Mark Twain called Hawaii, “The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean,” and indeed, the Aloha State has long been synonymous with a kind of paradise. According to local filmmaker Edgy Lee’s documentary Waikiki, in the Wake of Dreams, the sandy enclave facing the Diamond Head volcanic cone was “a special spiritual haven for ancient Hawaiians and a place of healing and special power.”
Today’s Hawaii is where East meets West meets island, while Waikiki—an urban beachfront tourism mecca—is a nerve center for spas and treatments bearing Polynesian and Asian accents.
The Wyland Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu is unique, an art-themed hotel featuring marine life sculptures and graphics of scuba diver-cum-painter Robert Wyland. Internationally renowned for his “whaling wall” murals in Honolulu, Hollywood, Japan and other locations, Wyland’s pieces depict cavorting humpbacks, orcas, manatees and dolphins.