A Vision of Modern Aloha
June 1, 2016
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club began as a vision to create a place where you can experience local ‘soul’ – that modern aloha – the music, art, and diversity of Honolulu’s creative community. We wanted to stay true to the history of the building, which was built in the ‘60s and partner with locals in the making of the Surfjack to create a space that is as much for our local community as it is for our visiting guests. With the help of Oahu-based boutique design studio, the Vanguard Theory, the Surfjack was able to collaborate with local artists and designers who were commissioned to create dozens of custom artworks for the space.
The very walls of the hotel hold our collaborators works and the entire property tells their stories. Matt Tapia, who has an admirable and interesting story as a self-taught lettering artist – his work at the bottom of the pool “Wish you were here” just hit the tone we wanted – that wistful, relaxed nostalgic style – and brought it to life at the Surfjack. Then there’s Brendan “The Blob” Monroe – who created the “blob” tryptic mural, inspired by the flow of water – located in what we call the Cabanas. Wooden Wave created the treehouse mural at the elevator bay and Mark Chai designed the lighting that hangs throughout Mahina & Sun’s – four-time James Beard nominee, chef Ed Kenney’s first Waikiki restaurant.
Ed lives the philosophy of the Surfjack and we’re honored to have him be part of the ohana. We want people to come to Mahina & Sun’s even if it’s just to have some pupu or a cup of Surfjack’s special coffee blend, to casually enjoy the restaurant which is integrated into the pool space. Maybe you’ll see a friend or hear a story that’s being shared around the pool. All these elements connect our guests to the local craftsmen and craftswomen, including our barmen and barwomen who have come together to create simple, bespoke cocktails.
The hotel is also home to Olive & Oliver, a men’s and women’s retail boutique and in-house coffee shop serving coffee hand-selected from around the world. Both are open to the public. We asked if founders (and married couple) Parker Moosman and Ali McMahon would like to open a shop in Waikiki – they have a great connection to the community – and they embraced the vision and agreed. Being associated with people like Parker and Ali, who are so credible, helps us create something really special for our guests.
True Hawaii hospitality is about treating our guests as if they were part of our ohana and the Surfjack does exactly that. We’re not a luxury hotel where you have to get dressed up and be formal – this is a place to come and relax in your slippers and board shorts. Guests can expect to enjoy special, curated experiences here, that they cannot find at any other property such as taking up a surf lesson with a local surf historian or participating in a neighborhood walking art tour with a local artist. We have 112 vintage-inspired rooms, transporting our guests into a comfortable, laid-back and relaxed setting. My goal as the general manager is to share the Surfjack experience with our guests and visitors along with the stories that have shaped our hotel.
Mahalo Nui Loa,
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club