Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi Hawaii’s
Back yard

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

Treat your sweetheart
to a getaway

Flowers are pretty and candy is nice, but if you really want to impress your sweetheart this Valentine's Day, consider the following imaginative options, all of which Cupid would definitely recommend.

Sail into sunset

Whisk your Romeo or Juliet into the magical embrace of the Pacific on Valentine's evening with the help of Wild Side Specialty Tours. You'll board Island Spirit, a 42-foot catamaran, at Waianae Boat Harbor for a 5:30 p.m. departure, just in time to view the sunset, and perhaps some whales, before darkness falls and the stars shine bright.

On the three-hour sail, you'll savor champagne, chocolates and luscious finger foods. Island Spirit will cruise along the Leeward Coast, where there'll be enough residential lights twinkling for ambience but not enough to hamper stargazing. Only eight couples can be accommodated on this just-for-lovers tour.

Cost: $95 per person

Call: 808-306-7273

Signs of love

The Pacific Beach Hotel proves it'll go to any length (or depth) to provide you with a memorable Valentine's Day experience. Divers in its three-story-high, 280,000-gallon saltwater oceanarium can surprise your guest with a personalized underwater message while you dine at the Oceanarium or Neptune's Garden.

When you call for dinner reservations, mention that you'd like to be seated near a window and wish to purchase a personalized dive sign. Messages range from a friendly "Aloha" to "Will U Marry Me, (insert your amour's name)?" The diver will position your note at the window closest to your table. Prime seating and signs are limited.

Cost of sign: $20

Cost of meal: The Oceanarium will be serving a Valentine's dinner buffet at $31.50 per adult. Neptune's Garden will be offering both prix fixe ($79) and a la carte (entrees range from $33.50 to $55) menus.

Dive show times: 6:30 and 8:15 p.m.

Call: Oceanarium at 808-921-6111 and Neptune's Garden at 808-921-6112

Hearts, flowers & steeds

Turtle Bay Resort's North Shore Hearts & Flowers Package makes it easy for you to win your loved one's heart. It includes one night (Feb. 14) in one of the resort's new beachfront cottages. Upon arrival you'll be taken to your cottage for private check-in and presentation of a dozen roses, then enjoy sparkling wine and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

That evening, you'll go on a guided horseback ride for two along the secluded shore rimming the resort to a lovely beach setting where a sumptuous four-course dinner -- complemented by white linens, candlelight, flowers and wine -- will be formally presented as the sun sets. Your horses will be discreetly led away as a butler tends to your every need.

Cost: $1,700 (your cottage stay can be extended for $600 per night)

Call: 808-293-8811

Sensuous baths

A bath can be a very sensuous experience, as the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, proves. Choose from Ka Auau Pili Aloha (the Romance Bath) of milk whey powder, lavender bath oil and rose petals; Ka Auau Kapalua (the Kapalua Bath) of essential Hawaiian oils, salts and floating orchids; and Ka Auau Kama Hele Kanaho (the Travelers' Relief Bath) of peppermint, rosemary and juniper oils.

These candlelit butler-drawn baths come with chocolate truffles, towel warmers, your choice of background music and a beverage (either champagne, mai tais or freshly squeezed fruit juice, depending on the bath you select). And, you'll discover, when you're with the one you love, the tub is the perfect size for two.

For the ultimate fairy-tale experience, the Ritz-Carlton also can arrange a horse-drawn carriage ride through picturesque Kapalua Resort. You'll feel like Cinderella and her Prince Charming as you snuggle beside each other and steal a kiss or two.

Cost: $50 for the bath (available from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly), $300 per hour for the carriage ride

Call: 808-669-6200, ext. 59

Breakfast tête-à-tête

The Sheraton Maui's Breakfast in the Gardens is a grand affair, presented at an oceanfront redwood house at the base of the imposing promontory called Black Rock. A table will be set just for you and your beloved. When you're not gazing into each other's eyes, you'll be captivated by the stunning views of Kaanapali Beach, the neighboring island of Lanai and vivid hibiscus, naupaka and other fragrant tropical blooms.

Chirping birds and waves lapping on the shore provide background music as your personal server delivers a morning repast fit for alii: seasonal fruits accompanied by hand-churned banana cream cheese; lobster and shrimp egg scramble served in a half shell; Hawaiian sausage soufflé; Hawaiian sweet bread pudding crepes in Maui vanilla sauce; freshly squeezed orange juice; and coffee sweetened with white chocolate, cinnamon and whipped cream.

Cost: $45 per person

Call: 808-662-8059

Bougainvillea Trail

Nothing melts the heart as quickly or as easily as flowers. At the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, landscapers gather vivid bougainvillea blooms during the day. In the evening, while you're out of your room for dinner, they'll scatter a pretty trail of petals leading from the bedroom door to an aromatherapy bath accompanied by flickering candles and soothing music. A dozen roses and bottle of house champagne complete this romantic Deluxe Bougainvillea Trail experience.

Cost: $215 (requires 48-hour advance notice)

Call: 808-874-8000

A table for two overlooking Kaanapali Beach, with the island of Lanai looming in the background, awaits those who want to indulge n the Sheraton Maui's Breakfast in the Gardens.

'I do' all over again

Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, newlyweds and not-so-newlyweds can reconfirm their devotion to each other during a vow renewal at sea program held aboard a luxury catamaran that sails from the Waikoloa Beach Marriott's palm-fringed beach into the clear blue waters of Anaehoomalu Bay.

The nostalgic ceremony is performed by the vessel's captain and witnessed by fellow passengers as a brilliant sunset lights up the horizon off the Kohala Coast. Sometimes the humpback whales and dolphins that frolic in the bay serve as witnesses, too!

Participants receive leis and a vow renewal certificate signed by the captain. After the ceremony, everyone on board celebrates with a champagne toast to the happy couples. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and beverages are served throughout the 90-minute cruise.

Cost: Vow renewal ceremony is free upon request for anyone taking the cruise, which is $69 per person.

Call: 808-886-6666 or toll-free 888-724-5234

Bicycle built for two

You remember Harry Dacre's famous song: "I'm half crazy all for the love of you ... It won't be a stylish marriage ... I can't afford a carriage ... But you'll look sweet in the seat ... Of a bicycle built for two."

If you're psyched up for cycling a deux, the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa can accommodate you with its bicycle built for two. After the concierge provides you and your special someone with a map and suggestions on scenic locales to visit in the Poipu area, you're off, pedaling in tandem with a basket of goodies securely strapped to the seat.

Cost: $35 for up to two hours or $45 for a full day

Call: 808-240-6391 for reservations

The Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa sends lovebirds out on bicycle trips with a basket of treats.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based free-lance writer and Society of American Travel Writers award winner.


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