Many people associate luxury real estate with the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous, with conspicuous consumption, creature comforts and sheer opulence. Although, this side of luxury can definitely be found on the Hawaiian Islands, there is a deeper, transcendent story of affluence to be discovered here. It can be found in the richness of cultural diversity that is honored and championed on the Islands combined with a true sense of community, sharing and giving that is expressed in the Aloha spirit. 

The pure beauty of the Islands is a feast for the eyes. The fresh, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables excites the taste buds. The sweet smells of lush flowering trees provide aroma therapy and the year-round temperate climate calms the mind. Hawaii is a place to rest and heal. It is this balance of nature and community that makes owning a home in Hawaii one of life’s true luxuries.


Each of the Hawaiian Islands has its own unique characteristics and identity. Selecting the right island to call home is an important decision. “If you are looking for a cosmopolitan experience, says Patricia Choi, the leading luxury real estate professional in the state of Hawaii, Oahu is the best choice for you”. She adds, “Many people do not realize that Honolulu (which actually takes in all of Oahu) is one of the ten largest cities in the United States.

According to Margy Grosswendt, “There are more world class cultural experiences to be found here than on the other islands. Oahu has big city shopping and many more fine restaurants.” On Oahu there is more commerce, more trade and more to do”, says Myra Brandt.

Jack Tyrrell specializes in marketing Honolulu’s premiere high-rise condominiums with panoramic ocean and Diamondhead views, such as Hokua and Trump International Hotel and Tower. He says, “The freedom to walk to restaurants, shopping, theatres or the beach, this is the carefree lifestyle that both foreign and American second home buyers crave here”.

Myron Kiriu has observed that “because Diamond Head is a familiar landmark for foreign buyers, the fine single family estate properties in this area are sold at a premium.  Asian buyers typically prefer to buy where their friends have bought. They like to congregate where others speak their language”.

“One of the major reasons that buyers select Oahu over the other islands is the incomparable medical facilities”, says Anne Perry.  Close proximity to health care can mean saving lives which is especially significant for those in their retirement years.

Anne Oliver notes that “many younger professionals are attracted to areas outside of Honolulu proper because they are able to work via the internet. They prefer more affordable properties with sandy beach access for the family. Yet, they can drive to town within a half hour when traffic is not at its peak”.

“With low unemployment, Oahu is ahead of the curve in economic recovery, states Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn, who specializes in selling luxury homes in East Oahu, particularly Windward Oahu. She says, “As job growth has increased, home prices have increased although the luxury sector lags somewhat behind this trend here”. 

Bryn Kaufman explains that “The North Shore of Oahu is laid back.  It has a country feel with more land, less people, bigger beaches and huge waves. It is perfect for those who don't have t work in town. ”

“After traveling beyond Hawaii, says realtor Pat Case, I always smile on the way back. I try to sit on the window seat of the plane so I can see the Islands as I return home. When asked how she would sum up her experience of Aloha Spirit Pat said, “No burning bridges, just building bridges”. Broker Sachi Braden describes the Hawaiians in this way, “We are a gentle people with a proud history who welcome and accept differences in international cultures”.

Special thanks to Chuck Garrett for inspiring this article and also to Delores Bedionis and Tracy Allen for their insights.  Photos are courtesy of the realtors included in this article.

See:  Part 2 (The Big Island) and  Part 3 (Kaui)