For some of us, nothing says “vacation” like Hawaii. The best way to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays in the islands is to gather the family or a few like-minded friends and rent a villa. Too late? Maybe not. It’s the end of September, but there are still a handful of places available. The four luxury villas I found are from Exotic Estates. They come with all the necessary bells and whistles: luxurious open-plan interiors ideal for gatherings, state-of-the-art kitchens, pools, hot tubs, expansive porches, easy beach access, and commanding views of the Pacific Ocean.
Kilohana Makai, Kauai
Kauai is the “Garden Island,” a lush and mountainous getaway with great beaches and private homes. Located in Poipu near Kukui’ula, Kilohana Makai has an open-plan living room and a kitchen equipped with Sub Zero to Bosch to Wolf appliances. The house sleeps eight guests in four bedrooms. The three bathrooms each have their own lava stone outdoor and indoor shower. One of them has a freestanding bath with sliding doors and there is also a half bath. It has a swimming pool, outdoor dining table for 10, sofas, sun loungers and a hanging daybed. Priced from $3,499 per night.
Turtle Cove, Maui
There’s a reason Maui is so popular, and this villa, called Turtle Cove, offers the best of the island. Located on Napili Bay in West Maui, it offers views of the Southwest Pacific Ocean and the outer islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i. It is the perfect place to witness the annual humpback migration between December and May. There are three bedrooms with king size beds and private bathrooms. There is also an associated suite with an office and a total of five bathrooms, and the accommodation can accommodate eight guests. Napili Bay is a personal favourite, an intimate beach perfect for turtle watching, hence the villa’s well-deserved name. Price from $4,500 per night.
Upcountry Estate, Big Island
The holidays are all about big gatherings, and Upcountry Estate fits the bill perfectly. This 7,500-square-foot estate is located in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, in Makalei Estates, a gated community located in the upland area above Kailua-Kona, on the slopes of Hualalai. Located 350 meters above the coast on 1.2 acres, this Tuscan-inspired villa offers panoramic ocean views of the Kona Coast. The main house has 20-foot vaulted ceilings, travertine floors, and Dacor Sub Zero and Miele appliances. The house can accommodate 12 guests in six bedrooms and has seven bathrooms. There is a detached Ohana with two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchenette and sliding glass doors that open to a private veranda overlooking the ocean. A kitchen/family room has an indoor/outdoor fireplace and patio doors leading to the lanai, with a second kitchen, pool and spa. Price from $10,500 per night.
Kanini Estate, Big Island
The Kanini Estate is a 5,200 square meter villa on two floors, with eight bedrooms that can accommodate 16 guests. It has a setting overlooking the protected Waikoloa Anchialine ponds with ocean views, a pool and hot tub. Located in Waikoloa’s oceanfront community of “Naupaka at Waikoloa”. The estate is within walking distance of The Kings’ Shops and Queens’ Marketplace, world class golf, the beautiful beach of Anaeho’omalu Bay and the Lava Lava Beach club. There is a full gym with treadmill, iFIT, Peloton, weights and game room. The upper level has a second entertaining area with a covered lanai and view. The house is designed for indoor and outdoor living, and there is a BBQ, bar, fire pit and plenty of garden space. Parasols, boogie boards and chairs are provided. The house is a three minute walk from the beach. From $18,500 per night.