Matters of Class

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When it comes to island vacations, less is more. Once you've arrived, you typically won't be looking to dash out for duty-free shopping, pulsing discos, or days of sightseeing, much less to mingle with clamoring hordes of humanity. And for that perfect slice of behind-the-gilded-curtain living, you'll want to check into the Kahala Mandarin Oriental on Hawaii's Big Island. Here the number-one activity is: Do nothing. Silence is another imperative. Of course, if you are the sort who bores quickly with such effortless nothingness, several luxe spots do combine seclusion with activities, like access to your own private kayak and remote hiking trails, or you could charter a sailboat and island hop. Point Grace in the Turks and Caicos or the Ritz-Carlton on St. Thomas scoop awards for their attention to guest's every whim—be it active or totally, serenely lackadaisical.

Service at any of the top luxury destinations is going to be superb. It has to be. But on an island hideaway, service is less about securing theater tickets and dinner reservations than bringing you a Mai Tai when you need it most. It's about ferreting out a yacht and providing soothing, pool-side massages. When you really don't want to do anything, you really don't have to do anything. For the absolute best service in Hawaii, nothing bests Oahu's Halekulani, where you can spend your days by the palm-fringed pools, head out on a deep-sea-fishing expedition, or dine on seared ruby snapper with the setting sun over the Pacific as your heart-rending backdrop.

Published: 3 May 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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