Suite escape

Indulge in Halekulani’s Vera Wang Suite

When the worlds of high fashion and high-end travel accommodations collide, the result is a beautifully unique – and incomparably chic -home away from home.

Enter the Vera Wang Suite at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki. The brainchild of Halekulani’s chief operating officer Peter Shaindlin, the suite is both a business partnership with renowned fashion designer Vera Wang and a personal creative outlet for the designer.

“The suite is a living expression of her sentiments,” says Shaindlin. “Vera touched that pillow, brought that statue with her on the plane from Paris. We wanted her to design what she would want to live in.”

Located on the second floor of Halekulani’s Ewa building, the suite’s premise is “romance moderne,” embodying the classic elegance of a 1930s bridal suite – which, seen in the Fred Astaire film Top Hat, was Shaindlin’s inspiration for the endeavor – and modern, eclectic luxury. The room’s décor boasts Pacific and European notes, along with hints of Wang’s Asian background: A statue of the feminine Buddha incarnation Quan Yin and prints from Hawaii-based photographer Franco Salmoiraghi are among the $1.5 million worth of art in the suite. The suite’s walls are iced white with paint that, as Shaindlin says, “is of the same quality that’s used on Ferraris.” The dark Wenge wood floors create a yin-yang effect.

“It’s a healthy balance between style and substance,” Shaindlin says of the room’s many metaphorical undertones, including a letter-writing desk that deliberately faces eastward in homage to Wang’s homeland of China.

All the furniture was personally sketched and custom fabricated by Wang; some pillows contain actual fabric from her New York City runway clothing. The king-size Serta mattress, which is draped in 600-thread count sheets, is from Wang’s line of lifestyle products, as are the china and crystal dining accouterments and bath accessories. These products are available at her boutique in the Halekulani.

A stay in the suite also offers in-room dining and entertainment. A 24-hour butler service offers champagne and dishes hand-picked by Wang (including a lobster/crab salad and foie gras with ostera caviar). Wang also hand-picked her favorite films for en suite screening, among them The King and I and When Harry Met Sally. These movies come alive through the five-disc DVD wireless audio Dream System with surround sound, and the 50-inch Sony Plasma flat-screen TV.

Perhaps more of a luxury than all of the room’s extraordinary amenities, however, is the extraordinary panoramic view of Diamond Head. An entire wall of the Halekulani’s former Presidential Suite was blown out to allow for a lanai that lets guests bask in the scenic moonlight and sunrise views.

According to Shaindlin, celebrities such David Spade, Heather Locklear and Kate Hudson have stayed in the Vera Wang Suite. Popular with worldly travelers and stars alike, Shaindlin recommends booking the suite as far in advance as possible – its high demand has forced Shaindlin to turn away even A-list celebrities interested in a short stay. Shaindlin says the popularity of the suite comes from Wang’s creation of an unforgettable “lifestyle experience.”

“People often come up to me and say, ‘Can I meet (Wang) and thank her?'” Shaindlin says.

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