter cookie melts in your mouth, you may find yourself wondering yet again whether you’ve somehow wandered onto the set of a fantasy film, where every detail is pure perfection and pleasant surprises rule the day.   

Extraordinary facilities plus imaginative planning plus a genuinely caring staff do, indeed, make Kukui‘ula the ultimate family retreat. And if you don’t see your desired activity listed anywhere, don’t give up! Where there’s a wish there’s a way, and the uber-resourceful Mariko Strickland Lum and her conscientious colleagues are always ready, willing, and infinitely able to make wonderful things happen—not just for family groups of every kind, but for everyone else, as well.