For some of us, nothing says “holidays” quite like Hawaii. The best way to celebrate in the islands during the Christmas and New Year’s break is to gather the family or a few like-minded friends and rent a villa. Too late? Maybe not. It’s late September, but a handful of places are still available. The four luxury villas I’ve found are from Exotic Estates. They come with all of the requisite trimmings: luxurious open-plan interiors ideal for gatherings, state-of-the-art kitchens, pools, hot tubs, expansive lanais, easy access to the beach and impressive Pacific Oceans views.
Kilohana Makai, Kauai
Kauai is the “Garden Island,” a lush and mountainous getaway with great beaches and private homes. Kilohana Makai is in Poipu, in the neighborhood of Kukui’ula, and features an open living plan and a kitchen outfitted with Sub Zero to Bosch to Wolf appliances. The home sleeps eight guests in four bedrooms. The three bathrooms each have a private, lava-rock outdoor and indoor shower. One of them has a freestanding tub with sliding lanai doors, and there’s also a half bath. It has a pool, an alfresco dining table for 10, sofas, chaise lounges, and a hanging daybed. Priced from $3,499 per night.
Turtle Cove, Maui
There’s a reason that Maui is so popular, and this villa, called Turtle Cove, offers the best of the island. It lies on Napili Bay in West Maui and offers southwest views of the Pacific and the outer islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i. It is the perfect perch for witnessing the annual Humpback Whale migration between December and May. There are three bedrooms with king beds and en-suite baths. There is also a companion suite with an office and a total of five bathrooms, and the property can sleep eight guests. Napili Bay is a personal favorite, an intimate beach perfect for turtle watching, hence the villa’s well-earned name. Priced from $4,500 per night.
Upcountry Estate, Big Island
The holidays are all about large gatherings, and Upcountry Estate fits the bill. Situated in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, this 7,500-square-foot estate is in Makalei Estates, a gated community in the upcountry region above Kailua-Kona, on the slopes of Hualalai. This Tuscan-inspired villa lies 1,110 feet above the coast on three acres, offering panoramic ocean views of the Kona coast. The main house has 20-foot vaulted ceilings, travertine floors, and appliances from Dacor Sub Zero and Miele appliances. The home can sleep 12 Guests in six bedrooms and has seven Bathrooms. There is a two-bedroom detached Ohana with one bathroom, a kitchenette, and sliding glass doors open to a private lanai with a view of the ocean. A kitchen/family room has an indoor/outdoor fireplace and pocket doors leading out to the lanai, with a second kitchen, pool, and spa. Priced from $10,500 per night.
Kanini Estate, Big Island
The Kanini Estate is a 5,200 square-foot villa on two floors, with eight bedrooms that can sleep 16 Guests. It has a setting overlooking the protected Waikoloa Anchialine Ponds with views to the ocean, a pool, and hot tub. Located in Waikoloa’s oceanfront community of “Naupaka at Waikoloa.” The Estate is located within walking distance of The Kings’ Shops and the Queens’ Marketplace, world-class golf, the beautiful beach at Anaeho’omalu Bay, and the Lava Lava Beach club. There’s a full gym with a treadmill, iFIT, Peloton, weights, and a game room. The upper level has a second entertaining area with a covered lanai and views. The home is designed for indoor/outdoor living, and there’s a BBQ, bar, fire pit and lots of yard space. Beach umbrellas, boogie boards, and chairs are provided. The house is a three-minute walk to the beach. From $18,500 per night.