What's it Like to Live in a Honolulu Suburb?

Posted Friday, June 7, 2019 by Courtney Dennis

Built in 1938, Aina Ho'olauna (meaning “the land of family love and friendly gathering”) offers an atmosphere of old Hawaii, adapted beautifully for modern living. This four-bedroom, five-bath estate has a unique provenance, having been designed by renowned architect Albert Ives for Edward Grossman, a designer of furniture, ceramics, jewelry, and other Hawaiian-inspired objects of art. The home’s easy indoor-outdoor flow and fine details point to the original artist-architect collaboration that brought it to life.



Multiple living, dining, and bar areas create an ideal setting for entertaining, with lovely garden and Koolau Mountain views from every room. With its striking black and white floor, butler’s pantry, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances, the kitchen balances historic charm with contemporary features. The home also boasts original hardwood floors and fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom, as well as spacious one-bedroom, one-bath guest quarters with a separate entry.



Tucked behind a privacy wall, Aina Ho’olauna is situated on nearly half an acre of elegant tropical gardens. Its 3,000 square feet of lanai provide tranquil open-air spaces for enjoyment of the lush scenery. This peaceful residence is nestled within the Nuuanu Valley, where the Nuuanu Stream once watered ulu (breadfruit) trees and taro fields to produce mainstays of the Hawaiian diet. Perhaps because of its singular natural beauty, the valley eventually evolved from agricultural to primarily residential.



But what would life really be like on the outskirts of Honolulu?

A four-mile drive leads from Aina Ho’olauna to the Hawaiian Islands’ biggest city, which has been the capital since 1845, when Kamehameha III moved it from Maui. Honolulu is now not only the location of historic sites like Iolani Palace (former home of Hawaiian monarchs and the only royal palace in the U.S.) but the state’s government, business, and finance center. Complete with a wide array of job opportunities, it also offers a relaxed island vibe and high livability rankings, as well as dining, shopping, and entertainment options that are as diverse as its cultural influences.



Within about 15 minutes of Aina Ho’olauna, for example, foodies can sample traditional Japanese cuisine at Yakitori Hachibei, Japanese-Peruvian fusion at Nobu, Cantonese at Little Village Noodle House, and Vietnamese at The Pig and The Lady. In the way of fine dining, the area features upscale Hawaiian-American fare at Alan Wong’s, Moku Kitchen, and Senia. Nearby Fete serves a casual new American menu, while Brick Fire Tavern serves craft pizza, and both Livestock Tavern and Scratch Kitchen and Meatery provide an updated take on comfort food.

Honolulu is also home to the Ala Moana Center, the largest open-air shopping center in the world, which has over 100 additional dining options. Endless restaurant and shopping possibilities can likewise be found in Ward Village, a five-mall complex with a 16-screen movie theater. Nearby Kalakaua Avenue allows for a luxury shopping experience, while the hip Kakaako neighborhood has a variety of funky boutiques.

For those interested in fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and local arts and crafts, the Honolulu area features around a dozen farmers’ markets. The swap meet that operates every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at Aloha Stadium represents the biggest open-air flea market in the world. And every third Saturday, the Honolulu Night Market appears, complete with food vendors, arts and crafts, and live music.

Every Friday night in lively Waikiki, a fireworks show takes place. The Neal S. Blaisdell Center also hosts the state’s major concerts, sporting events, and cultural happenings. In fact, Honolulu residents can easily access all the attractions and conveniences of city life, including the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, the University of Hawaii, several hospitals, and the islands’ largest airport.

So, what about the beaches? 

Honolulu-area beach lovers can enjoy swimming and stand-up paddling at Ala Moana Beach Park, where the calm waters of a picturesque bay are protected by an offshore reef. Magic Island Lagoon and Park offer a nice setting for a family day at the beach. Kahanamoku Beach and its neighboring lagoon, as well as Fort DeRussy Beach Park, serve as other great options for swimming and family time. Quick car rides also lead to stunning Sandy Beach and Waimanalo Beach, as well as spectacular snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.



And what else will I find in the Nuuanu/Honolulu area?

Hiker residents of Nuuanu will find the scenic Nuuanu Pali Lookout and Diamond Head Monument trails 10 to 20 minutes away, and the Koko Head and Makapuu Point Lighthouse trails around 30 minutes away. Golfers can access Oahu Country Club within five minutes, the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club and Koolau Golf Club within 20 minutes, and even the Ko Olina Golf Club in under 40 minutes. As the most popular destination for visitors to Hawaii, Honolulu also has countless nearby options for spas and activities like fishing excursions and sunset cruises.

For more details about Aina Ho’olauna or life in Nuuanu, please contact Heidi Ho.