There’s a seemingly familiar conversation- perhaps you’ve experienced it-that takes place amid circles of people who have the luxury of traveling the globe. It goes something like this:

“Wasn’t the food in so-and-so amazing?” or “Can you believe the architecture there?” and so on.

Yet inevitably, someone offers the ubiquitous “But that Aloha Spirit is really unique to Hawai’i, no?” Somehow, this notion never fails to end any travel discussion.

So I share this offering: To me, the Aloha Spirit is similar in practice to how people the world over act (or try to) throughout the relatively short holiday season. The cheer, the reflection, the gifts and most importantly, the nature of giving is something we are fortunate here in Hawai’i to experience all year long.

Naturally, it made us at HILuxury want to up the ante with an over-the-top, über-indulgent array of gift ideas. I say with confidence that we covered just about everyone who might possibly be on your list. Our team scoured the top home décor, sporting goods, fashion and couture jewelry houses for the most intriguing items you could stick under a tree.

We also were privileged to track down the coveted Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, which our “car guy” took for a test drive, noting the auto maker’s return to the classic “Gullwing” style. I had the honor of spending an hour with legendary 43-year veteran Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni, who brought with him tales of the early car-manufacturing days in Italy and how his team has returned to classic two-wheel drive powerhouses.

Come along as we spotlight Hualalai’s picture-perfect 17th hole, which earns our coveted “Favorite Fairway” distinction. We arranged for a celebrity party planner to share some inside tips to help you throw that unforgettable, last-minute cocktail party or New Year’s Eve bash-and balance that with a close look at two inspiring philanthropists who have changed thousands of lives throughout the course of their own.

When you’re not daydreaming about the Big Island B&B where we spent some time, you might fantasize about attending Luge Camp, where you’ll learn to slide across the ice like an Olympian. Immerse in our “Experience” section as we share with you a two-tiered photo essay, which juxtaposes serene temples with a storied hotel suite in Tokyo.

And words cannot express the grace and elegance our model, Anja Kop, brought to our “Fashion” section, shot here in Honolulu at designer Kensei’s apartment-which invokes classic European holiday elegance.

Get cozy with Hawai’i-raised actor Kelly Hu-a former Miss Teen USA and Miss Hawaii USA-who chatted exclusively with one of our reporters. They covered not only her rise to stardom in feature films, but her favorite holiday memories, gifts and a lofty goal she set for herself in 2011.

Finally, we are proud to announce our signature “HILux Holiday” cocktail, which was the product of a handful of the most talented mixologists-about-town. You can literally taste the HILux spirit at bars and lounges throughout Hawai’i-or show the accompanying recipe to your favorite barman and let us know how he fares.

Since there isn’t enough room on this page to share all the excitement in store for you, I’ll let you get to it. Enjoy the read- and have a luxurious holiday season.

With Aloha,
Brian Berusch
Editorial Director