Waikiki is internationally known as the mecca of shopping in Hawaii, but for many Oahu residents the tourist-laden streets are often a place to avoid. However, I assure you a stroll through Waikiki can actually feel like a mini getaway—the energy is palpable and parking is, well, not so bad.
Here is my list of the best boutiques in Waikiki that are totally worth the trip. So grab some gal pals and head towards Kalakaua Avenue, for style's sake.
This Hawaii label stocks easy breezy pieces in ever-changing prints and colors. Owners and designers Rona Bennett and Lan Chung have made a splash in the market, with four stores across Oahu and dozens of stockists. Here, you'll also find locally-made jewelry and accessories, as well as coveted swimwear and keiki clothing.
For the chicest resort wear and swimwear, head to Letarte's newest (and first!) Oahu location. This Maui-based brand is designed in Hawaii and made in the USA, and has twice landed the coveted cover spot of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue. Letarte has several locations in the poshest cities across the nation—including its flagship store in Paia, New York's Madison Avenue, Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and Malibu, California. With its entry into Honolulu, Letarte is sure to gain more international attention.
One of my favorite Hawaii-based beauty brands is for sure Malie. Though Malie can be found in a variety of stores across the islands (Guava Shop, Nordstrom and Otaheite, to name a few), as well as tony hotels and spas (think Andaz Maui at Wailea and Moana Surfrider), the brand’s stand-alone boutique's are truly a beauty-full escape. Whether its the signature beauty oils and creams or the new eau de parfum, Malie products bottle up the essence of the islands—making them the perfect items to gift or hoard for yourself.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
2259 Kalakaua Ave., Shoppe A2 and A3
PINK SAND HAWAII
This relatively new boutique (opened in December 2014) is the sister boutique to Aloha Aina, also located in Royal Hawaiian Center. Pink Sand Hawaii stocks swimsuits by fan-favorite Hawaii labels such as ACACIA, Issa de’ mar and Tori Praver, as well as choice items from brands like Cleobella, Flynn Sky, Jen’s Pirate Booty and Tiare Hawaii. Offering keiki items and locally-made jewelry and accessories, this boutique is truly made for all die-hard beach babes.
Royal Hawaiian Center
2301 Kalakaua Ave., B-119
Rebecca Beach, located in the pink palace that is Royal Hawaiian, caters to the chic resort crowd and anyone who’s looking for stand-out island attire. This tiny store is packed with laid-back luxe labels such as Cynthia Rowley, Malia Jones and Mikoh, as well as exclusive RB t-shirts and sought-after swimwear. Expect to find everything you need for a day at the beach, from sunscreen and sunglasses to trucker hats, towels and fashionable fins.
THE SEA CLOSET
Take a stroll off-the-beaten path to the corner of Kuhio and Kai’olu to The Sea Closet for seaside staples such as denim shorts (One Teaspoon, of course); tees and tanks from The Laundry Room and The Fifth Label; and dresses and rompers from Indah and Somedays Lovin. For a wide variety of brands from Australia, Hawaii and Los Angeles hard to find elsewhere on the island, The Sea Closet is your best bet.