A girls getaway weekend would not be complete without a little surf, sun, and style. Enter the brand spankin’ new Surfjack Hotel on Waikiki. This cute boutique hotel, on Hawaii’s favorite throwback island, packs more vintage charm punch than a rock solid beach boys-only playlist. We can totally picture you and the girl squad lounging around in your kaftans, sipping on cocktails, rocking out to rockabilly surf tunes at this cool spot.
Local art, cool surfboards, and nods to Hawaii’s epic surf culture abound at these modern digs. Check out the three-bedroom suites for some slumber party mania that’s way more grown-up than your parents’ basement.
For the DL on the new Surfjack Hotel, we went straight to the source. Here’s what their people have to say about the cool boutique motel.
Words + Photography by The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
What is the concept and backstory behind the Surfjack Hotel?
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, housed in a 1960’s-era building, was designed with the hip, individualistic wayfarer/adventurer in mind. Infused with eclectic work from a collection of Hawaii’s notable artists, and boasting bespoke experiences and honest local food, Surfjack embodies retro beach culture and modern “aloha” throughout.
The ownership team has a lot of experience with Waikiki and Hawaii, and observed that many of the new artists, restaurateurs and retail shops weren’t in Waikiki. Somewhere between the sixties and today, Waikiki had become a less important part of the fabric of Hawaii – lacking a strong sense of place. The vision was to assemble several of the community collaborators and get them back in to Waikiki, making it an essential piece of the community again. The result is a retail store (Olive & Oliver) that was from the windward side of the island, a restaurant called Mahina & Sun’s, by celebrated chef (Ed Kenney) whose other restaurants (Town, Mud Hen Water, Kaimuki Superette) are not in Waikiki, and dozens of artists and community people that have created unique paintings, murals and sculptures for the Surfjack – making them now a part of Waikiki again.
We noticed your website is curated around experience… What's the most memorable experience you’ve hosted at Surfjack Hotel.
To give guests a taste of native living, we’ve put together a selection of on- and off-property programming catering to eco-tourists, wannabe surfers and music heads, including hands-on farm tours in remote West Oahu; Intimate surf lessons on Oahu’s North Shore with surf boutique, Clips Hawaii; poolside vinyl DJ sessions with local talent including Aloha Got Soul; and talk story sessions with notable film makers and artists, and our curated screenings under the stars (guests love to watch poolside!)
What is your favorite long-running experience at Surfjack?
Since we just opened in April 2016, all of our experiences are newly launched, but we love the hands-on farm tours in remote West Oahu. Guests can partake in an excursion to two community-based, non-profit farms that provide fresh produce featured on the menu at Mahina & Suns. They can learn about the importance of organic farming, hang out with animals, explore the land at Kahumana Farms and Ma'o Organic Farms, and delight in a home-cooked lunch and tastings of produce unique to the area.
Is there any particular dish, drink or coffee that one CANNOT miss at Surfjack?
The curated cocktail menu by famed Hawaii mixologist Alicia Yamachika has an excellent foam egg white cocktail Mr. Pink (served in a martini glass), blends Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, Lillet Blanc and Dry Curacao, topped off with drops of rose flower water.
Admittedly, they had us at famous mixologist, but we’d be totally stoked to check out the surf, sand, and accommodations too. The laid back vibes at this gorgeous boutique hotel in Hawaii are giving us a total craving for an Endless Summer. Guess we’ll just have to hop on a flight with our ladies to the land of Alohas and leis when we get sick of the autumn chill.
Your pool has become one of the most instagrammable pools around! Can you rent the pool out for events?
The Swim Club offers a calendar of poolside entertainment – from DJs spinning vinyl, and filmmaker screenings to creative workshops – for guests and locals ‘in the know’ to enjoy. Private cabanas are available for hire, along with complimentary use of Swim Club totes and beach towels.
Tell us a little bit about the design inspiration?
The property draws inspiration from the early 1960’s beach culture and features a curated collection of local design elements, like vintage upholstery by the legendary Tori Richards; handcrafted wallpaper by Andrew Mau; and hand painted lettering of the cheeky postcard phrase, “Wish you were here,” on the bottom of the pool by self-taught graphic artist, Matt Tapia. Other art installations include murals, custom-made sculptures and experiential pottery.
How important is infusing local culture in the design/food/experiences?
Very important! The property is influenced with local art work by artists like Matt Tapia, who hand painted the pool’s typography “Wish you were here” – which is a key highlight of the property and beloved by guests. Mahina & Sun’s by acclaimed chef, restaurateur and four-time James Beard award semifinalist, Ed Kenney and of course all of our experiences are curated with locals in mind – giving all guests the chance to experience the real aloha!
Words + Photography by The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club