The desire to make people feel beautiful is in Kandice Lau’s blood. Born and raised on Oahu’s North Shore, the licensed cosmetologist is a fourth-generation hairstylist whose passion for beautification has translated into an enduring career. After spending years honing her prowess as a stylist in Las Vegas, at the 2003 Mrs. Hawaii pageant, and in her sister’s salon, Kandice fulfilled her dream of owning her own business the day she opened North Shore Salon & Spa in 2008.
Within North Shore’s pastel-hued walls, a crew of skilled stylists helms their stations as they sculpt strands via chic hair services, and aestheticians coax paws into vibrantly hued pedicure basins for relaxing nail services. Eschewing beauty products that contain irritating detergents, perfumes, and fishy tastes, the team prides itself on handcrafting all of the scrubs and massage oils used in their spa treatments. Throughout the day, patrons can be spotted sipping complimentary hot tea and refreshing cucumber water as the team waxes, bronzes, and polishes their bodies into resplendent states. Along with pampering treatments, the salon and spa houses a boutique that enables patrons to scoop up fashionable clothing and accessories pre- or postappointment.
Barbers Point Flight School's instructors are airline pilots who share a common goal: to help their students and tour groups discover the joys of flight. Propellers roaring, their Cessna aircraft soar above Oahu during demo flights, which mark the first step toward FAA certification. Students can also enroll in personalized training courses covering subjects such as turbine engines and long-range navigation.
As the third largest Hawaiian Island, Oahu provides a sprawling backdrop for the flight school's tours and lessons. Passengers can look out over the towering cityscapes of Honolulu and the winding coastlines of Mamala Bay before returning safely back to Earth. Back on the ground, Barbers Point Flight School visitors can explore the onsite NAS museum sprinkled with decommissioned fighter jets and fossilized airline meals.
Up to 19 passengers sit comfortably on North Shore Catamaran's 40-foot sailing vessel, the Ho’o Nanea, which Captain Don Germain steers along Oahu’s scenic shores. The catamaran’s name means “to pass the time in ease and comfort,” an apt phrase, as guests will find the day quickly and serenely passes when they’re onboard. North Shore can charter the boat for snorkeling adventures in Waimea Bay or for romantic BYOB sunset sails.
Friendly drivers steer AlohaBus's fleet of double-decker buses through Honolulu streets, chaperoning tourists and intrigued locals to scenic and historic locations and allowing riders to disembark or climb aboard at any point. Vehicles arrive every 30–45 minutes at each stop, and riders can enjoy fresh ocean breezes from the open-top vehicles. The buses make eight continuous loops from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., including the daytime historic loop that explores Diamondhead, Waikiki, the Pearl Harbor express loop, and the nighttime loop that meanders through shopping and dining destinations. Complimentary earbuds play music and a GPS-activated narrative whispers fun facts in five languages, including English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and GPS's native binary. Guests can hop off at stops to get an up-close look at areas of interest or to refill the bus's gas tank with coconut milk.
VIP Transportation ushers lei-laden travelers to attractions on Oahu with shuttle services and guided tours to the island’s historical and cultural sites. The five-hour Pearl Harbor and Honolulu city tour starts by hauling adventurers directly to the historic waters of the 1941 Japanese attack, where they can board the U.S.S. Arizona memorial. From there, the journey proceeds to downtown Honolulu and Chinatown, illustrating the story of Hawaii’s transition from a monarchy into a state as it weaves past the state capitol and Iolani Palace—a royal palace on U.S. soil. The tour departs between 7 a.m.–7:30 a.m. and returns between noon–1 p.m.
When a canoe enters the lagoon at Polynesian Cultural Center, its passengers transcend time, distance, and the need for a passport. The boat drifts to the shores of different exhibits, each of which represents a unique Polynesian region. At the Samoa section, for instance, visitors learn how to spark a fire and cook native cuisine. Nearby, the sounds of the haka?a lively war dance?ring through the Aotearoa area, while rhythmic drumming permeates the Fiji and Tonga exhibits. Those who stop by the miniature Tahiti can learn a traditional dance, and guests of the Hawaiian village observe skilled artists weaving leis.
For a cultural cap on an exploratory day, patrons can upgrade their general admission ticket and attend the nightly Ali'i Luau. A celebratory feast is laid out, including authentic Hawaiian cuisine and a whole pig roasted in an underground oven. Alternatively, guest can upgrade to even more evening entertainment, Ha: Breath of Life. During this show, more than 100 Polynesian performers dance, play music, and toss fire to tell an epic story. Dinner is not included with Ha: Breath of Life.
Enchanted by a walking tour of Manhattan he took in 2007, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reports, Casey Hewes decided that his hometown of Honolulu deserved a similar guided trek focused on its rich history and culture. After recruiting former police officer and fellow lifelong history buff Richard Wong, Hewes opened Ohana Walking Tours one year later. Richard meets patrons beneath the Aliiolani Hale archway—situated right behind the King Kamehameha statue—and leads a two-hour jaunt past such attractions and landmarks as the Iolani Palace and the mayor's office. Guests also visit numerous Hawaiian firsts, including the state's first church, police station, and pizzeria, which was formed by a cooling volcano full of ham and pineapple. Throughout the tour, Richard connects rich anecdotes about Honolulu's past with their relevance to contemporary issues affecting the city today.